Cyber security in a dental practice is becoming more and more complicated. In fact, most practices have little or no cyber security measures. Recently, the database of a dental practice in Palo Alto, California was hacked into, and the hacker demanded a ransom in the amount of $3,000.00.
Hackers like to target small dental practices because they know that a small dental practice owner typically does not have the resources for more sophisticated (and more expensive) security defenses.
How can a dentist secure patient data in a digital world?
- Set up and enforce a strict computer and Internet use policy that restricts employees from reading and downloading personal email while using an office computer.
- Hire an experienced IT company to set up a strict firewall on your office network. If your dental practice uses wireless, have the IT company hide your wireless network from public view.
- Train your staff on how viruses infect computers with common user habits such as forwarding personal email messages and downloading computer wallpapers.
- Keep all anti-virus and anti-malware software updated along with computer operating systems.
- Always create strong passwords of more than 8 characters that use mixed-case letters and include numbers and symbols.
- Keep business and home computing separate. Don’t use a laptop at home for fun and then bring it into the office for use on the dental office network. Business computers should strictly be used for business.
With the proliferation of cyber breaches in dental practices, data security is no longer an option.
Stuart J. Oberman, Esq.
Stuart J. Oberman is the founder and President of Oberman Law Firm. Mr. Oberman graduated from Urbana University and received his law degree from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Oberman has been practicing law for over 30 years, and before going into private practice, Mr. Oberman was in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 Company.
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