Cloud security

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Is The Cloud Safe For My Dental Practice Data?

If you were bold enough, you might ask 100 people what digital security meant to them, and you’d get about 100 different responses to the question.

Luckily, cloud technology has long been at work adapting the highest security standards, and even expanding on those already in place for standard servers or on-prem solutions. Simple things like logging in and more complex tasks like payment acceptance are safer than they’ve ever been, offering peace of mind.

When hacking and digital security does come up in the headlines, it’s almost exclusively for volume. Reports typically show off how many millions of people had their private, financial, or other data compromised. By comparison, it might be easy to assume that as a small business, you can fly under the radar of malicious actors on the Internet. In reality, small businesses are overwhelmingly the targets of illegal or inappropriate access. Since most small businesses rely on digital access to charge customers or even complete their own banking but rarely have the budget to invest in digital security or proper training, they become reliable targets.

Having your offline, on-prem server behind a physical lock and key can make it easy to brush off risk, but without the aid of Internet access or a more complex network, you’re only slightly more productive and efficient than offices still working off of paper records with shelves of files.

Being every bit aware of risk does not mean having to live in fear. With advanced cloud security protocols and standards offered by all cloud providers, security measures are simple and easy, as long as you and your team stay vigilant.

Let’s talk about some of the best ways to stay safe in the cloud:

Two-Factor Authentication

Revered as one of the current holy grails for login credentials, this process of identity verification adds an extra layer of security, rather than using password1234 as a golden key for access. Since most everyone today is equipped with a smartphone in their personal or business life, technology companies are able to use your SIM card to verify your identity. When creating an account on a cloud platform, many companies now ask for your phone number immediately. By associating your account with a physical device, whenever a login attempt is successfully made, a verification code can be texted directly to the device as a final password before logging in.

In short, even if someone acquires a password for any member of your organization, they won’t be allowed access to any sensitive information without that person’s phone, even if they’re sitting at a desk in your office.

Say ‘No Thanks’ To Third-Party Access

By consolidating the technology into an always available service that connects to any device with an Internet connection, you automatically remove the need for 3rd party access apps that provide remote access. While these sometimes convenient, and sometimes expensive additional costs provide some amount of ease in your work, they’ve always represented an additional security risk. Providing your login credentials to additional individuals or organizations is an incremental risk on your entire livelihood.

Bringing all your services to the cloud means that your own security is increased, and by extension, the safety of your patients and their private health records.

User Privileges

Otherwise known as access control, this pivotal feature of software utilizes the principle of need-to-know. Some of the best software providers out there are able to independently weigh the data collected, creating firewalls of information based on the person, or user, accessing it. Some also allow you to define these roles yourself while creating your profile and account. In terms of your practice, imagine your front desk employee, while the address or phone number of a patient can be valuable information, a copy of their periapical or panoramic x-ray is not.

By controlling who has access to what data, based on their login credentials, you exponentially reduce the risk of any private information being made available to bad actors.

The Wrong Kind of Email

Phishing is the tactic of a hacker attempting to gain information or easy money by posing as someone the victim knows. This type of attack most often happens over email or text message, coming from similar addresses. Let’s say you’re a [email protected], an assistant or front office manager might get an email from [email protected] asking for records or passwords to be forwarded. To be clear, this is the most common way that accounts are compromised with cloud technology, as the technology itself is substantially more sophisticated than most people attempting to compromise it.

Defending against phishing is simple, especially with resources and training for your staff, like outlining the official channels you’ll use to communicate with employees and make it clear that communication outside of that should be seen as suspicious.

Above and Beyond the Privacy Policy

Even if you’re ready to have your practice join the cloud immediately, you’ll always have certain responsibilities as a practice owner and oral healthcare provider. Protecting the confidentiality of your patient’s private medical information is a key part of offering exceptional medical care. The responsibility of ensuring your patient’s personal information is protected at all times doesn’t need to be exclusively up to you. Reliable practice management software should come out of the box certified from Health Canada as a Class I or Class II device, and in the cloud, that’s no different.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions around the security and the certification of any software that handles your patient’s sensitive information.

Data security is just one aspect of how cloud technology can move your dental practice into the future. Learn more about why it belongs in your dental practice – download our free eBook!

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