Robust online backup is essential for dental practitioners responsible for storing sensitive patient data and protected health information (PHI).
Put simply, online backup is a data storage strategy designed to create identical copies of your information and store them on an off-site server where they are perpetually protected from localized threats, including natural disasters, employee errors (such as the accidental deletion of files), and cyberattacks.
With online backup, no matter what happens to your primary onsite data storage facilities, your data is always 100% recoverable from any location with an internet connection.
Utilizing the services of a cloud-based online backup and recovery provider is crucial for keeping your data secure and easily accessible, while ensuring you comply with regulatory requirements.
Today, cloud storage is a well-established technology. Highly secure online backup services can be accessed at wildly affordable prices – complete with feature-rich software platforms that make the storage, backing-up, and recovery of your business-critical files fast, safe, and easy.
However, there are hundreds of online backup cloud storage platforms out there – so, how do you go about picking the one that’s right for your business?
The fact is that not all online backup service providers are created equally.
Selecting the right partner to ensure the safety and accessibility of your data is critically important for safeguarding your patients, your practice, and complying with industry regulations.
Below, we outline your key considerations when it comes to choosing an online backup service provider as a dental practitioner.
Does the Online Backup Provider Offer HIPAA Compliance?
For dental practitioners, the primary consideration when selecting an online backup service partner is whether or not the provider offers HIPAA compliance.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act sets strict rules for the storage and transfer of electronic PHI (ePHI). In particular, the HIPAA Security Rule mandates that all HIPAA covered entities must ensure the adequate protection of ePHI through administrative, technical, and physical safeguards.
In addition, under HIPAA, any online backup service provider a healthcare organization works with must sign a business associate agreement (BAA) detailing the responsibilities of each party when it comes to safeguarding ePHI in line with HIPAA requirements.
Not all online backup providers offer HIPAA compliant storage, however, and will not sign a BAA with HIPAA covered entities.
WeTransfer and Apple iCloud, for example, will not sign a BAA – and so must be avoided entirely.
BAAs can be obtained from other popular online backup service providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) – however, agreements with these companies typically stipulate that it is down to you (not them) to configure and maintain the system yourself in compliance with HIPAA Rules.
As such, the best solution is to utilize the services of a HIPAA compliant online backup specialist – and only such specialists should be on your shortlist.
Choose a Partner – Not Just a Software Provider
HIPAA is a rigorous and complex legislation.
With your shortlist of HIPAA compliant providers in hand, your next task is to whittle the list down to those that can provide the support you require to meet your obligations.
What you’re looking for is a provider that offers more than just a software solution – but a true working partnership with your business.
To comply with HIPAA, storage is only one part of the process. You also need to have adequate policies, procedures, staff training programs, and disaster recovery plans in place to ensure that your whole business is in full compliance with the regulations and always fully recoverable in the event of a cyberattack or other data disaster.
Your ideal online backup service partner should offer these additional benefits as part of the service – as well as around-the-clock and -calendar customer support.
In short, providing ongoing support for HIPAA compliance should be your partner’s top priority – evident in the literature, case studies, and testimonials they publish, as well as all direct communications with you when you begin your discussions with candidates.
Be sure, also, to verify each provider’s uptime track record and its security capabilities.
The most secure online backup providers use end-to-end encryption, ensuring that nobody can access or manipulate your data without your permission. Encryption is crucial for complying with the HIPAA Security Rule.
Select a Solution that Automates Your Backups
When it comes to data protection, it’s no good backing up your files after a disaster strikes.
This means that backups need to be performed regularly as part of your disaster recovery strategy.
The trouble, of course, when you’re busy running your business, is that it is all too easy to forget to perform your backups – leaving your business just as vulnerable to a data disaster as if you had no online backup in place whatsoever.
Selecting a provider that automates your backups completely eliminates this risk.
A good service provider will allow you to customize how often your backups occur. Depending on the amount of data you generate, you may need daily backups, hourly backups, or backups to be performed once every fifteen minutes to ensure your business is always recoverable.
The solution you select should be built for convenience – automating your backups as frequently as you need them without you needing to lift a finger.
Central Data Storage – Your Full-Service HIPAA Compliant Online Backup Partner
Looking for a robust online backup solution with round-the-clock service, data storage support, and ongoing guidance on best practices for HIPAA compliant data protection?
Call us on 1-888-907-1227 to discuss your specific needs. Our beyond-military-grade cloud storage and file sharing solutions are designed specifically for HIPAA covered entities. Along with keeping your data safe, we help you develop policies, procedures, disaster recovery plans, and cybersecurity training programs to protect your business from the ground up.
Call 1-888-907-1227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our HIPAA compliant online backup solutions for dental practitioners.
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