By Robert McDermott; President/CEO, iCoreConnect

With Texas dental practices able to reopen Friday, May 1, it’s imperative to reevaluate your IT security protocols, both in the office and when working remotely.

Why? For cybercriminals, business is booming. In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of Homeland security released a warning about increased IT security risks due to the pandemic.

Consider how you’re electronically sharing and storing Protected Health Information (PHI). Here are seven recommendations, straight from our IT security experts, for working securely both in and out of the office.

  1. Go (anti)viral. This might be a no brainer, but you should have a solid antivirus program installed on your computer. Some may be free, but remember you get what you pay for.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication. Often called “2FA,” two-factor authentication means it takes more than a password to access your sensitive data. For example, it requires a linked app that generates a code (such as Google Authenticator or Authy), or sends a text message with a single-use code.
  3. Secure your remote desktop. Windows “Remote Desktop” has a vulnerability in the method to encrypt earlier versions that can allow unauthorized access. Only connect remotely through a secured and encrypted Virtual Private Network (VPN) and/or a trusted high-security provider.
  4. Never recycle passwords. Having a unique password for every service will help protect you from cyber attacks. But don’t try to keep up with all those passwords on a notepad or in your head. Use a password manager to keep track of those strong, unique passwords.
  5. Protect emails, coming and going. Implement filtering to block threats, phishing and viruses before they get to your inbox. You’ll stop the attacks before they use you to spread them. Is the email you’re using truly HIPAA-compliant? If you’re not sure, it likely isn’t.
  6. Patch the cracks before they grow. Proactive security maintenance and health monitoring of your computers is critical. Professional services can assess your system and provide next-steps for better security. Like the mechanic who maintains your car, you need a diagnostics pro to assess whether your IT is at risk and fix problems before hackers exploit them.
  7. Back up! We don’t just mean six feet away. You must always back up your data. It’s required under HIPAA law. We recommend monitored, multi-location back-up systems at off-site data centers.

Cybercriminals are getting more creatively deceptive by the minute. They thrive in high-stress situations. Implement these recommendations now to stop an attack before one happens to you.

If you’d like to learn more about the steps above or have questions about IT security, contact iCoreConnect by calling 888-810-7706 or email iCoreConnect’s cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant solutions can help.