Website security is an essential practice you should be doing in your dental office. It’s just as important as patient care! Healthcare websites are some of the most common hacks that occur, and the information in electronic health records are highly valuable to thieves.
This is critical if you’re taking payment information through your website, but it’s important regardless. Your dental practice’s website is a window into your office that some may exploit for their own gain.
Selling confidential information, like social security numbers, email addresses, credit card numbers, and ACH transaction data can be highly lucrative, and isn’t limited to large corporations.
Securing Your Website is Required by HIPAA
Under HIPAA’s Security Rule, websites that electronically transmit patient information are considered “covered entities”. These are required to have a secured website. If a practice doesn’t take the right measures, they could receive a fine of up to $1.1 million.
Installing SSL to Secure Your Practice’s Website
You can sure your website by adding SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This creates a coded connection between a browser and web server, which keeps information secure.
It’s easy to see if your website already has this protection; if there is “https” instead of “http”, then all information is encrypted while traveling from the browser to where your website is hosted.
If you have a WordPress website, then it’s a simple process of installing your SSL certificate. (You can learn more here.) It’s important to note, though, that this isn’t completely fail proof option. SSL won’t be able to stop hackers from targeting the computer or servers directly, which means your computers needs antivirus software.
The hosting service you use should also be able to offer information regarding their security measures so you can ensure your patients’ information is safe.
You’ll need to maintain this certificate, and make sure that you’re updating it as necessary. (It varies by certificate.)
Additional Benefits of Securing Your Practice’s Website
If you’ve taken these steps to secure your dental practice’s website, you’ll help ensure patients’ trust. The lock symbol on browsers alerts them to the security you’ve added, and can impact peace of mind.
Additionally, there is some data that points to Google slightly preferring HTTPS over HTTP, which can help boost SEO value. Now, we don’t recommend making the switch just for the SEO benefit, but it does add value to investing into increasing your website security.
Website security is essential to your practice. Without a secure website, your website’s vulnerabilities could affect both you and your patients, which can be devastating to your business.
Instead, take the time to ensure your website has a SSL certificate, your computers have updated antivirus software, and your hosting company has also taken precautions. Running a dental practice is more than dentistry, and security is a priority!