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The financial stake of a cybersecurity incident is high. Dental practices that suffer data breaches are often hit with hefty fines, the cost of remediation services for affected patients, lost revenue due to downtime, and the many legal fees associated with litigation issues.
So why are so many dental practices still lagging when it comes to cybersecurity?
Many small businesses are deterred from implementing cybersecurity measures due to cost. After all, when you’re focusing on monthly cash flow, another line item on your expense column isn’t exactly welcoming.
But don’t be an ostrich! Not taking the initiative to protect your system doesn’t mean the threats will go away!
While many dentists may think that their practices are too small to attract the attention of hackers, that’s far from the truth. Over 93% of healthcare organizations have experienced a security breach, it’s a question of “when” and not “if” you’ll be the next victim if you don’t take the necessary precaution to protect your IT network.
Let’s do the math to see why investing in the right technologies to safeguard your data is a smart financial move.
The average cost of a breach that involves personally identifiable information (PII) is $150 per record. It goes up to $175 per record if the data is stolen in a malicious attack. Meanwhile, the average cost of a data breach to small businesses can be as high as $1.24 million.
Direct costs associated with a cybersecurity incident include monetary theft, the cost of remediation services and system repair, regulatory fines, legal and public relations fees, the cost of ongoing credit monitoring for affected patients, and an increase in insurance premiums. Indirect costs may involve extended downtime and business disruption, loss of patients, and damage to your reputation that could take years to remediate.
While the cost of cybersecurity measures varies, you should budget for the basics at the very minimum. These include a firewall, endpoint security, antivirus software, email/phishing protection, two-factor authentication, hardware security key, a backup and recovery plan, and staff training.
Cybersecurity spending is often tied to a dental practice’s IT budget, which reflects its business size and the complexity of the IT infrastructure. Most companies tend to spend an average of 15% of their IT budget on security.
If you’re like most (if not all!) dental practices, you don’t have a big IT budget. We get it. But it doesn’t mean you should just give up on protecting your data and hope for the best.
Here’s how you make the most of your cybersecurity budget:
There are many ways to beef up your IT security quickly and inexpensively. For example, you can implement a strong password policy and offer employee training to prevent phishing attacks. Two-factor authentication is easy to implement and likely to be available on the cloud platforms you’re using, so all you need to do is turn on the feature.
Strengthen endpoint security by using a VPN for remote access and installing antivirus software on all devices that are connected to your system. Enforce a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy if you allow employees to use their own computers and smartphones to log into your system. Also, educate your patients about data security (e.g., never share PII via email.)
While there are many tactics you can implement on your own, you shouldn’t skimp on expert advice in critical areas. It’s often worth investing in professional cybersecurity services to conduct risk and vulnerability assessments, security architecture reviews, security program development, compliance maintenance, and threat monitoring.
These services can help you build a solid foundation and give you a big-picture view of your security posture. You can then allocate resources strategically to high-priority items that pose the most threat to your business.
Since most patient PII is stored in dental practice management software, its security should be your top priority. Using HIPAA-compliant cloud dental software is the safest way to handle your patient data without incurring the many upfront and ongoing costs associated with setting up an on-premise system.
For a reasonable monthly cost, not only will you get the latest technologies to run your practice, but you can also rest assured that a team of security experts is constantly upgrading the software according to the latest cybersecurity best practices. By moving your IT infrastructure to the cloud, you can offload many critical cybersecurity measures to the provider to save you time and headaches.
Want to see how tab32 can help you prevent the high cost of cybersecurity problems with minimal upfront investment? Schedule a demo to find out.