Digitalization and the use of EHR have helped many dental practices streamline workflow, lower overhead, and improve the patient experience. However, many dentists have also fallen victim to cybercrimes, such as phishing scams or ransomware attacks.

If you fail to secure your network against hackers, you’d not only incur hefty penalties for violating HIPAA guidelines but also suffer from a tarnished reputation, eroded patient trust, and loss of revenues.

Independent dental practices that store their PHI on-premise are particularly vulnerable because most don’t have sufficient IT resources and budget to keep up with the latest cybersecurity protocols and stay HIPAA compliant.

Here’s how to keep your practice safe from cybercriminals and data breaches:

Mitigate the Risk of Phishing Attacks

Phishing is one of the most common methods used by hackers to trick people into clicking malicious links, giving away sensitive data (e.g., login credentials,) or downloading malware or ransomware. 

Dental practices that use on-premise practice management software and store their data on local servers are more vulnerable to these attacks because it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest cybersecurity protocols and stay HIPAA compliant.

If you use an on-premise server and dental practice software, you can implement short-term solutions [ click here for more on this] such as updating and patching your servers, using firewalls and antivirus software, enforcing strong password protocols, and providing cybersecurity training to your employees.

The most effective long-term strategic solution is to migrate your data to a cloud dental software built on trusted platforms such as Google and Amazon. Thanks to the many cloud security measures implemented by these providers, it’s much harder for hackers to infiltrate these systems and steal your data.

Protect Your Data from Ransomware

Hackers use ransomware to encrypt a victim's files, then demands a payment to restore access to the data. Ransomware attacks have affected many healthcare organizations in recent years, including dental practices. [ Learn more here]

Ransomware prevents you from accessing business-critical data and patient information essential to the operation of your practice. These attacks lead to costly downtime that can cripple your practice because you’d have to turn away patients when you don’t have a functioning system.

If PHI is compromised during such an attack, your reputation will be tarnished and you may get fined for violating HIPAA regulations. Not to mention, you’d likely incur expenses associated with forensic investigations, data recovery, as well as credit monitoring services for affected patients.

To protect your practice from ransomware attacks, you should provide employees with training on cybersecurity and reinforce endpoint security on all devices used to access your system. 

In addition, using a cloud-based dental practice management software can strengthen your defense against cybercriminals. Choose a vendor [ Click here for more information] that’s up-to-date with the latest IT security protocols, have a comprehensive backup and recovery plan, and multiple layers of redundancies in its infrastructure to minimize costly downtime.

Improve Data Security For Your Dental Practice

Hackers are always coming up with new ways to steal sensitive data. You need to stay vigilant and protect your network from cybercriminals by [ Learn more] conducting a risk assessment, training your employees on IT security best practices, purchasing cyber-liability insurance, reinforcing endpoint security, and encrypting all your data.

For many independent practices, it’s not easy to have the budget and resources to keep up with the latest cybersecurity protocols. Not to mention, on-premise software and servers are particularly vulnerable to phishing scams and ransomware attacks. 

The best way to augment IT security of your dental practice, keep your PHI safe, and stay HIPAA compliant is to migrate your data to a trusted cloud-based dental practice management software. This allows you to tap into the experience of a team of cloud security experts to help you lower IT costs, protect your network against hackers, and prevent costly data breaches.

Request a demo to see how tab32 can keep your PHI safe and your network secure.

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