If you’re the dental office manager of a practice in Florida, Texas, or other regions in the U.S. that are susceptible to highly volatile weather changes, you’re probably up to speed in how to prepare for a disaster.
But if you’re located elsewhere, you might need a refresher, because nature and man have tons of disasters in store.
Prepare Yourself and Your Dental Practice
You Need a Disaster Plan For Your Business
This should include:
- An audible alarm system in your practice facility
- An escape route with a map
- A plan in place to account for all patients and staff when evacuation is finished
- A “go” box with a laptop that has all server data downloaded to it, installation disks for your server,
backups, and important paperwork
- A “stay” box that’s a waterproof bin where you can store your high-tech equipment, server and other items that could be damaged by smoke, fire, or water
You need a disaster plan for yourself
This should include:
- A “go” bag stocked with first aid, any meds you need, flashlight, battery-powered radio, and batteries
- A plan to communicate with family and friends
- A pre-designated place to meet
Prepare your dental practice for Cyberattacks
Malware, phishing, ransomware, and viruses. These are just some of the types of cyber attacks that can affect your dental practice — and potentially take you out and shut you down.
There are however, some things you can do to protect yourself. Train staff to:
- Identify phishing attempts
- Keep macros in Word turned off when viewing emailed documents
- Notify IT staff of anything unusual or weird going on with your computer
- Install security patches as they become available
- Install antivirus and anti malware programs on all devices
The steps above are all important, but it is the backup that can save the day — and your practice.
Create a Plan to Secure and Backup Dental Office Data
All HIPAA-covered dental practices are required to have a written data backup plan. This plan must be tested periodically and revised as needed.
Medical records must be included in the backup plan.
But, Not All Backups Are the Same
If your backups are stored onsite, they could be completely useless if your whole office goes down. Even if it’s off site, but in the same geographical area, it too could be affected by whatever disaster befalls you.
Things You Need to Consider About Your Dental Office Backups
In determining the dental backup types best for you, you need to consider:
How often you need your dental data backed up:
- Daily? Weekly? Hourly?
- How much info will you lose if the dental backup was done last week?
- How much time will you need to invest to re-input a week’s worth of data?
- Are the backups full, incremental, or differential? Full, which saves all the data and minimizes restoration time, is best, but can be too time consuming for some practices.
What sort of backup device you need:
- A tape? If you ship your tapes offsite, resuming business will take time, because you need to get the tapes back — and then restore them.
- A hard-disk device? If you choose this, you need to make sure it is kept safe from smoke, water, or fire damage.
- Online? If you store them in the Cloud, access to them is less time consuming.
Costs are associated with backups:
- The time it takes to do a full backup of your dental office data
- The cost of storage
- The cost of accessing the backup
- The time you can afford to be “down”
Time frames are associated with restoring backups:
- Your recovery point objective, or RPO. How far back in time will you need to roll back? What’s the maximum amount of data you can lose between your last backup and a disaster?
- Your recovery time objective, or RTO. How much time can pass between the server failure and resumption of business as usual?
Particular issues related to PHI records in the event of disaster:
Patient health information must be kept whole and secure. But, if disaster strikes, you’ll need to:
- Evaluate the loss of or damage to PHI records
- Notify the state dental board for guidance on how to handle damaged records
- Get legal advice about how to notify patients
- Re-establish a backup system
- Reconstruct lost dataa
How The Complete Cloud™ Protects You and Your Dental Data
When you work with The Complete Cloud™, we safeguard your dental office data and store it in the Cloud, and in the event of a disaster, you can recover almost immediately.
The Complete Cloud™ Backup Comes With
- Advanced physical data center protection so your data is safe and secure
- Fully compliant network and servers (including email) so you are HIPAA compliant
- And, importantly, live-to-the-second encrypted backup and replication to assure rapid recovery of backups and minimized downtime
Remember, yes, you do need to do backups, but not all backups are the same. With The Complete Cloud, your data is constantly backed up so you never lose it. And, it’s easily accessible from any device, anywhere, and at any time.