6 Reasons Why Your Dental Practice Needs Cybersecurity Urgently

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Reasons Your Dental Practice Needs Cybersecurity

Dental practices have shifted from manual to digital and automated in the last few decades, like all medical processes.

A significant portion of the expertise in the field is based on operating dedicated dental software and managing patient records. Managing patient records in itself may seem simple, but it is not.

Several regulations like HIPAA outline the importance of privacy and security concerning patient data. Many dental practices have been shifting to finding a cybersecurity agency to handle their needs.

If you haven’t started looking for one already, here are six reasons why you should begin your search for a cybersecurity agency right away:

Reason #1: Sensitive Patients’ Records

Sensitive patient data is one of the primary reasons dental practices need the best cybersecurity practices. Patients value their privacy, and if their healthcare data leaks, it violates their privacy significantly.

This is why dental practices hold patient data very valuable. Attackers realize this value and know that the practice would pay anything if they held this data ransom.

Protecting patient data requires expertise in encryption and data security protocols. If you require assistance in encrypting your medical data, you can use a free consultation with one of our experts.

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Why Should Dental Practices Protect Sensitive Patient Data?

Besides the reason mentioned above for hackers exploiting the patient's data, there is another critical reason to protect patient data. For dental practices, a large chunk of patient data involves children's health records.

The health records of minors require an extra degree of protection. If these records are exposed to hackers, the dental practice will have to answer the guardians of the children.

It can lead to significant distress for the dental practice and a major loss of business.

Reason #2 HIPAA Compliant and Penalties

Most healthcare facilities, including dental clinics, know that protecting the health records appropriately is a requirement of HIPAA compliance. However, very few of these healthcare practices are aware of the penalties of not complying with HIPAA.

A modern, complex, and well-planned cyberattack may be able to penetrate a moderately secured system. However, even a basic cyberattack can easily exploit the database if the dental practice leaves unprotected files.

In the latter case, the blame falls on the practice due to negligence in protecting the patient data. Fortunately, Tekkis can help you become HIPAA compliant in a day.

What is the Penalty of HIPAA Violation?

The fines for a HIPAA violation are divided into four tiers. The tier in which a healthcare organization falls depends on its role and neglect in the cyberattack. Here are the four tires of HIPAA penalties:

Tier 1: No Neglect, No Blame

Tier 1 penalty applies when the healthcare agency couldn’t have done anything about the data breach and did not know about the breach. In this Tier, the penalty can range from $100 to $50,000.

Tier 2: Possible knowledge, No Wilful Neglect

Tier 2 penalty applies when the organization knew of the breach or could have found out about it if they had taken proper actions. However, the organization did not show willful neglect. In this tier, the penalty can range from $1000 to $50,000.

Tier 3: Willful Neglect, Timely Recovery

Tier 3 penalty applies to organizations where the breach occurred due to wilful neglect of the organization. However, the breach was discovered and corrected within 30 days of the incident. The penalty in this tier can range from $10,000 to $50,000.

Tier 4: Willful Neglect, No Timely Recovery

Tier 4 penalty applies when an organization not only showed willful neglect but also failed to correct the breach within an understandable time frame. The penalty in this tier can range from $50,000 to $1.5 million.

As you can notice, the penalties can be staggering if you, as a healthcare executive, fail to take action to protect sensitive data.

Reason #3: Unsecured Dental Software

Every dental practice depends on a lot of software applications. Some of these are important to run the dental equipment. Others serve the role of managing patients, arranging appointments, or handling staff and the workforce.

While all these software bring the benefit of easing operating and providing new features, they also bring along certain risks. If not carefully configured, any software can be a gateway for hackers to enter your system.

How to Configure Dental Software Safely?

To ensure that you are completely protected, you should only install dental applications from trusted sources. Once installed, applications should be added that can act as safeguards for your systems and prevent unauthorized data access.

For this purpose, you need the help of dental cybersecurity experts such as Tekkis Cybersecurity (Tekkis). Tekkis has decades of expertise configuring IT systems for dental practices for the best operation.

The best part is that if you are an executive for a dental practice, you can get a free consultation with an Tekkis expert.

Reason #4: Unaware Staff

The untrained staff has been the breaching point for many cyberattacks in dental practices. Of course, the people on your staff don’t have to be cybersecurity professionals. However, having a basic understanding of safe digital practices is necessary.

The main reason for unawareness among staff is that the executives lack the time or the knowledge to train the staff personally. The results are often catastrophic for the medical practice and its clients.

For instance, it is common for untrained staff members to reveal important credentials to attackers unknowingly. This occurs through systematic attacks like phishing and is pretty common among cyberattacks on American businesses.

How to Train Your Staff in Healthy Cybersecurity Practices

There are many easy ways to train your staff to learn the basics of cybersecurity. To help you out, we have a detailed guide on staff training for healthy IT practices.

If you feel that you don’t have the time to follow the steps yourself, you can contact Tekkis. We can arrange a cybersecurity seminar for your staff at a time of your convenience.

Reason #5: Open Entry Points

In any dental practice, there are a large number of devices connected to the network. Most executives take steps to secure the computers, but many other devices get left out.

It might surprise you that hackers can attack you even from devices like your printers and your smartphones. The fault generally doesn’t lie in the device but the network itself.

Every device on the network is an open entry point for attackers. For optimum defense, your practice needs perimeter defense and end-to-end security. Only cybersecurity professionals such as Tekkis can implement these security measures properly.

Reason #6: Outdated Technology

Most executives, including those overseeing dental practices, are unaware that their IT technology is severely outdated. Almost all IT providers, including yours, use security protocols that are decades old.

They are not to blame entirely, as these protocols can work for an average user with nothing to lose in case of a cyberattack. However, for an organization such as yours, the stakes are high.

From the network security protocols to the software patches, everything you use in your dental practice is in dire need of regular updates.

Choosing to install these updates in a timely fashion can lead to a significant improvement in the current status of your cybersecurity levels.

Endnotes

Cybersecurity is no longer an option in this day and age where cyberattacks occur daily on thousands of American businesses.

Taking precautionary measures becomes critical for organizations operating in the healthcare sector, such as your dental practice.

Therefore, if you are an executive or admin of a small to medium-scale dental practice, reach out to Tekkis today and find out how you can safeguard your network against any threats.

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