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The 3-Part Ransomware Defense Every Dental Practice Needs

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Cyber criminals are specifically targeting the healthcare industry, a trend that started in 2016 and will carry into the New Year, according to Sophos’s 2018 malware forecast. In fact, according to this report, healthcare is the single most targeted industry because victims are most likely to pay ransoms. This is a disturbing revelation for a couple of reasons. On one hand, it indicates that healthcare businesses, dental practices included, have outdated or compromised security protections. In addition, and perhaps more egregiously, the staff is so desperate to regain their patient data that they feel compelled to pay the ransom. At that point, it’s game over and these criminals have won.

As Sophos notes, the United States is the top country for ransomware victims (17.2%) compared to No. 2 Great Britain (11%). Cyber criminals are focusing on ransomware attacks that amount to less than $5,000. As Cory Nachreiner, CTO of WatchGuard Technologies. explained in a previous article, this is because if the ransom is low enough chances are the FBI won’t get involved and local police often don’t have the resources to investigate such a crime.

So where does this leave small businesses like your dental practice? Here’s the truth: it’s largely your responsibility to research and install the right tools and services. That’s why it's so important to have a single source IT provider, like Henry Schein TechCentral, that you trust to help you determine how to best protect your practice. Begin by having TechCentral perform a complementary network assessment.

In addition, the IT professionals at TechCentral recommend a 3-part ransomware defense for all practices:

1 . Preparation

  • Training – Make sure your staff is knowledgeable about the current security threats circulating and how to identify them, i.e. suspicious links and emails.
  • Updating – Make sure your hardware is up-to-date with the latest software and similarly, that your software has the latest patches.
  • Backup –Dr. Marc Wilk told Dental Product Shopper that his practice lost all of their data when their server unexpectedly failed. This point can’t be overstated: equipment failure or natural catastrophe can strike any practice. That’s why he now uses the TechCentral Hybrid Backup Service which provides a backup device that is plug-and-play and specifically formatted to automatically back up his server. It transmits an identical copy of his data to the cloud storage so that the data is stored in two (AES) 256-bit encrypted locations.

2. Prevention

  • Anti-virus – Antivirus products provide value by reactively blocking malware that the security industry is already aware of. However, as WatchGuard’s Nachreiner explains, because malware evolves so quickly you also need modern advanced malware detection security services that will proactively identify brand-new malware as well, or you might miss that new threat.
  • Layered Defense – Both normal and advanced malware prevention or antivirus alone is not enough to combat sophisticated threats. An application-layer firewall, an intrusion prevention system, web content and security filters, antispam capabilities, data loss prevention, and more are all layers that can help small business owners survive in today’s environment.

  • Firebox T30 – The WatchGuard Firebox T30 Unified Threat Management (UTM) provides high-performance, enterprise-grade network security to small- and medium-sized businesses. This is the firewall device that Henry Schein TechCentral has tested and installs in most dental practices. The WatchGuard Firebox T30 was given the highest possible rating of 5 stars by both SC Magazine and IT Pro UK in recently published tests, so it is an excellent solution for any dental practice.

3. Response

  • Don't pay – Whatever you do, don’t “give in” and pay the ransom! With proper protections and backups, like those offered by Henry Schein TechCentral, you won’t be tempted to because the Hybrid Backup Service is designed to help recover your practice management software and data quickly.

Learn more about protecting your dental practice and schedule a free network assessment performed by a TechCentral technology professional who will evaluate your networks, servers, firewall and more. Call 844.206.1228 or visit to schedule your assessment today.

[Top photo credit: Air Force Reserve Command]

This article is paid for by Henry Schein TechCentral. Some of the product(s) and/or service(s) described herein are provided by a third party. Henry Schein, Inc. or its affiliates (“HSI”) make no independent assessment of the content and descriptions provided by such third party and this content does not constitute an endorsement by HSI. HSI is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of such third party products or services.

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