Did you know that 40% of small and medium enterprises don’t backup their data? And when they do, 40-50% of backups are not recoverable? Unfortunately, small veterinary clinics are just as vulnerable to cyber security threats as any other business.
Relying on electronic data and technology means there is potential access to:
- Credit card information
- Banking information
Having all of your data in one place carries risk. Backing up your database is key to ensuring that files and data in your practice are secure and easily recoverable.
Several key elements minimize the chances of losing valuable information permanently:
- Offsite and onsite backups
- Data storage in two separate places
- Automatic, scheduled backups
It can be easy to overlook the risk of your data being compromised, especially if you consider your practice a smaller business with little to lose. However, compromises to your practice data and client records can cause financial loss no matter how large your business. Your ability to recover your data quickly and easily depends on the steps you take to prepare for such occurrences.
What could compromise your data and what should you do to secure your practice? We’ve listed common causes of data loss below and how to neutralize the risks.
Security from cyber threats
Client and patient data is an important asset to your practice and reliable antivirus software only scratches the surface of protecting your practice from cyber-attacks. Malware, spyware, and ransomware are common attacks that could happen to your business at any time. These attacks vary in severity; however, they all have the ability to compromise your veterinary practice data.
Knowledge is powerful in preventing these attacks. We’ve outlined the most common types below.
Malware is spam hidden in documents or inside compressed (zipped) files attached to emails. When these attachments are opened, the malware burrows into your computer, often creating an email which is then forwarded to your entire contact list, spreading the malware.
Spyware is software that tracks personal or sensitive information or displays advertisements (adware). This impacts the systems in your practice by collecting personal information, pushing additional advertisements, and potentially changing the configuration of your practice computers.
Ransomware is a serious attack that prevents you from running your computers and brings your network to a grinding halt. Often, hackers encrypt your files (such as patient data, documents, spreadsheets, and images) and request payment in exchange for a key to unlock encrypted files.
Resilience from natural disasters
While the chances of a severe earthquake, hurricane or flood affecting your practice are unlikely, the damage they could inflict is extremely high. It could take weeks or months before you could re-enter your practice – during which you are without business-critical client data. Data backup is a secure way to protect your data from natural disasters and ensure it can easily be recovered from offsite backups.
Overcoming human error
Human error is a leading cause of data loss. Accidents happen and we all make mistakes at times. In fact, even simple errors such as deleting, misplacing or overwriting important files can cause significant data loss.
Prevention measures include having clear data policies in place. However, data backups are the most reliable way to ensure you can recover your practice’s data.
Computer and system failure
Computer crashes are unpredictable events that can cause data loss in your practice. Data loss risks are higher if you:
- Run older systems and outdated software
- Store data locally
- Don’t upload to a server or online location
Data backups make data recovery much easier if this ever happens to your practice.