Today, your dental practice is storing more and more of your patients’ PHI data in electronic format – and you have a responsibility under HIPAA to protect that information and handle it responsibly.
In order to do so, one single copy of that data isn’t enough. Retrievable backups of all ePHI must also be stored in a disaster recovery data center.
This is essential – and not just for the purposes of complying with HIPAA regulations, but to ensure your business’s survival in the event of a data disaster.
Cyberattacks are on the rise, with increasing numbers targeting small dental practices. Then there is the risk of human error – accidental deletion of files, lost laptops and mobile phones, poor password management, etc. – and of course a natural disaster like a flood, earthquake, or hurricane that can strike at any point and cause irreparable damage to onsite computers and hardware where ePHI is stored.
Such threats loom over businesses of all sizes – but the reality is that it is small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that suffer the most in the aftermath of a data disaster.
The reason is that SMBs are usually the least prepared and lack the resources to bounce back following an extended outage.
In order to protect your business from unexpected emergencies, it is vital that you store backups of your ePHI in a highly secure HIPAA-compliant disaster recovery data center.
Only this way can you minimize downtime and get your business back up and running quickly in the event of a data disaster.
Your Data Backup and Recovery Plan
Moving your important files to a disaster recovery data center should be part of a larger disaster recovery (DR) plan.
When creating this plan, the first step is to undertake an asset and risk assessment, so you have a clear understanding of all the data assets you need to protect and what the threats to them are.
As a first measure, compile a comprehensive inventory of all data assets so you know what data you’re dealing with.
Then, list the potential risks – including all types of disasters that could hit your business.
Next, formulate a plan to deal with each potential disaster – and the solutions and resources you will require to recover from each one.
To do so, you will need to assess the possible impacts to your business in the event of each scenario – including operational downtime, financial losses, reputational damage and regulatory compliance implications.
This will enable you to see which data assets are fundamental to a quick business recovery so you can set priorities as to which assets will require the most immediate data recovery attention following a disaster.
You should work out the necessary recovery time – minutes, hours, days, etc. – for restoring business-critical and less critical data and applications.
As HIPAA covered entities, dental practitioners should also review the HIPAA legislation itself to ensure DR plans meet its requirements.
HIPAA provides a structured format for DR planning, providing clear guidance on the issues you need to address to ensure compliance.
Choosing a Disaster Recovery Data Center
You essentially have two options here – establish your own disaster recovery data center which you own and manage yourself or move your data to a cloud service provider that operates data centers on behalf of businesses like yours.
Setting up your own data center is a complicated and expensive process.
Data center infrastructure consists of a complex mix of servers, routers, switches, security devices, storage systems, and other equipment.
Each of these components needs to be routinely maintained and backed up with redundant systems in case of failure. As such, the reality is that maintaining your own data center will require a full-time commitment and staff members with IT expertise – resources that SMBs often lack.
Instead, utilizing the services of a third-party is usually the more sensible and cost-effective option.
Cloud service backup and recovery vendors provide and maintain all the necessary infrastructure for you and work around the clock to ensure your data is fully backed up and recoverable no matter what.
It’s important that you choose the right service provider, however.
As well as researching track records for uptime and meeting service level agreements (SLAs), dental practitioners must also utilize the services of a HIPAA-compliance specialist.
Be warned – not all data center solution providers are HIPAA compliant.
The one you select needs to be, however, as HIPAA doesn’t just cover healthcare businesses like yours, but any “business associates” you work with that handle or have access to your patient’s ePHI.
Cloud storage providers fall into this category – so HIPAA compliance is an absolute must when choosing a disaster recovery data center.
Full Data Disaster Backup and Recovery from Central Data Storage
A data disaster recovery plan is essential for all dental practitioners for the simple reason that a disaster will strike eventually.
As such, it’s crucial that you seek to formulate a partnership with a backup and disaster recovery specialist now, for it will be too late once a serious incident has already occurred.
Central Data Storage is the provider you’ve been looking for.
Our robust and highly secure data center is HIPAA-compliant by design and purpose-built to help you meet all of the legislation’s requirements.
As disasters can strike at any time, our solution automates your backups to run every 15 minutes, every hour, or however frequently you need them to ensure business continuity.
What’s more, our 448-bit end-to-end encryption exceeds military-grade standards, ensuring your data remains fully protected both in transit and at rest in our disaster recovery data center. And with unlimited storage capacity, dual authentication, and ransomware recovery, your data is always safe and recoverable no matter the catastrophe.
Learn more about our data center and fully supported cloud backup and recovery solution. Call 1-888-907-1227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.