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Systems and Data Security, Loss, Recovery: Are You Prepared?

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Small dental practices many not be fully prepared should things go terribly wrong with their technology. Technology is obviously critical and most business processes now cannot function if technology is lost; everything is handled through it. Productivity of staff; financial impact; loss of data; hardware and software failure.

Often overlooked, too, is possible facility failure: electrical, structural, water or theft. Natural disasters – hurricanes, floods, lightening – also can play a huge role in the future of the business of your practice. How severe would it be if you lost your practice’s most critical files?

We don’t think about disruption until it occurs because most of us are not prepared. Down time to your practice can be longer than you may like or is necessary, especially versus a competitor that is prepared for an emergency and returns to business before your practice can.

If you were to face a disruption to your practice because of failing technology, how long could you last?

Service disruption will happen; you need to prepare. Some simple steps you can take include performing a written assessment of systems, putting in place backup methods for data collection and storage, routine system restoration from your backups. Finally, you must determine how long it will take you to recover from full system outage. Doing so is more than just hoping you can nail down a response time or an anticipated plan. You must be specific: How quickly can you recover from a failed hard drive; how quickly can you recover from a virus? What will you do specifically if anything happens to you? You must have a systems data recovery plan, and review and test it annually.

As well, think of all the paper documents that you have in various file folders throughout the practice that are critical to the running of your practice. Given the likelihood that something is going to happen to your practice, and to its information, now is the time to make a step toward digital storage, or sooner than later. Bringing your data and documents to the cloud, for example, can be of tremendous help to holding documents and information to a safer environment and can reduce space waste. Anything currently not protected in any form other than hard paper copy or that might otherwise be cumbersome to keep or difficult to track in its present form, is ideal for moving to digital storage or a cloud environment.

Even if your practice never faces a devastating emergency or natural disaster, moving practice documents and information like credentialing information, insurance documents and photos, tax documents, legal documents, employment documentation, invoices, contracts or anything else that important to the practice can find a secure home digitally off site. Your paper files and documents are only as secure as the locks on your office doors. Cloud-based storage solutions can effectively protect your sensitive documents and provide your practice the tools to reduce or even eliminate paper from your physical files while increasing your security measures.

Dental practices, which are increasingly moving their documents to electronic formats, are finding benefits in secure cloud storage, but to ignore protection of your data may not be so wise. The best gauge for determining the likely outcome might be to ask what the consequences might be if you lost and of your machines, technology or information? Would you be better off if your information was available upon demand if something were to happen to the data? Would the addition of such capabilities to your current stable of practice solutions ensure that your business is much better well off?