3 keys to cyber security: protect, detect and respond

Podcast – Technology experts Bill Dungey, IT Manager at Complete Technology Solutions (CTSIT) and Anthony Horvath, VP of Client Services and Operations at ABELSoft Inc. share real life examples about dealing with cybercrime and the loss of access to valuable data.

Listen to this podcast to hear about current trends in cybercrime and discover what makes you vulnerable to hacking and to malware attacks such as ransomware. In addition, Bill and Anthony discuss some best practices for maintaining privacy and security that will help you protect yourself and/or your business.

Podcast

Blissfully Exempt from Disaster (today, anyway)

Here we are between Canadian and American Thanksgiving festivities. I must say, I am thankful every day to wake up exactly where I do. For many reasons, but mostly right now for the reliability of our weather patterns.

It is heartbreaking to watch the wrath of Mother Nature unfold on the news, seeing homes buried in mudslides or people wading through waist-deep flooded offices. Hurricanes and wild fires, tornados and volcanoes. Homes, businesses, highways and entire communities demolished… it seems to be increasingly frequent and alarmingly closer to home.

When I watch the news coverage of these events, I can’t help but wonder how many dental practices might be affected. I worry about customers who have not yet made the time for official data backup and disaster recovery measures. Like insurance payouts that help rebuild, accurately backed-up data and system files can help turn a potential disaster into a minor inconvenience.

We have a contingency plan in place. Do you?

Ransomware: scarier than ever!

Around this time last year, I posted a blog about a couple of dentists whose practices were endangered by sinister ransomware. I reported that the security company McAfee had charted a 165% year-on-year increase in ransomware attacks.

Clearly, this nasty behaviour has not gone away. On September 29, 2016, OntarioMD issued a bulletin to all physicians using Electronic Medical Records systems to be extra-vigilant about security. They’re seeing an escalating trend in ransomware threats and caution that healthcare professionals in particular are being targeted by cybercriminals.

We passed the warning along to our medical customers and want to also share it with our dental customers. The OntarioMD bulletin contains sound advice about how to deal with such a threat and, more important, steps to take to protect your practice in the first place.

Last year’s post had similar tips. Maintaining current data and system backup files off site is one great way to thwart cybercriminals and limit ghoulish behaviour to one night per year.

Pharming and Phishing and Smishing… what next?

Three words that did not even exist a couple of years ago – at least not spelled like this – are now mainstream threats. They’re right up there with spam and scams, spoofing and spyware, hacking and botnets, malware, viruses, worms, ransomware, Trojan horses and, yes, WiFi eavesdropping.

I’ve already written about some of these types of cybercrime in this space, in particular the ones that have been known to affect small businesses with big sensitivity to database privacy, like dental practices.

But online fraud is everywhere. I used to think that it was only the naive non-digital-savvy individuals who got themselves duped with such schemes. No longer. Hackers and scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. Like the recent spate of official-sounding telephone calls directing taxpayers to a spoofed Canada Revenue Agency website to pay re-assessed taxes – that would make most of us sit up and take notice.

So when I came across the Get Cyber Safe website sponsored by Public Safety Canada, I double-checked to make sure it was legit. The site is part of a national public awareness campaign around Internet security and online protection. It is full of great information and advice, from tips to safely dispose of your tech devices to precautions to take when an employee leaves your company. There’s even a downloadable Get Cyber Safe Guide for Small and Medium Businesses and a self-assessment tool that could be quite handy resources. www.getcybersafe.ca

Even if you don’t have time today to check out this site, at least bookmark it for future reference.

We all need to learn to be skeptical – even if it’s against our nature. We must learn to detect fraud and protect ourselves, our businesses, our patients, our employees and our families from becoming victims of cybercrime.

Ps: I had to look up “smishing”: it is ‘phishing’ for private information using SMS (texting) rather than email.

Data Backup and Recovery Planning

In today’s digital world, the issues of data integrity and data protection impact every practice. It’s crucial to understand your responsibilities and liabilities and to have a contingency plan. Here are some best practices to follow: Data Backup and Recovery Planning

Mother Nature can be brutal

A dramatic wind storm took out the power in most parts of the city. The blackout lasted for several hours. When the staff at an inner city clinic reported for duty the next morning, the power had been restored, but their server would not reboot.

Neither their in-house technical specialist nor the external IT consultant could salvage the computer or the resident data. They immediately purchased a new server and started the install and configuration. “Where’s your data back-up?” they wanted to know. “On the server” was the answer.

Ouch.

A very basic lesson learned the hard way: It doesn’t matter how small your practice is. Your data must be reliably backed up and securely stored off-site. Not only is it good business practice, in most states and provinces, it’s the law.

Talk to your practice management software supplier today. If you’re an ABELDent user, look into our Remote Backup and Disaster Recovery services ASAP. Being prepared is the best defence.