3 things every dental practice needs to protect itself from ransomware

Tasha Dickinson
Tasha Dickinson.

There is only one thing that can prevent a ransomware attack from taking down your entire business ... and that is to remove items offline. Plenty of websites guarantee to protect you from ransomware and cyberattacks, but you won't find any that offer a 100% guarantee. 

The first thing to do is to print out your schedule, which is a good practice to get in the habit of doing. The only 100% cyberproof copy of your schedule is a printout done at the end of every day for the next business day. This way, if you fall victim to a cyberattack, you can start calling patients to reschedule them. You will have a copy of what you need to start working on toward recovery. 

The next item is a copy of your database and images stored on a removable hard drive. This is not an image-based backup. This is not a fancy backup system. This is a simple copy of your database that you have offline, unplugged, and not connected to your computer or the network.

The only way that you can 100% guarantee that nothing will get attacked is to remove it offline. Siligent installs secure backups, and most of the time, we will be able to use those to get you back up and running quickly.

However, if ransomware hits your backup system or malware has been in your network for longer than a few days, you will need to start from scratch. It may take longer than a few days to get a database like that up and running, but you will be glad you have it.

Insurance is for a rainy day, but make sure you have cyber and crime insurance if all of the preventative measures you have put into place don't stand up to the criminals.

The last thing you need is patience. Recovering from cyber crimes, regardless of how perfectly you have prepared for this situation, is an exercise in patience. If you have done everything you could to prevent this situation and to help you prepare for recovery, let things unfold as you have planned.

Author's note: How well prepared are you? The first step is to start with a scan. Siligent has tools that help us diagnose how ready your office is in case of an attack. An annual or biannual scan, just as you give your patients, gives us a good idea. From there, we can put together a treatment plan customized for your office. So reach out, and let's work together to ensure that your business is ready.

Tasha Dickinson is the founder and chief technologist of Siligent. She has completed and installed multiple information technology infrastructure projects for dentists across the U.S., including consulting on cybersecurity, computer architecture, and data protection.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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