Cybersecurity for Dental Practices
Cybersecurity Services For Dentists, Oral Surgeons, Orthodontists And More
The healthcare industry is one of the most highly targeted for cybercrimes, thanks to its wealth of confidential patient information. Also, the increased use of tech-based medical devices like digital x-rays provide an easy entry point for attackers to hack into and exploit network devices like computers.
Today, we talk about dental practices and the cybersecurity risks facing this medical field. Dental cybersecurity attacks are on the rise, and it’s high time practices intensified the protection of their patient information, considering that they have one of the most high-risk databases.
What’s more, HIPAA lays down clear-cut compliance guidelines that medical practices, dentists included, must follow regarding protecting patient data in your systems. And if your organization’s data gets breached, the agency’s Breach Notification Rule requires you to alert every patient of record that an incident has occurred. This paints a negative image in your local community, not to mention the uncomfortable talks you’ll have to hold with patients whose data was breached.
Good news: you can avoid humiliation, community backlash, reputational damage, and financial loss by implementing the proper cybersecurity solutions for your dental practice. Curious to learn more? Please keep scrolling for the top five data protection tips for your practice.
Train Staff on Cybersecurity Awareness
Did you know that a whopping 95% of cyber incidents result from human errors? What’s even worse is that the actions of healthcare staff cause at least thrice as many data breaches as external attacks. Luckily, you can prevent this from happening in your organization.
HIPAA’s Security Rule requires all covered entities, including dental practices, to undertake their staff through cybersecurity awareness training to help mitigate human errors and reduce the chances of a cyberattack. Therefore, we recommend partnering with a reliable managed security services provider (MSSP) to train your staff on various cybersecurity awareness topics, including:
- What potential cyber threats does your practice face and how to avoid them
- How to detect suspicious emails, social engineering tricks, phishing messages, etc.
- How to respond to or handle a suspected cybersecurity breach
- How to leverage medical/dental technology and devices without exposing confidential patient data or other valuable assets to attacks
- How to detect phishing attacks and report them (simulated phishing training)
Implement the Most Advanced Security Features
There are several cybersecurity precautions that you can implement at the practice level to keep cyber threat actors away, including:
- Updating software regularly to seal all security loopholes that data thieves and hackers use to enter your system. That means turning on automatic system updates for dental devices, keeping web browser plugins updated, and ensuring that your desktop web browser uses automatic security updates.
- Backing up your dental practice data regularly and in different locations. For instance, you can follow the 3-2-1 rule, where you keep three copies of your data in two distinct places, say in a local external hard drive and an off-site location like the cloud.
- Using strong passwords that hackers can’t guess easily. For instance, your accounts passwords must be at least 64 characters long, containing symbols, lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and numbers. The password should also be effortless to remember. Here are more password best practices.
- Using two-factor or multi-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of protection for your online identification. This supplements your strong passwords by requiring users to give more identity proofs like username, passcode, biometric data, etc.
- Using anti-virus protection and firewall. Anti-virus protection software is excellent in blocking malicious viruses and attacks from compromising your data. Combining it with firewall protection enhances your security posture, as it leaves no chance for hackers to penetrate your system without getting detected.
Control Employee Access
Every practice has sensitive documents and devices that should only be accessible to the top management or select staff. As a norm, every employee should have a unique username and password for accessing different sections of your IT system to lock out unauthorized individuals. But that’s not enough; you should also consider getting an automated monitoring system to keep an eye on user activities and goings-on 24/7.
The goal of controlling employee access to confidential documents or computers in your practice is to prevent intentional or accidental damage to your patient information or systems. It also protects against insider threats, where an employee or former staff accesses and steals or compromises sensitive data by accessing your organization’s security systems. What’s more, you can also prevent external intrusions by configuring built-in security options that come with operating systems like Windows and Mac.
Extend Security Beyond the Dental Office or Practice
Working on the road or remotely is a common practice today, and in most cases, it’s usually supported by the bring your own device (BYOD) policy. This is where employees use their personal devices like laptops, phones, and tablets to access work files, collaborate on projects, submit reports, etc. But here’s the catch; this arrangement comes with a certain risk element, as the BYOD devices aren’t often as safe and secure as on-prem devices.
So it’s up to you to extend security beyond the dental office to reduce cyber risk by:
- Requiring all personal work devices to be approved and registered
- Installing anti-virus, anti-malware, firewall, and password protection solutions on such devices
- Advising your dental practice employees to keep family members off of work devices
- Using a centralized storage solution like server or cloud storage to prevent employees from storing files locally even as they work remotely
- Discouraging employees from connecting their devices to unencrypted public wifi, as threat actors can intercept their work files
HRCT is Your Trusted Dental Practice Cybersecurity Partner!
Have you been looking for the best dental practice cybersecurity consultant without success? If so, your misery ends here! HRCT is an IT services and network security solutions company with over three and a half decades of active experience helping local organizations with their technology and security needs.
In our capacity as your trusted dental practice cybersecurity firm, we can train your staff on security awareness, implement and manage security features like data backups, monitor your network 24/7, provide access control solutions, among other services. But that’s not all; we also provide timely and responsive support around the clock, making technology challenges like downtime, server crash, outdated software, etc., a thing of the past.
So, schedule a FREE consultation with HRCT today, and discover how we can bolster your dental practice’s security posture with the most advanced solutions and expertise.