The importance of cyber security in your dental practice - Barnes Commercial Limited
cyber security in your dental practice

The importance of cyber security in your dental practice

Why might dental practices want cyber protection?

Technology has rapidly developed over the past decade, resulting in a switch to automatic and paperless systems for many businesses. Dental practices are no exception to this, with everything from appointment scheduling to billing being digitalised. This brings welcome benefits, such as making your clinical workflow more efficient and convenient, but it also brings the risk of cyber vulnerability. A cyber incident could have a devastating impact on your business.

Cyber attacks on dental practices, along with other healthcare providers, are much more common than you may think. Many cyber criminals target smaller dental practices because they often lack the resources to invest in IT security tools or provide thorough cyber training to their employees.

cyber security in your dental practice

How can cyber protection help?

Cyber security in your dental practices should be a serious consideration. Your computers, devices and networks hold a wealth of patient data including financial information. These records are often targets for cyber criminals who will attack your business with the intention of identity theft or even corporate blackmail. Without the right training, security software, contingency planning and supporting insurance, your business could be at risk.

Cyber protection can help with:

  • Protecting confidential data from unauthorised access or spam emails
  • Maintaining sensitive data easily and safely
  • Improving patient trust
  • A faster recovery time after a data breach

How can you improve cyber security in your dental practice?

1.    Train your staff

The techniques cyber criminals use are becoming increasingly sophisticated and therefore harder to spot.  One simple way you can protect your dental practice is to ensure your staff are all aware of the risk of a cyber attack. They should be made aware of what to look out for e.g., phishing emails or ‘bogus boss’ scams.*  To support this you could run real-time phishing simulations by sending mock phishing emails to pinpoint areas where additional training is needed. Find out more about email phishing here.

2. Protect your systems

Anti-virus or anti-malware software may not be enough to keep your dental practice protected. According to dataprot, anti-virus software is only 25% successful at detecting malware. While having software in place to detect any issues is highly recommended, having multiple layers of protection is best practice to ensure that your business is as secure as possible. You might want to consider enabling a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the internet, providing a private tunnel for your data and communications while you use public networks. You could also adopt a password manager, which prevents employees from using the same passwords over multiple accounts. A final method you may want to consider is undertaking regular system backups, so that if a virus does infect your system, your organisation’s files and data can be recovered safely and quickly.

3. Multi-Factor Authentication

One of the most important methods to implement is a zero trust IT policy. This is an IT security model that requires identity verification for every person and device trying to access your company’s private network. This might include implementing multi factor authentication methods such as time based one-time passcodes, open authorisation tokens, authenticator apps or biometrics. You should also carry out continuous monitoring and validation of employee identity regardless of whether the attempted log on is from inside the network’s perimeter. Without this validation, any cyber criminal who obtains correct credentials and connects to an organisations network could be undetectable.

4. Having a contingency plan

Regardless of the protection strategies you may have in place, cyber criminals can occasionally surpass these and gain access to your system. In instances like this, it is crucial that your business has a detailed contingency plan. This could include incident response plans, which map out a set of procedures that your business can use to identify, eliminate, and recover from cyber security threats. If carried out effectively, incident response plans can minimise the damage caused from potential attacks, including data breaches, loss of customer trust and any reputational damage to your business. Read our blog on how to create your own Incident Response Plan.

5. Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber Liability Insurance should act as a secondary layer of protection, on top of the various protection strategies you may choose to put in place. This ensures that your business can continue running as smoothly as possible, should an attack occur.

Cyber Liability Insurance can assist you with the financial consequences of:

  • Data recovery
  • Business interruption
  • Legal costs
  • Meeting ransom demands
  • Costs around informing clients of the breach
  • Restoring equipment

We’re here to help

At Barnes Commercial, we work closely with our clients to gain an in-depth understanding of their business, so we can assess the potential risks being faced. This means that our recommended insurance programme will be unique to your business, so if you should fall prey to a cyber related incident, you can be confident that your business will be financially protected.

Arrange an appointment to talk to us today about how we can help you to develop a Cyber Liability Insurance package for your business needs. You can call us on 01480 272727 or send an email to

George Wilkinson

Authored by: George Wilkinson 

Business Development Executive

30th March 2023


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