Add Wi-Fi to Your Waiting Room the Smart Way

Give your patients a perk they appreciate without risking your practice or patient data.

You may be considering or already offering Wi-Fi as a courtesy for your patients. It’s a great idea, and many practices are adding Wi-Fi access in their waiting rooms.

Wi-Fi hotspots are, well, hot. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) IP traffic forecast, 63 percent of all Internet traffic will travel over Wi-Fi by 2019.1 The number of public hotspots is exploding, expected by iPass to grow to almost 300 million in 2018.2

Just a few years ago, practice visitors were surprised if a Wi-Fi hotspot was available; but as technology becomes more a part of their everyday lives, patients now are frustrated when they can’t stay connected wherever they are. So give them what they want.

Why Wi-Fi?

Your practice likely has Internet connectivity–maybe even Wi-Fi–so why not add a guest network? Consider these benefits: – Show patients you value their time by helping them stay productive while they wait.

  • Reduce magazine subscriptions and clutter in your waiting room.
  • Create goodwill for prospective customers, especially friends or relatives waiting for patients.
  • Gain a competitive advantage over other practices.

Security is Key

While there are many benefits to providing a Wi-Fi hotspot, the downside is that network security attacks are on the rise. It’s important that dental organizations develop a wireless strategy to help minimize the risk of hackers stealing their patients’ valuable data.

A hacker can use what is known as a man-in-the-middle attack to intercept keystrokes and capture passwords when people use Wi-Fi. The hacker simply sets up an access point that mimics a legitimate network connection name and tricks a device into joining their network. The Internet is basically routed through the attacker, who can silently intercept personal data without the user being aware.

Dental practices and other small businesses are hot targets because they may try to get by with inadequate cyber security protection. Last year nearly 50 percent of small businesses were impacted by cyberattacks, with an average cost to the business of more than $20,0003 in loss of service and/or stolen credit card or bank account information.

Be Smart

Installing Wi-Fi in your practice comes with a responsibility to your patients. It’s critical to properly configure your router to help safeguard your practice and patients, and to increase the likelihood that you’ll keep inappropriate websites and malware out. When deploying, upgrading, or managing Wi-Fi access for visitors to your practice, follow these guidelines:

  1. Be sure that your hotspot has integrated Wi-Fi security capabilities and services. Services to look for include anti-virus protection, anti-malware, intrusion prevention, application control, and web content filtering
  2. Segment your networks to increase the likelihood that you’ll keep the public out of your business data. Your guest Wi-Fi network needs to be just that–a separate network just for your customers.
  3. Include a disclaimer, and require a password to log on to your network. If your reception staff provides the password to patients, you can reduce the risk of the wrong people using your network.
  4. Consult with TechCentral for IT recommendations and solutions that can help keep your practice data and computer systems protected.

Providing Wi-Fi access can be a great way to help your practice attract customers and build goodwill with patients, but a practice can lose thousands of dollars and valuable staff productivity when technology fails or common Internet threats compromise computer systems and data. By thinking ahead and making protection a priority, you can give your patients a perk they appreciate while minimizing cyber risks for yourself and your patient data.

Henry Schein TechCentral offers superior office technology solutions that are optimized and integrated for dental practices. With a single-source team of professionals that design, deliver and support networks and security solutions, you can trust the tech professionals at TechCentral.

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Some of the products and/or service(s) described herein are provided by a third party. Henry Schein, Inc. and its affiliates (“HSI”) make no independent assessment of the content and descriptions provided by such third party, and this content does not constitute an endorsement by HSI. HSI is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of such a third-party product(s) or service(s).

By Ryan Orsi, Director of Strategic Alliances, WatchGuard Technologies

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Winter 2016