You know the old expression, “you get what you pay for”. That is true in technology as well. Is your technology cheap? It could be from budgetary reasons, lack of knowledge, or just something you keep putting off. Do you know if you are setting your practice up for disaster? I have complied a few mistakes that I see on a regular basis when it comes to technology. See if you fit into any of these categories.
Mistake #1: You aren’t backing up data. As convenient as it is to have all of your Practice’s information in one place, such as a single local server or even a desktop PC, you’re toast if anything happens to that hardware. For one, if you’re lacking in IT security, you’re making a cybercriminal’s job easier. And two, if that hardware fails (as hardware eventually does; there’s no way around this), you’re left scrambling to recover that data and hoping it’s still accessible.
You should never risk your Practice like this, considering how easy it is to back up your Practice’s data. You can back up data on-site, get a cloud-based service or you can do both. The point is, you need to back up everything so you’re ready should anything go wrong.
Once you have a solution, you can customize how your data is backed up. Do you need to back up data every day? Once a week? Once a month? It’s up to you. Here’s another thing to remember: your backup system isn’t “set it and forget it.” You need to check on it regularly and keep it updated to ensure your data is safe and ready to go should you need it.
Mistake #2: You aren’t keeping up with the times. Speaking of keeping things updated, you should always update your software. Developers are constantly fixing bugs, patching software and improving usability. Skipping updates can leave you vulnerable.
Earlier this year, Cisco’s Series 1001-X router was found to have a fatal flaw that opened it up to hackers. This flaw potentially gave hackers network access – and access to connected devices. This isn’t the first router to have this kind of flaw and it won’t be the last. Cisco pushed out an update to fix the flaw, but the update is useless if you don’t install it.
Updates don’t just apply to software; they apply to hardware as well. When you’re running old hardware, that hardware is more likely to fail. It’s already been put through its paces. Over time, hardware performance degrades. Plus, the older your hardware is, the less compatible it is with current software. You don’t have to invest in new hardware every year or two, but keeping up with the times keeps you on top of your game.
Mistake #3: You don’t train your team. While most Practices hire people who understand certain software products, you can’t assume they know everything about that software. Your Practice might use a certain CRM application in a very specific way. Proper training on your systems ensures everyone is on the same page – and that they are using the software to its (and their) greatest potential.
More than software training, your team also needs to be trained up on IT security. They need to know the risks and how to keep your Practice’s data secure. Never assume your team knows about the latest threats to small Practice – or that they even understand the basics of safe web browsing.
While you need to have IT security in place and protecting your network, servers, PCs and so on, you need to make sure your team understands that security and the threats that are out there. Your team should also be aware of the consequences if any data becomes compromised.
Mistake #4: You skip data security. Data breaches happen every day, and most of them go unreported. You only hear about the biggest breaches on TV or online. While major companies like Target or Facebook can more easily recover from a data breach (as they have a lot of money to throw at the problem), most small
If you’re lacking in IT security, you’re putting sensitive data at risk. This is proprietary Practice data as well as the personal and financial records of your patients. It can mean the end of your Practice if credit card numbers, names, addresses or phone numbers fall into the
Patients will no longer trust you. Your own employees likely won’t trust you either, especially if their personal data is on the line, not to mention their reputation. When you skimp on IT security, you’re about one step away from handing hackers and cybercriminals all the data you should be keeping under digital lock and key. When you invest in a solid IT security and work with experts who understand today’s security landscape, these are things you don’t have to worry about.
The bottom line is, if you don’t invest in your Practice’s technology and IT solutions today, you will pay for it tomorrow. You’ll be dealing with upset patients if you get hacked, and you may end up closing your doors, temporarily or perhaps even permanently, as you attempt to recover lost data. Don’t make these mistakes because you wanted to save money.
Sheryl Cherico is the CEO of Tier3MD and Discovery Computers and Forensics