HIPAA Resources

A Two-Pronged Approach to Cybersecurity

Every worthwhile cybersecurity tactic can fit nicely into one of two categories: either the tactic helps prevent a cybersecurity event, or the tactic helps to prepare for the aftermath of a cybersecurity event. 

The most important actions you can take right now to significantly reduce the chances of a data breach in your practice are to:

  1. Provide cybersecurity awareness training for your dental team
  2. Document that training
  3. Hold your team accountable to their training

Let’s talk about prevention.

How much pain and suffering can be eliminated by simply brushing and flossing, right? As dentists, you know that prevention should always be the goal. Well, the same is true for cybersecurity! Good cyber-hygiene habits include creating and following the rules and guidelines set out by your practice. These should be related to the appropriate use of company equipment, the practice network and Internet access, as well as the best practices for creating and protecting strong passwords. 

Did you know that ninety-five percent of all successful data breaches were possible because of some combination of social engineering and easily-cracked passwords? The best way to prevent a cybersecurity event in your dental practice is to cover these topics in cybersecurity awareness training for your entire staff. While you work to implement good cyber-hygiene habits in your practice, it's also important to take time to think about various ‘what if?’ scenarios. After all, bad things can happen to good businesses.

As long as your practice is connected to the Internet and you employ humans to provide service to your patients, there will always be a chance you experience viruses, ransomware, and data breaches. I know these aren’t pleasant thoughts, but preparation is an excellent way to ease those fears and anxieties. Fortunately, the most important thing you can do to prepare for the aftermath of a cybersecurity event is to provide cybersecurity awareness training to your staff. That's right! Providing your team with regular, documented, staff-wide cybersecurity awareness training is the single most important thing you can do to both prevent and prepare for the aftermath of a cybersecurity event.

Not only does proper training help prevent potential breaches, but it also prepares your staff to effectively handle and report problems when they occur. In addition, one of the first things an auditor or investigator will ask to see is your documented history of all previous staff training sessions.

So let's get started!!

The core curriculum of your cybersecurity awareness staff training should include a Network Acceptable Use Agreement and a strong Password Management Procedure. If you aren’t familiar with these documents, don't worry, you can search Google to find samples of both. If you’d like our help, we’ve created a short Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program specifically for dental teams. Join our online HIPAA community for dentists at bitesizehipaa.com. There you can explore and learn for 60-days on us! 

Give us a little bit of your time and we’ll teach you good cyber-hygiene habits that will help you prevent and prepare for the various threats that exist in today’s dentistry.

This article is available for members of our online HIPAA community for dentists.

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Todd Baker

Nathan Colt, CISSP, HCISPP

Cybersecurity & Forensics Professional

Nathan Colt is an experienced cyber security professional who works almost exclusively with dentists and dental specialists. He’s actively engaged in helping dentists protect their practices and their patients. Nathan has a working knowledge of strict security standards including HIPAA, PCI DSS, general practices of ISO 27k, and understands how each applies specifically to the dental industry.

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HIPAA education, compliance, and accountability created specifically for dental practices.

If you haven’t made HIPAA a priority yet, start today. Give us a little bit of your time and we’ll teach you about the HIPAA Law, why it exists, and how ‐if done right ‐you can protect your patients and your practice from a variety of very real threats that inherently exist in today’s dentistry.