National Cybersecurity Strategy: How to Protect Your Dental Practice

Did you know that In 2022, cyberattacks targeting users in NATO countries increased by 300% compared to 2020, according to Google data? The consequences of these threats become evident through economic losses amounting to millions of dollars within the United States. It’s a considerable amount, and all this vulnerability led governments worldwide to create mechanisms and laws to protect their business, companies, and individuals.

In the US, The White House released in March 2023 the new National Cybersecurity Strategy, a comprehensive framework developed to address cybersecurity challenges and protect the nation’s critical information systems, infrastructure, and data from cyber threats. It involves a set of policies, guidelines, and initiatives that the government and companies should follow to ensure a secure digital environment for citizens.

As a dental practice owner, you’re no exception. Given this scenario, it becomes crucial to safeguard your data and information while adhering to the new National Cybersecurity Strategy. In this blog post, we’ll help you understand this law and give you actionable steps you can take to protect your business and stay in compliance with it.

Understanding the National Cybersecurity Strategy:

Recognizing the need for a collective effort in cybersecurity, the US National Security Strategy outlines the necessity to redistribute the responsibility for safeguarding cyberspace from individuals and small businesses to public and private entities. This redistribution aims to foster a robust collaborative approach. The strategy also emphasizes establishing cyber resilience by striking a balance between immediate threat mitigation and encouraging investment in the secure, enduring evolution of the digital ecosystem.

The law is based on five pillars of cybersecurity:

  • Safeguarding critical infrastructure
  • Disrupting and dismantling threat actors
  • Influencing market dynamics to enhance security and resilience
  • Investing in a robust and adaptable future
  • Cultivating international collaborations

Now that you’re aware of this law’s existence, you must be asking yourself: How can I protect my data and information and avoid penalties? Don’t worry; we separated some actions you can take.

Steps to Avoid Cyberthreats & Protect Your Dental Practice:

  1. Risk Assessment: Begin by conducting a thorough assessment of your practice’s digital landscape. Identify potential vulnerabilities and the types of sensitive data you handle.
  2. Cybersecurity Policies: Develop and implement comprehensive cybersecurity policies and procedures. These should cover data access controls, password policies, data encryption, and secure communication practices.
  3. Employee Training: Educate your staff about cybersecurity best practices. Train them to recognize phishing emails, use strong passwords, and handle patient information confidentially.
  4. Data Encryption: Implement encryption for sensitive data, both when it’s stored and transmitted. This adds an extra layer of protection in case of unauthorized access.
  5. Regular Software Updates: Keep all software, including operating systems, antivirus, and practice management systems, up to date with the latest security patches.
  6. Access Control: Limit access to patient records and sensitive data to authorized personnel only. Use role-based access controls to ensure employees have access only to the information relevant to their roles.
  7. Backup and Recovery: Regularly back up your data and maintain multiple copies stored in different locations. This helps in case of data loss due to cyber incidents or hardware failures.
  8. Incident Response Plan: Develop a clear, detailed plan for responding to cybersecurity incidents. This plan should outline steps to take in case of a breach, including notifying patients and authorities if necessary.
  9. Vendor Security: If you work with third-party vendors (e.g., billing services, IT support), ensure they adhere to cybersecurity standards to prevent any vulnerabilities from entering your network.
  10. HIPAA Compliance: Familiarize yourself with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations and ensure your practice complies with them. This includes protecting patient information and providing timely breach notifications.
  11. Physical Security: Protect physical access to your premises and any devices that store patient data. Use locks, security cameras, and access control measures as needed.
  12. Regular Audits: Conduct periodic cybersecurity audits to identify any gaps or vulnerabilities. This helps you stay proactive in your approach to data protection.
  13. Insurance: Consider cyber liability insurance to provide coverage in case of data breaches or cyber incidents.
  14. Documentation: Maintain records of your cybersecurity measures, policies, training efforts, and incident response plans. This documentation can be crucial in demonstrating your commitment to compliance.

Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process. Regularly review and update your practices to ensure you’re effectively protecting patient data and complying with relevant regulations. Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity developments, threats, and best practices. If you find this post helpful, visit our blog for more insights and tips on protecting your dental practice. Navigate here.

About Our Experts

Fazel Mostashari is a dental practice expert whose specialty is financial accounting, tax planning, and practice purchase and set up for the dental industry. For over 10 years, Fazel has been the driving force behind the success of many dental practices.

As a proud husband to a dentist, he understands the unique challenges of running a dental practice. Together, they run a thriving, multi-specialty practice in the sunny city of Woodland Hills, CA.

If you’re looking for expert advice, set up a consultation with Fazel.
Fazel Mostashari: Dental Practice Financial Expert

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