The Risks of Not Staying on Top of Your IT (And the Hidden Threats of Malware)

Focusing on your IT can take valuable time away from patient care, but if you don’t stay on top of your IT you risk the bad guys exploiting your patient data.

Almost all dental offices now use some kind of information technology (IT). This offers convenience but, unfortunately, also introduces new threats to patient data and your practice. Keeping your operating system (OS), anti-virus and other software up to date can help protect your practice from threats—but focusing on your IT can take your valuable time away from caring for patients.

However, if you don’t stay on top of your IT, you risk the bad guys exploiting your patient data.

Hackers’ Favorite: Ransomware

One of a hacker’s favorite tools is ransomware, a form of computer malware that restricts access to your computer or its information, while demanding you pay a ransom to get back access to your data. Ransomware has been around a long time, but when Cryptolocker and Cryptowall were released in 2013, they earned their attackers some big money, helping make ransomware attacks a favorite new way for hackers to profit—at the expense of you and your patients.

Ransomware hackers often target small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs), including dental practices because SMBs often lack resources to defend against these types of attacks. According to a Kaspersky report, in 2016, 42 percent of SMBs were hit by ransomware in the past 12 months, making ransomware a very significant threat. So if you have an internet connection in your practice, you could be at risk.

Importance of a Layered Defense

Because hackers are always looking for new ways to steal your patient data, it is important to have a layered defense strategy. Your layered defense should always  include:

  • Current software and OS patches, updates and licenses
  • Gateway antivirus and behavior-based malware detection software
  • A business-grade firewall such as WatchGuard
  • Data encryption using AES 256-bit encryption
  • Frequent data backup in at least 2 separate locations, ideally one in the cloud

Attackers love re-using old exploits because so many organizations don’t stay up-to-date on security patches. In fact, according to WatchGuard Technologies Internet Security Report from Q2 2018, last quarter every one of the top 10 network attacks affecting WatchGuard customers was at least two years old. Your patient data may still be in danger from these old attacks, as well as the new  vulnerabilities found almost every day that hackers just keep adding to their toolbox. Do you know if you are at risk?

The Value of Protecting Your Practice Data

How much would it cost you if your practice shut down for a day—or a week? What about the fines, fees, and financial damage from a compromised reputation if your office is targeted by a hacker?

The dangers of not staying on top of your IT are high, but as a dentist, it can seem impossible to keep up with everything. You have enough to do without worrying about IT and security. The IT experts at TechCentral, by Henry Schein One, help to take the IT stress out of dentistry. This allows you to focus on the expert dental care you give rather than IT.

A Simple Solution

TechCentral provides the IT services dental practices need, from computers and software to data backup solutions and remote monitoring and support. The newest offering is OmniCore, a “hardware as a service” offering, which means that rather than incur the cost to purchase and support networking hardware, customers pay a monthly fee for TechCentral to provide, maintain, and monitor all of the hardware.

OmniCore comes with everything essential to running your practice network, including a business-grade WatchGuard firewall and hybrid data backup—all within a low-profile rack that can be easily rolled into your dental practice. Because TechCentral retains ownership of the hardware, they take on the responsibility of maintaining and updating your software, and out-of-date components are automatically replaced.

Put your focus back on your patients and what you do best, and stop spending time and stress worrying about malware attacks and IT problems. Find out if TechCentral OmniCore is right for your practice.

Schedule your free technology assessment today at (844) 588-6578, or visit www.HSTechCentral.com/StayOnTop.


Learn More

For more information about TechCentral or to schedule your free technology assessment, visit http://www.hstechcentral.com/.


Certain components of the products or services described above are provided by third parties. Henry Schein One and its affiliates are not responsible for, and expressly disclaim, all liability for damages of any kind arising out of the use of those third party products or services.


By Marc Laliberte, Sr. Security Analyst, WatchGuard Technologies

Marc Laliberte joined the WatchGuard team in 2012. With speaking appearances at industry events and regular contributions to various security publications, Marc is a thought leader who provides insightful IT security guidance.

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Winter 2018