The Importance of a Layered Defense In Your Dental Practice

Discover four layers of protection that can help better protect your practice.


The chief asset you have as a dentist isn’t your office or even equipment – it’s your patient data. Imagine how devastating it would be if you lost all your data: patient records, financial and accounting information, payroll, inventory and more. Unfortunately, it’s possible to lose it all in an instant.

Think about all the ways your practice data could be at risk: equipment failure, fire and water, theft and more. One especially deadly hazard, a data breach from just one wrong mouse click, could be devastating to your patients’ security as well as your financial stability. Along with losing income from patient attrition due to a damaged reputation, you could also face additional financial damage from large fines.

The key to protecting yourself from the nightmare of data loss is a layered defense. While no single defense can protect your patient data completely from computer attacks, the more layers of security you have, the higher the chance of catching an advanced threat that other layers may have missed. The following four layers, when used as part of your comprehensive data security program, can help to better protect your practice.

  • Layer 1: Network Security. You probably already have antivirus or anti-spam software. That’s a great first line of defense – when it’s kept current. However, you need a firewall for additional network security to provide another layer of defense to help protect valuable patient health information (PHI), confidential information and transaction data from hackers. For a more comprehensive solution, start with your antivirus software, and then add a robust firewall appliance like the WatchGuard all-in-one network security solution. Read The Risks of Not Staying On Top of Your IT for more information.
  • Layer 2: Encryption Services. To further protect against data theft, you need to encrypt your practice data so that if your server is ever lost or stolen, thieves can’t access your sensitive information even if the drive is moved to another machine. Encrypting the hard drive of your server with the latest Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) (as of this writing, AES 256-bit encryption) helps provide another layer to protect your data at rest from anyone who does not have your unique key.
  • Layer 3: Redundant Backup Services. Are you prepared for disaster or data loss due to theft, fire, or water damage? To help protect yourself with an additional layer, you should keep redundant copies of your valuable data in two protected locations. A redundant, remotely managed backup and recovery solution should keep your data encrypted with AES-256 encryption, both on the local backup device and on the cloud server. This helps to minimize human error. And should disaster strike your practice, recovery of your data is quicker and more certain. Read Why You Need a Hybrid Backup Solution for more information.
  • Layer 4: HIPAA. Policy documents that are old may be missing recent changes to your office or security measures that can help protect against more current threats like ransomware. Consider an affordable cloud-based tool like LayerCompliance® by CAEK that helps guide dental practices through the requirements of HIPAA. When used as part of your comprehensive data security program, LayerCompliance can help you in your efforts to achieve HIPAA compliance.

With a multilayered defense, you can help guard your practice against different types of data loss. TechCentral can help you safeguard your practice data by performing an assessment specific to the dental industry. Request your network assessment and take the first step toward a better defense for your most precious asset.

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Some of the product(s) 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 third-party products or services.

By Howard Grainger, Product Manager, Henry Schein Tech Central

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Fall 2017