Major breaches have been happening for forever. For example, August 2019 saw 400 dental offices affected by one ransomware attack.
Medical professionals are responsible for clients’ data. If their clients’ data were to be breached or stolen in a cyber-attack, not only would their clients be at risk, but the hospital, firm, or practice would be in serious trouble. After all, the client data practitioners have a hold of can be used for identity theft or fraud.
For this reason, it’s important you do whatever it takes to keep your patients’ information safe. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do so, and most of them require little effort.
The 5 Best Cybersecurity Practices for Dental Practitioners
1. Using an Encrypted Network
An unencrypted network is a feeding frenzy breeding ground for cybercriminals, hackers, and malicious actors. If a network stays unencrypted, cybercriminals will be able to worm their way onto the network, view the activity of everyone on the network, and intercept any of their data.
They could also spread malware, ransomware, or worms through the network. For these reasons, it’s important that your network stays encrypted. To do this, you could use a VPN.
VPNs protect your data by encrypting any data travelling to and from your network while hiding the IP addresses of devices on the network. This ensures no cybercriminal can steal data or even get on the network in the first place.
2. Not Sharing Client Information Over Unsecure Methods
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many medical firms to adapt to new forms of communication, including the use of Zoom to discuss patients, medications, and vice versa.
The problem with this? Zoom isn’t secure, and hasn’t been for a long time, despite Zoom buying out a security company.
You as a practitioner and everyone under your wing need to make sure that any information talked about via Skype or Zoom isn’t susceptible to dangers. In all honesty, private information should be communicated either in-person or over encrypted email—all other forms of communication are too risky.
3. Keeping Your Software Updated
It’s no secret that many medical firms and practices use software that would be considered “outdated” in the mainstream world. This is because, as long as that software is still supported, the cost of moving to a new OS or version of the program outweighs the potential benefits.
But once support for that OS or program stops, moving to the new version isn’t an option—it’s a necessity.
Software updates often come packed with security fixes. If your software loses support, it’ll be vulnerable to present and future security threats, increasing the risk of a cyber-attack on your firm. As a result, you should always keep your software updated and make sure it can be updated.
4. Participating in Cybersecurity Training
Many places of business hold cybersecurity awareness training sessions so that employees know what to look out for, how they can protect themselves and their information, and what proper cybersecurity looks like.
As a practitioner, it’s not only important you attend these sessions, but that you have your employees attend as well. Cybersecurity is a team effort when it comes to places of business—one weak link in the chain can wreak havoc.
5. Scanning For Vulnerabilities on the Network
It pays to be proactive in your cybersecurity methods and not just reactive. One way to be proactive with your firm’s cybersecurity is to scan your network for any potential vulnerabilities.
Vulnerability scanners comb through your entire network, searching for any potential vulnerabilities, major or minor, that could be deemed a threat.
Pairing a vulnerability scanner with an antivirus or anti-malware program will make sure that your network and devices are free from present vulnerabilities.
Keeping a firm grip on your patients’ data is essential to being a dental practitioner, and practicing proper cybersecurity is part of that. With these tips, you’ll be able to go on with your day without having to worry about a stray hacker breaching your network or stealing your clients’ data.
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