Healthcare providers have become a major target for hackers looking to breach their files. As a practitioner, you need to make sure that your practice has the requisite cybersecurity and dental solutions in place.
The solutions and procedures are not only meant to protect against data breaches, but they also ensure that your practice has confirmed to PIPEDA principles.
Why the Healthcare Industry Needs Cybersecurity
Cybercriminals are routinely targeting healthcare businesses and dental practices. Recent statistics indicate that:
- 47% of cybersecurity threats are against small businesses such as dental practices
- In the last 9 years, hackers have compromised more than twenty-one million records
- The health sector currently accounts for close to 43% of all global data breaches
As dentists look to automate their processes, there is a need to take a closer look at these statistics. For instance, the only reason why hackers target small practices is that they know that the practices do not have firewalls or proper security measures in place.
You need to keep in mind the fact that dental practice contains all kinds of patient information. What this means is that there is a need for you to put in place proper cybersecurity precautions.
The precautions will ensure that you get to adhere to all the PIPEDA principles. It will also be the only way to ensure that patient information will not be accessed by hackers who may end up selling it online.
Digital Dental Practices
Many dental practices have made significant strides in the past few years that have seen them digitize their operations. Some practices have also started using the internet to centralize their patient data as well as enhance patient care.
It is a move that has seen many facilities start to store information online in cloud-based servers. The benefits of storing information in the cloud servers include:
- You can securely share patient data with other practices
- Access is available anywhere and at anytime
- Automatic backup
The reality is that your dental practice is vulnerable to data breaches and security threats. The data that hackers steal from your practice often ends up being sold in shady sections of the internet known as the DarkWeb.
With this data, buyers can steal your clients’ identities, resort to blackmail, fraud, and a host of other criminal activities. This is not forgetting the fact that hackers can also deny you access to the stolen data through the use of ransomware designed to extort money from you and your partners.
For your practice, the consequences include money and time spent on data recovery as well as on crisis management. Patients may also choose to sue your practice. At the end of the day, your dental practice is placed on the line whenever there is a massive data breach.
What to Expect in the Future?
Going forward, dental practitioners will have no option but to take certain measures aimed at enhancing their security. Measures that can be taken include:
Training employees to assist in mitigating against cybersecurity threats
Cybersecurity experts have proven that human error is often the lead cause of an information breach in a health facility. The actions taken by your employees can increase the chances of your practice being breached by up to three times. Proper training can, however, reduce your risks.
- Choose strong passwords
- Ensure different roles have different user permissions
- Make sure that your personnel are armed with information on cybersecurity threats
- Do not disclose treatment information via email or phone
Implement security features
There are a number of dental IT solutions that can be implemented to make sure that your practice has the right foundation to prevent a data breach. They include:
- Setting up a virtual private network
- Installing anti-malware and anti-virus software
- Always ensuring that your operating system, software applications, and web browsers are up to date
Cyber-attacks are a serious threat that should not be taken lightly. Take pre-emptive action right now to protect your data and your patients’ privacy.