Is your dental practice at risk of attack from malicious hackers? Protecting your sensitive information is a key tenet of HIPAA and HITECH laws — here’s how to ensure you’re covered.  

You may not realize it, but your dental practice is under attack — and the war is just getting started. With a single unthinking click, one of your staff members could doom your business to excessive penalties from the government, a disastrous PR situation in the community and a loss of revenue that is staggering to consider. While you may think this sounds overly dramatic, it’s a scenario that is playing out at dental practices, healthcare facilities and businesses throughout the country at an alarming rate: up to 60% of small to mid-size businesses that are the subject of a data breach go out of business within six months. From staff training to hardening your defenses, these are the most important cybersecurity solutions for your dental practice.

NOVA Computer Solutions provides Dental IT services to growing practices throughout the MidAtlantic.  CEO, Daniel de Steno offers the following insights,

1. Does My Dental Practice Need a Cybersecurity Audit?

In simple terms: yes! A cybersecurity audit allows your cybersecurity technology partner to fully understand the various types of data that are stored within your practice — the types of data, where they are currently being stored, how the information is used and who has access to specific types of HIPAA-protected information. This could mean everything from defining how WiFi access works for patients through the access levels of temporary employees to your database. Everything is a potential threat, but there are proscribed methodologies that can help protect your business in the event of a cyberattack.

2. How to Offer Cybersecurity Awareness Training for Dental Staff

It’s important to note that it often takes businesses several months to determine that there’s been a data breach. During this time, the personal and confidential information that is stored within your systems is being accessed and used or sold by cybercriminals. The longer the data breach goes undetected, the more difficult it becomes to clean up the problems — notifying your patients, hardening business systems, patching the breach, cyber investigations and more. If it is found that the breach was caused by a lack of security within your business, your problems will multiply. Did you know that the single biggest danger to your business is your staff? Cybersecurity training can help protect your business by:

  • Creating greater awareness of the potential threats
  • Ensure that staff members understanding phishing emails
  • Maintain a more focused process around vendor payments to avoid costly mistakes
  • Promote a feeling of alertness against social attacks

Cybersecurity training is not a “one and done” solution; you’ll need to invest in ongoing training for new staff and refreshers for everyone on a regular basis to ensure that your business stays safe.

3. What is a Vulnerability Scan?

Are your software patches fully up-to-date? Do you have secure enough passwords? A vulnerability scan is developed to uncover the top-level issues that are within nearly every network. From server logins that have never been reset from the default to improperly configured firewalls, your cybersecurity partner will perform a detailed analysis of the state of your systems and deliver you a list of items for remediation, or help with getting the updates completed. This is also a great time for a conversation around best practices that allows your IT consulting team to see where potential problems could happen in the future and head them off early.

4. How Does Penetration Testing Work?

Once you have locked the digital doors and windows of your dental practice, now it’s time to let the “white-hat” hackers give your systems a spin! Penetration testing is a deep-dive into the security of your systems, where individuals with the knowledge and mindset of a hacker attempt to gain entry into your organization’s digital profile. This could be targeted at your staff with phishing tests, through backend systems and more. These individuals are doing far more than running automated tools such as are used in a vulnerability scan. They are actively attempting to break into your networks. Fortunately, the end result of this hacking attempt is positive: your IT support department and technology services provider will receive a detailed list of items for remediation to protect your dental office.

Your patients trust you to maintain a high degree of security for their sensitive information at all times. Without support from cybersecurity experts, you’re placing your entire practice at risk of non-compliance — not to mention the negative publicity that comes from an extensive data breach or ransomware attack that isn’t remediated quickly and efficiently. You need the confidence of knowing that IT security professionals with deep experience in the dental and medical industry are backing your dental practice. Contact the experts at NOVA Computer Solutions today at (703) 493-1796 to claim your free initial consultation or schedule time with our friendly service staff online.