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    How to design a custom security system for your dental practice

    A rise in crime within the dental practice world, and the importance of following HIPAA mandates, makes this article a must-read

    Customization is key when it comes to security systems. If a security vendor offers a plan without conducting a comprehensive walk-through of every room of your dental practice, show him or her the door.

    Yes, every business needs a security system, but no two have the same requirements, even within the same field. Jewelers are concerned about their valuable inventory. Banks have cash vaults and safe deposit boxes to worry about, but dental practices answer to a higher authority: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which mandates the protection of patients’ medical information.

    Physical security and data breaches

    Although you can follow all the mandated HIPAA standards, leaving one small crack in your office's physical security can open the door for a cyber security breach. According to the California Attorney General's “2016 California Data Breach Report,” half of the data breaches in health care settings, including dental practices, stem from physical breaches in which computers are stolen. It is significant to note that this is true only in the health care world. While data breaches are rampant in other industries, such as retail and finance, only 17 percent involve physical removal of the device storing the data.

    With this in mind, it is wise to consider the recommendations put forth by one of the report’s contributors:

    Use metal cables to lock computers and storage devices to heavy furniture.

    Use metal plates to bolt them to underlying surfaces.

    Keep computers containing sensitive data in cages or lock boxes.

    RELATED: Dental practices targeted by cyber ransom attacks

    Consider the special needs of a dentist's office

    Before calling any security company representatives, make a list of areas that require extra protection. If you use nitrous oxide, the tanks can attract thieves in search of a recreational high, as can the more obvious — painkillers and needles in your inventory. Therefore, all storage and treatment rooms will need special attention, as will your reception area and back office where your computer and electronic medical records are stored.

    Security wish list

    There are some pretty amazing security systems available, if your budget permits. Some comprehensive systems control lighting as well as manage heat, air conditioning, and ventilation. Plus, they can be programmed to power down office equipment according to your schedule. Some even monitor equipment access.

    Thanks to advances in technology, you now have many new and exciting options when it comes to fitting cabinets and files with electronic keyless locks. Access can be limited to authorized staff, each with his or her unique means of identity verification, be it password, RFID or magnetic strip device, fingerprint, or even new biometric identification technology such as retinal scanning. These systems also connect to your computer network and record the date, time of entry, and length of time the lock was disengaged.

    Read more on page two...

    Wes Wernette
    Wes Wernette works as a marketing manager at FireKing Security Group in New Albany, Ind. The company specializes in products and ...


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