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Best Practices for Backing up Your Patient Data

HIPAA dataCyberattacks on big companies are big news and make for great headlines. 540 Million Facebook Accounts Exposed. Capital One Hack Reaches 1 Million Customers. Yahoo Data Breaches Result in $117.5 Million Settlement. They steal the front pages so often that you’d be forgiven for thinking that cybercriminals were only after the big fish.

Not true – not true at all.

In fact, while 66% of small business owners believe a cyberattack is unlikely, the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) reveals that nearly half (43%) of all cyberattacks target small businesses – just like your dental practice.

Even more concerning is the fact that despite the growing threat, only 14% of SMBs are prepared to defend themselves with adequate cybersecurity and best practices for data backup and recovery.

These numbers raise a big red flag for dental practitioners who are mandated by law to ensure their patients’ data is securely protected, backed up and retrievable in line with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements.

To spell it out clearly, under HIPAA, all dental practitioners must “establish and implement procedures to create and maintain retrievable exact copies of electronic Protected Health Information” and implement a disaster recovery plan to “restore any loss of data” in the event of a cyberattack, data breach, or other disaster that causes damage to computers where PHI is stored.

But this is all easier said than done, of course. As a practicing dentist, you are already extremely busy doing what you do best – treating your patients and running your business. Nonetheless, implementing best practices for data backup and recovery remains vital for compliance purposes, as well as protecting your livelihood (the average cost of a single cybersecurity breach is $200,000, according to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2019).

So – what are these best practices for data backup and recovery? Let’s take a look.

Backup Your Data in a Secure, HIPAA-Compliant, Remote Location

This is the most critical factor for a robust and reliable data backup and recovery strategy.

Backing up your sensitive patient data on the same machine as the original data is pretty much futile. Should you suffer a cyberattack, system outage, fire, theft, or other disaster and your backups are all in the same place as the originals – you may as well have not had the backups at all.

The only sensible solution is to maintain your backups off-site in a secure, HIPAA-compliant location utilizing the backup and recovery services of a reputed provider. The reason for this is even though you no doubt understand and appreciate the importance of storing patient data and files securely, the likelihood is, that as a fully qualified practicing dentist, you’re not a fully qualified data disaster recovery professional as well.

Backup and recovery involve replicating and archiving your practice’s data in preparation for a disaster and setting up secure systems to recover that data should it become corrupted, lost, or deleted.

It’s technical work – and just as your patients wouldn’t turn to a computer professional to perform their root canal surgery, they probably wouldn’t expect their dentist to be a data recovery expert either. They do, however, expect their personal and private health, medical and payment data to be protected – which is precisely why, as their trusted dentist, you should be employing the expertise of backup and recovery professionals to look after their data in the cloud on your behalf.

Automate Your Backups

Human beings are somewhat fallible creatures. Even with a cloud-based data backup and recovery plan in place, you will still have to ensure that your data gets to its backup location safely and regularly. Undoubtedly, your business will be creating a lot of new data on a daily basis – X-ray images, Excel documents, invoices, etc. The trouble is, of course, that you and your employees are busy doing your day jobs and neither you nor they need the added stress of performing manual backups of critical files to a designated backup location.

What’s more, accidents happen. Unintentionally deleted files, laptops left on the train, spilled coffee on a keyboard – ring any bells?

Recent research from Kaspersky Lab reveals that the root cause of a massive 90% of data breaches are caused by human error. The solution? Remove this vulnerability from the equation and instead, work with your backup and recovery provider to make your backups automatic.

Whether you need your backups to run every 15 minutes, every hour, or just every day to ensure business continuity in the event of a breach or other disaster, your provider will program the system to perform this task automatically, continuously and quietly in the background.

In other words, you never have to worry about spilled coffee or deleted files – nor do you have to worry about hiring somebody to perform manual backups every 15 minutes. The system just does it, allowing everyone in your office to continue focusing on delivering continuous and reliable patient care.

Ensure Your Data is Secure, Backed Up, and Recoverable with Cloud Data Storage

As a small business, your data is continuously under threat. Be it a cybercriminal, natural disaster, or human error, you need to be sure your business can survive no matter what catastrophe comes crashing your way.

In short, you need a secure, reliable and HIPAA-compliant managed backup and recovery solution that automatically backs up your data off-site in the cloud.

The professionals at Central Data Storage are who you’ve been looking for. We offer a fully supported, encrypted, cloud-based and HIPAA-compliant data backup and recovery solution for dental practitioners.

With unlimited storage capacity, automated backups and beyond military-grade encryption both in transit and at rest in our secure data center, your data is always safe, protected, will never fall into the wrong hands, and will be completely retrievable no matter what.

Want to learn more about the benefits of our fully supported cloud backup and recovery solution? We want to hear from you! Just call 1-888-907-1227, or email


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