As a dental professional, you understand the importance of protecting your patients' sensitive, confidential information. But what about your own practice's confidential information? Whether it is patient records or financial data, keeping your practice's information secure is essential to maintaining a successful business. That is why it is important to have strong password security measures in place.
Though you may feel like you and your staff have the password situation under control, there are always steps that can be taken to make passwords even stronger. Here are some best practices for creating masterful passwords that will help you keep your dental practice's information safe and secure.
Use a Different Password for Each Account
We live in a tech-driven world and data security is of the utmost importance. One fantastic way to help protect your data is by using a different password for each account. According to a 2019 Google study in conjunction with Harris Poll, sixty-six percent of people admit to using the same password across multiple accounts. This action makes accounts vulnerable and more susceptible to cybercrimes.
Setting different passwords for each login ensures data safety as it makes it difficult for hackers to guess many of your logins at once. Staying cyber-secure becomes easier when you use a different password for each account!
Create Strong Passwords
Creating long, secure passwords is essential for safeguarding your dental practice from attacks. Ideally, passwords should include a random mix of letters (upper and lower-case), numbers, and symbols. The longer the password, the more secure it becomes - so strive for at least 8 characters when crafting your passcode. Every additional character added to your password makes it much more difficult to crack. The Scientific American article on The Mathematics of (Hacking) Passwords states that a 12-character password with upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols has around 19,408,409,961,765,342,806,016 possibilities. Therefore, if it takes a computer one second to crack a six-character password, it will take approximately two million more years to crack a 12-character password.
Thankfully, most applications or systems will inform you if your chosen password does not meet the necessary standards. Additionally, it is important to regularly change passwords; not only to keep up with technological changes but also to make sure there are no security loopholes in previously used passcodes. Doing this will ensure you are keeping your network safe and not allowing hackers to gain access to your dental practice's sensitive information.
Avoid Using Easily Guessed Passwords
If you have ever filled out an online form that required a password, chances are you wanted to get through the process quickly and thought it would be easy to remember a simple password like your birthdate or "password". However, this type of information is easy for hackers to acquire or guess as well. This especially holds true as hackers have access to this information via digital profiles such as company websites, social media, and other sources. It is just one of the several password cracking techniques that hackers use.
As mentioned before, to keep your data safe and secure, consider opting for a longer password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols such as the following examples:
These passwords contain a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Additionally, they are over 8 characters long and mimic memorable phrases, making them difficult to guess or crack.
Secure Your Passwords Appropriately
Taking the proper precautions for keeping your passwords safe is critical for avoiding data breaches, identity theft, and other cyber-related crimes. It only takes a few seconds of carelessness to have someone gain access to sensitive information such as credit card numbers, home addresses, bank accounts, social security numbers, etc.
Writing down your passwords and storing them in an insecure location is a recipe for disaster and can put your dental practice at risk of major financial losses. Those sticky notes you have attached to your computer monitor – bad idea! Instead, consider using a password manager like Bitwarden, 1Password, and Dashlane that can help manage all your passwords while ensuring they are secure. With programs like these, no longer do you have to worry about forgetting passwords or leaving them written down somewhere
Alternatively, two-factor authentication services like Google Authenticator can provide another elevated level of security without compromising convenience. Protecting your dental practice is quite simple when done right - just remember to remain mindful of where your passwords are stored!
Change Your Password Regularly
As a dental care professional, you must prioritize the security of your practice and patient information. One simple step that is often overlooked is regularly changing passwords. Gaining access to dental accounts can give attackers personal information, therefore it is important to change passwords every three months and use unique combinations with symbols and letters for each dental practice account. It pays to be proactive in protecting sensitive information - taking the time to update passwords can be an easy and effective way to secure dental records.
* Quick tip: set a reoccurring appointment on your staff calendars to update passwords every three months.
Creating strong passwords is an extremely important practice for data security. A credible data security strategy should include changing passwords regularly and adding additional layers of authentication through authorization protocols or anti-hacking systems. With stronger passwords and data protection measures, it is possible to secure data across all platforms even if hackers attempt to break digital defenses. So take a few minutes to update your passwords today and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your dental practice is better protected.
As a growing dental practice, you may have difficulties finding the time, or the resources required to stay on top of cybersecurity. Fortunately, you can leverage Pact-One’s cybersecurity solutions to keep your practice safe from cyber threats. To learn more about what we can do for your practice, connect with one of our Client Success Managers today.