In the age of the Internet it’s more important than ever to make sure data is secure. With high profile data breaches like Target, JC Penney’s, and other major retailers being targeted, small businesses need to stay vigilant and do what they can to protect the personal information of their customers and clients. Medical professionals, specifically dentists, need to be very careful to ensure patient medical data is safe and secure at all times to protect privacy and avoid lawsuits. The 3 elements of medical and dental website protection are (1) virus protection, (2) a firewall, and (3) an updated website with proper security measures.
The 1st priority for a dentist website is virus protection. Hackers and data thieves use viruses as the main way to access confidential information. It’s difficult to break a long password to get into a website, but it’s very easily to pass along a virus via email. Norton Antivirus is one of the leading virus protection applications on the market today and that’s the one we recommend dentists use on their websites. The dental website needs a layer of security to prevent unwarranted access and keep client data safe. Applications like Norton will scan the website daily to ensure rootkits, keyloggers, and other data-stealing viruses are not present. If something is found, the application quarantines the virus and deletes it securely.
The 2nd level of security we recommend for both medical and dental websites is a firewall. A firewall is a security device, typically software, that one can install to protect the Internet network and block unauthorized access to data. Firewalls can be setup to only allow access within a given radius, specific areas, or specific IP addresses. By filtering traffic that passes through the network, this extra layer of security helps ensure dental patient information does not fall into the wrong hands.
The 3rd level of security which may seem like commonsense is an updated website. The majority of websites are hosted on WordPress, a free platform that millions of people worldwide work on continuously to upgrade and improve its code. WordPress consistently updates their platform to ensure the highest level of security by patching vulnerabilities that have been discovered. If you do not update the WordPress core theme every so often, a vulnerability may be exploited to steal information. Dental websites need to either turn on “auto-updates” or manually update the theme every so often to make sure all of the software patches are applied as soon as they are released.
Between virus protection, a strong firewall, and an updated websites, dentist can better protect themselves against data theft and prevent a lawsuit from their patients.