How Safe Is Your Data?

With increasing frequency, businesses across the globe find themselves having to announce they have been victims of a cyber attack that has put hundreds, if not thousands of customer records at risk. Some of the biggest retailers such as Target and T.J. Maxx have suffered damaging data breaches, as well as well-respected financial institutions.

But did you know that 70 percent of data breaches target small businesses? Did you know that the average small business breach costs about $300,000.*

So, yes, this means your practice is at risk, and if you suffer a breach it will be expensive. Even though you might not think you have information that would be useful, your patient data is valuable. If a hacker gets a name and address, they can open credit accounts and commit fraud. They can attempt to find their bank accounts to drain. Or more frighteningly, they can take the data they have pulled from your system and sell it to people who will use the information in ways that we cannot even imagine.

While there is no surefire way to protect your data from a breach, there are several steps you can take to protect your data.

  • Passwords. Despite years of education from the IT and data industries the No. 1 password remains "password." And the No. 2 password?12345. Don’t laugh because someone you know is using either one of these passwords. While many people will complain they can’t remember all the passwords they have to set up, there are simple ways you can remember. Take an easy word that you can remember. Make one letter a capital and add a number. So, take something like the word bread and make it bRead17. Then, as you use it for different accounts alter the password with the first letter of the website. For example, for your Google password you might use bRead17g. 
  • Update your firewall frequently. Cyber attackers are sophisticated, so if you haven’t updated your firewall in a year or more, they can easily sidestep this protective measure. Why? Because the firewall lacks the capacity to identify and block the suspicious traffic that includes viruses and malware recently developed.
  • Don’t open suspicious email, particularly with attachments. For that matter, don’t follow links to website that you are not familiar with – even on Facebook.  Hackers are willing to wait, and those links may be loading malware that is collecting information without notice. 
  • Password protect your wifi – even the “public” wifi in your lobby. This will slow down or prevent access to your network.

Cyber attacks are a reality for every business, but you can limit your risk with a few simple steps. This means you are protecting your assets – your patients and isn’t that worth the effort?

And, because cyber attacks frequently target smaller businesses, having insurance in place can help reduce the financial loss if your data is compromised. Talk to one of our agents today to find out how insurance can benefit your practice.

* According to Verizon Communication's Data Breach Investigations Report.

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