Cybersecurity in the Dental Office

cybersecurity in the Dental Office

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What Has Changed?

It goes without saying that there have major advancements when it comes to technology, inside the world of dentistry and out. Most computers in the dental office served as simple machines that did billing and scheduling, but now they have now expanded to providing x-rays, housing patient records and providing digital dentistry. However, all these advancements come with a price and these sophisticated technologies are not always used for good.  Cybercrime, including hacking information, has increased along with the advancements (Cybersecurity) and have become just as, if not, more sophisticated.

Am I At Risk For Not Implementing Cybersecurity?

The truth is, anyone that utilizes technology in some capacity to house information or conduct their business, is at risk. Most healthcare professionals have fallen victim to ransomware attacks, where their patient files are stolen and they may have to pay a large ransom in order to get them back. Despite this, some dental professionals are not very concerned about the strength of their cybersecurity or leave in it the hands of a third-party IT company they may have never met in person. The potential legal implications that could arise out of a practice not protecting their patient files is astronomical.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

The first step is to meet with a reputable cybersecurity company, so that they may do a full assessment  of your practice’s IT security strength. They will probe into how you store your pertinent data, what steps your team members take to avoid being cyberattacked and if there are any remote members, that could potentially lead to a data breach. These questions will provide a cybersecurity company with enough information to scope your cybersecurity strength.

Secondly, you will need to provide cybersecurity training to all of your team members, so they do not unknowingly be the cause of a data breach. Training should include how to look out for suspicious/fraudulent emails, which is the number one way hackers can get access to your systems, but can also include knowing when a call is fraudulent or payment method. Beyond that, you must provide clear protocols on what to do in case of a data breach, to minimize the damage as much as possible.

Lastly, there are tools in place that you can use to test and ultimately improve your cybersecurity with. A vulnerability scanner will look for gaps in your system, whether it be weak passwords or antimalwares that are weak or improperly set up, and highlight all vulnerable areas to you. You can take this one step further by penetration testing, which is a tool used by “ethical” hackers to actually hack your systems and provide information to your IT company on how they did it, and how to prevent it in the future.

As you can see, there are multiple ways you can protect yourself, your team and your patients by taking that extra step with cybersecurity.

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