Risk Assessment

Why You Should Care About Cyber Security In Your Dental Practice

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Why You Should Care About Cyber Security In Your Dental Practice

When you think of data security breaches, what comes to mind?

Probably breaches for major retail stores, such as the one which plagued TJX in 2007.

Or perhaps one of many times Yahoo’s email services were hacked,

There are countless other examples, which just goes to show the fact that data breaches – whether due to poor security protocols or persistent hackers – are on the rise. 

As a dental care provider who is likely keeping patient records digitally, this is something you need to be concerned about.

As a provider who keeps records of patients’ personal, private, medical information, you could become a target for cybercriminals.

Thankfully, Alexio’s Cyberschool can help.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Dental School Does – And Doesn’t – Prepare You For


When you started dental school, you probably didn’t think much about how to handle patient records.

Yes – you were taught all about how to fill cavities, extract teeth, and perform procedures such as root canals.

But they probably largely neglected the nitty-gritty “business” details of running a dental practice.

You might get a class or two on how to set up a practice, but it’s certainly not the focus of your education.

As far as keeping patient records goes, even that has changed drastically in recent years.

And dental school doesn’t do much to prepare you for managing the privacy and security of patient records.


From Paper Files to Digital Records – A Rapid Change

While the offices of doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers used to be lined wall-to-wall with paper files for each patient, many are now largely digital.

And while paper filing systems need to be kept meticulously organized and alphabetized, cyber files have their own issues.

As many practices have transitioned to digital record keeping, there has not been a set of standardized best practices put into place to ensure patient data is properly safeguarded.

How can we know data isn’t being compromised if office staff don’t have the proper training or understanding of how to protect digital information?

In a survey conducted by KPMG Canada less than forty percent of respondents felt they would be able to effectively ward off a cyberattack, and only 56% regularly test the effectiveness of their cyber security protocols.


While many healthcare administrators in hospital settings or other government-run public health services may have access to information technology teams meant to help safeguard information, many private practices are meant to fend for themselves.


Those working within larger networks also likely have more access to training programs and the budget to match, while private practices may not have the budget or resources for this.

Unfortunately, if these issues are not dealt with early, it could mean even larger issues down the road.

dental breaches

Dealing with Cyber Criminals And Ransomware

As the world goes more and more digital, it’s increasingly important for healthcare providers and their staff to be well versed in cybersecurity and best practices for maintaining patient privacy.

Although in the past, many cyber criminals have gone after large, well-known companies, many are starting to target smaller practices.

Why is this?


Because they know many smaller businesses don’t have the means or knowledge to put robust security systems in place to protect their data.

Because for a lot less work, they can hack into systems, and take data hostage, demanding ransoms to release it, or taking patient information and using it for their own nefarious purposes.

And if you’re the victim of one of these attacks, you risk losing the trust of your patients.

By standardizing IT security standards, we can help ensure patient privacy going forward.

What Can You Do?


Hartaj Niihar, the National Cyber Security Lead at KPMG Canada offered three suggestions for steps businesses can take to improve their cybersecurity posture:


  • Focusing on the importance of cyber security from the top-down
  • Addressing the shortage of staff with adequate cyber security skills
  • Addressing fundamentals, such as patching existing software and focusing on access control issues

Alexio Can Help

At Alexio, we know adoption of proper cybersecurity practices and protocols in healthcare offices could be much higher.

We also know this is going to become a much bigger issue as more and more things are moved into the digital world.

Alexio can help you identify your security gaps, and work to fill them before you, too, are the victim of cybercrime.

Contact us today.