NTD 2022 ISSUE 3 DE-3 - Page 14


CYBERCRIME in Dental Practices

by Frank J . Brown

A s digitization trends continue to transform the healthcare industry , cybercrime is becoming more and more prevalent even in small businesses . Do not succumb to the misconception that cybercrime only happens in large corporations . Small healthcare organizations have become popular targets for cybercrime due to the wealth of patient information stored in their records as well as their tendency to be unprepared for the threat . Dental practice owners have not escaped this phenomenon . In addition to having files with highly detailed personal information , most dental practice owners have been slow to upgrade systems and often use digital tools that are obsolete in terms of keeping up with modern cybersecurity needs .

The Cost of Cyberattacks
Dental practice owners can incur devastating effects from cybercrime . Many lack the necessary resources ( financial and personnel ) to detect an attack in a timely manner , respond to it properly , and fully recover from it . Beyond the direct financial consequences of a cyberattack that might include a ransom demand for patient files , operational disruptions are also a factor . Would you be able to rebuild all the appointment schedules and payment data ? Would you be able to retain your patients ? Other costs to consider include those related to recovery , including the notification of customers and vendors , creating new accounts , legal fees , and possible regulatory fines .
Misconceptions of Practice Owners
Many misconceptions prevent practice owners from taking the necessary steps to protect their data :
My data has no value . Many owners underestimate the amount of data they create , collect , store , access , and transmit . A breach of this data would affect your ability to continue your daily business routines and maintain your patients ’ confidence .
My general liability insurance covers cyberattacks . In reality , many standard insurance policies may not cover cyber incidents or data breaches .
New software and equipment are secure when purchased . This may or may not be true . Just because something is new does not guarantee protection .
Cybersecurity is too expensive . Companies can take many effective actions to minimize risk through proper training , protocols , and vigilance .
What You Can Do Today
Start protecting yourself today by minimizing your risks . Below are some steps you can take immediately :
Create back-up files . Backing up your data on a regular basis will allow a tech support person to restore your files to their original condition if an attack occurs .
Enable appropriate firewalls and antivirus protections . Review your security settings on your software programs ,
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