3 Ways To Maintain Ongoing Cybersecurity in Dentistry

September 9, 2021 | 3 min read

Penalties, downtime, labor costs, reputation damages, and litigation issues are just a few consequences of data breaches, which have become prevalent in the dental industry.

It’s not a matter of if but when that your practice will be targeted. The question is, do you have the appropriate security measure in place to fend off the intruders?

Maintaining cybersecurity in dentistry is like brushing and flossing — it’s not a one-and-done project. Many of these tasks may seem minor. But just like brushing your teeth, you won’t get a cavity if you skip one night, but the effects add up if you don’t brush for a year!

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Here are some ongoing tasks you should perform to maintain cybersecurity in dentistry:

Reinforce Password Security

A strong password policy is the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your network. It should cover the following:

  • Use complex, robust, and unique passwords that consist of combinations of characters, numbers, and upper- and lower-case letters. They must be of a minimum length (e.g., 14 characters) and should not reference employees’ legal names or usernames.
  • Use passphrases with a 15-character minimum length to protect access to administrator accounts. These passphrases are easier to remember but less susceptible to brute force attacks.
  • Employees should change their login credentials regularly so leaked information won’t impact your practice's security. The mandatory password reset period should be shorter for critical functions.
  • Conduct password audits to ensure that your team is adhering to security policies. Use these audits to monitor password modifications and identify weak access points.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication to strengthen your sign-in process. This function is built into most cloud-based software, so all you need to do is to activate the feature.

Strengthen Staff Compliance

It takes only one employee to click on one malicious link in a phishing scam to compromise an entire system — no wonder social engineering is still the weapon of choice for many hackers. Here’s how to minimize security breaches caused by human errors:

  • Include comprehensive cybersecurity and HIPAA compliance training in your employee onboarding process. 
  • Create a set of cybersecurity guidelines and make the latest version accessible from a centralized location.
  • Reinforce your security culture with ongoing employee education to ensure that everyone is aware of the latest threats and attack methods.
  • Enforce a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy if employees use their personal devices (e.g., smartphones) to access your network. 
  • Set up an early warning system to alert staff members about new attack methods. This can reduce the risks that unsuspecting employees will fall prey.
  • Follow an offboarding process to revoke access privileges of departing employees from all your systems.

Practice Secure Document Management

From intake forms and patient records to payment information, dental offices handle various documents containing sensitive patient data. Here’s how to ensure the security of these documents:

  • Set role-based access control so employees can only view or edit the information they need to do their jobs. Review user privileges regularly to ensure that the right people have access to the right information. 
  • Back up all your documents regularly to protect sensitive information against data breaches and ransomware attacks. Even better, use a cloud-based platform with a comprehensive backup and recovery plan.
  • Make sure all your data is encrypted, whether it’s in transit or storage. Using cloud dental software that offers robust encryption capabilities is the best way to protect your data from prying eyes.
  • Convert paper documents to digital files to minimize risks associated with hard copies getting lost, misplaced, or improperly circulated. This also allows you to enforce better tracking to know who has accessed a document.
  • Use a document management system instead of email to share files containing sensitive information. Additionally, make sure patients don’t send personal information (e.g., social security number, credit card information) via email.

Streamline Cybersecurity in Dentistry

Okay, maintaining cybersecurity in dentistry is more complex than brushing your teeth. But you can take a lot off your plate by using cloud-based dental practice management software.

For example, you can set granular access control and monitor workflow with tab32. We encrypt all your patient data and ensure that they’re safe with a comprehensive backup and recovery protocol.

Request a demo to see how we can help you simplify cybersecurity maintenance.

Learn more now!

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