Dental practitioners rely increasingly on digital technology to store patients’ PHI data – making a disaster recovery data center an essential requirement to keep the business running in the event of an unexpected catastrophe.
Natural disasters like floods, fires, and earthquakes can strike at any time, damaging offices and the data storage equipment stored there.
Disruptions of human origin – including cyberattacks, data breaches, and the accidental deletion of important files – also pose a constant threat to dental practices, leaving the business vulnerable to ransomware demands and regulatory violations.
To protect business-critical assets and information, a comprehensive disaster management plan for data backup and recovery is essential.
A key part of this plan is to store backups of your practice’s data in an offsite, highly secure and HIPAA-compliant disaster recovery data center, enabling you to minimize downtime and restore operations as quickly as possible when disaster strikes.
Conducting Asset and Risk Assessments
What data assets do you need to safeguard to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster?
When formulating your disaster recovery (DR) plan, the first step is to make a comprehensive list of all your data assets and conduct a thorough assessment of the potential risks.
Your list should cover all possible disasters that could hit your business, no matter how unlikely they might seem, along with the solutions you will require to deal with each one, who is responsible for implementing and maintaining those solutions and what resources you will need to recover quickly from each disaster.
Download our free Disaster Recovery Planning Checklist to make sure you’ve got all bases covered.
Formulating Disaster Management Strategies
Following your risk assessment, you will need to assess the potential business impacts for each possible scenario.
Impacts include potential financial losses, downtime and operational disruption, reputational damage, and regulatory compliance implications.
Doing so will enable you to set priorities.
In the event of a disaster, certain assets and data sets will require more immediate recovery attention than others.
Make a list of your critical and less critical data, applications and processes and determine how long a period (minutes, hours, days, etc.) needs to be allocated to restoring each one to ensure business continuity.
Importantly, you must consult HIPAA as part of this process to ensure your recovery plan is in line with compliance requirements.
Selecting a Disaster Recovery Data Center Provider and Facility
No disaster management recovery plan is complete – or HIPAA compliant – until you have made retrievable exact copies of your patients’ PHI data.
Crucially, to shield these copies from any disaster that strikes your office (i.e. your primary data storage site), they must be stored in an offsite location.
The location should be secure, provide your team with easy access to monitor the information, and facilitate the rapid restoration of essential data in line with your recovery point objectives.
When selecting a service provider there are a number of things to take into consideration.
First, you should shortlist those that have experience working specifically with dental practices and so understand your industry’s unique requirements.
Next, you must exercise due diligence to establish each providers’ ratings in terms of uptime, upholding industry standards, and track record for regulatory compliance.
Of course, as HIPAA covered entities, dental practitioners must seek the disaster recovery data center services of a HIPAA-compliant specialist.
It’s important to do your homework in this matter, for not every data storage and disaster recovery provider is HIPAA compliant.
Dental practitioners have no option in this matter. This is because HIPAA doesn’t only cover healthcare businesses themselves, but any “business associates” they work with who handle and have access to the PHI of patients and clients.
Data storage and disaster recovery providers fall into this category.
As such, the provider must be willing to sign a business associate agreement (BAA) with you, which determines the respective roles and responsibilities of each of you with regards to the safeguarding of PHI data.
Develop an Ongoing Strategy for Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery planning is never finished.
Circumstances naturally change over time – you will hire new staff, expand your office, or move to a new location – and new cyber threats are emerging all the time.
As such, you should make periodic reviews of your disaster management strategy and conduct occasional drills to test the effectiveness of your DR mechanisms and expose weaknesses which you can then remedy.
You can schedule a free Backup and Recovery Data Assessment with us here at Central Data Storage. Our assessment evaluates your existing file selection for backup, your backup completion rate, your recovery time objectives and how well you meet them, and your data redundancy practices.
Central Data Storage’s robust, highly secure data center and disaster recovery solutions are HIPAA compliant by design and have been purposefully built to help you meet all the requirements in the legislation.
Our 449-bit encryption exceeds military-grade standards, ensuring your data remains fully protected from all outside security threats.
To learn more about the benefits of utilizing our fully-supported disaster recovery data center and services, call 1-888-907-1227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.