Cloud Security Tips for Your Dental Practice


Have you ever heard about ‘the cloud’ and wondered what it was?

It’s simply a way of describing data and applications stored online. There’s so many benefits to using the cloud at your practice. You can work more efficiently, have better business continuity and scale your practice with ease. Cloud data storage is also more secure than storing data physically as there’s less risk of loss or theft, more flexibility and the ability to recover quickly. Your computer can be stolen or corrupted relatively easily, but cloud companies spend millions on systems to keep your data protected and secure .

Another benefit of the cloud is that systems are often able to share data and integrate with each other. This means you can process your information in new and useful ways. For example, cloud accounting software can integrate with cloud dental management software for a seamless back office experience. This means your payments, stock orders and customer and supplier data flows easily between the two systems. You’ll be able to manage your dental practice efficiently, and save time.

Nothing can be perfectly secure on its own, so it is up to you to take precautions to protect your data. Here are some useful tips that will make your data, and your patient’s data, safer in the cloud.

Five ways to make your data more secure

High-profile hacking cases can make people nervous about storing data in the cloud. But in nearly every case, it’s not the cloud that’s the problem,it’s the way it’s being used. So here’s five ways you can make your data more secure.

 1.     Make sure your passwords are secure

People often use passwords that aren’t secure and easy to guess. Common passwords are a person’s pet’s name, their date of birth, or their child’s name spelled backwards. Or sometimes even  combinations that seem clever, but are relatively easy to guess. When it comes to long vs short passwords, short ones can be cracked by brute force. If a computer is given a list of words, it can generate different combinations in order to crack the code. On the plus side, longer passwords are harder to crack, even if they are harder to remember.

So keep your passwords long, as random as possible and unrelated to your personal life. It’s best to use a different password for each cloud application and if you feel you need something more secure, try a passphrase instead. Passphrases are typically about 20 to 30 characters in length and are harder to crack than passwords.

2.     Use multi-factor authentication

In addition to being asked for a username and password to log in, some software solutions offer multi-factor authentication. This is also referred to as two-factor authentication, two-step authentication or two-step verification, depending on its approach. Multi-factor authentication places an additional layer of security on your login. This means in addition to your standard login, you’re required to provide another factor to authenticate your identity. This could be a unique code generated by a separate application, service or device, or something unique to you – like your fingerprint or voice. If your account has been compromised, this reduces the risk of your account being accessed.

3.     Take advantage of login and online activity monitoring

Some cloud applications provide additional information to give you a deeper understanding of the system you’re using. Take advantage of the additional security services they provide as  – every precaution you take will make a difference. For example, some online services display details of when you last logged in to their service. If you notice this is incorrect or that it states a suspicious location, raise it with the appropriate party urgently.

 4.     Be aware of phishing and other hacking methods

Hacking can occur in person, not just via computer. For example, through a phone call: “Hello, it’s Mary from IT Support. We’re upgrading your software but it looks like your password has changed since last time and we can’t get in to do the upgrade. What’s your new password?” This type of hacking attempt is called social engineering.

Another hacking method is phishing and it happens over email, often containing links the hacker wants you to open.

In these cases, it’s not the cloud that’s  the problem, as. the same attacks could occur in-house. In fact, the risk may be even greater in person. It’s important to be vigilant, as the problem often comes down to the way the software is being used.

5.     Train your staff about online safety and good security practices

You wouldn’t let your staff screen patients or take dental x-rays without proper education and training, so the same should apply to their use of computers and software.. Whether your business uses a laptop, desktop or tablet, staff should be trained in data security best practices. They should also be taught how to choose secure passwords and identify phishing scams.

A full data security policy is something every business needs. There are online resources that can help you draft one, and plenty of security companies who can advise you too. Check out this resource by Get Cyber Safe.

This guide has been designed to provide general advice on cloud security. We hope after reading it you feel more comfortable securing your data in the cloud. Please seek professional advice if you have concerns about the security of your data (in the cloud or otherwise).

Disclaimer: Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.