10 Reasons Backing up Data in a Dental Office Is Important

Picture this scenario: a member of your front office staff receives an email from a familiar contact – a vendor your practice uses to order business cards. She opens the email and downloads an attachment that looks like it could be an invoice. Moments later you’re locked out of your practice management software. You have a patient in the chair and you can’t access his personal health information.

Yikes! Your practice has been the victim of a phishing scam and malware attack. Do you have an offsite backup you can use to restore your important data?

If you’re like most dental offices, the answer is probably no. 9 out of 10 dental practices don’t back up their data properly. They use unreliable media like CDs or DVDs, they don’t check to see if their backups are working properly, or they fail to back up all of the files necessary to restore their systems in the event of a disaster. Here are 10 reasons backing up your data is critically important.

HIPAA requirements

If you keep electronic health records, HIPAA requires you to perform frequent backups and have a disaster recovery program in place that allows you to restore exact copies of your patients’ protected health information. Penalties for HIPAA violations can be severe with multi-million dollar fines possible.

Taxes and auditing

Having a reliable data backup is crucial if the IRS wants to take a closer peek at your business down the road. If for any reason your practice is audited, you might be asked to show invoices and notes that prove your claims. Having a copy of your practice files stored safely offsite will ensure you’re not scrambling at the last minute to get everything organized.

Natural disasters

What would happen if a tornado, fire, flood, or hurricane wiped out your practice? These tragedies are unavoidable, but you’ll still be on the hook with HIPAA if you don’t have a secure backup of your patient data. Having backups you can rely on will save time and money in the event of a natural disaster.

Avoid downtime

When you suffer a data loss, whether it’s due to a flood or malware attack, it could take your practice days or even weeks to re-install computer software and upload patient and practice information. Comparatively, restoring your system from backups takes a matter of hours, saving your practice time and money.

Human error

Everyone makes mistakes – even the receptionist who has demonstrated flawless work performance for the past five years. Having a copy of your data stored in a secure location will protect your practice in case someone accidentally loses or deletes important files.

Competitive advantage

You might wonder what backing up your data could have to do with your competitors, but consider this. An unexpected and massive power outage in your town affects a number of businesses and wipes out their data. The first dental practice to get up and running will inevitably end up seeing patients from other offices.

Peace of mind

As the owner of a dental practice, you have enough things on your mind. Why worry about whether your patients’ health information is safe? Backing up your data removes any ounce of doubt that your practice and your patients will be protected in a disaster.


The last person to leave your practice forgot to lock the door. You arrive the following morning to see that your office computers and iPads have been stolen – along with all of the health records on them. While you’ll have to replace the hardware, having a data backup will save you the agony of manually restoring your system.


In our opening scenario, your front office staffer opened a malicious email and attachment that infected your network. Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that threatens to block access to your important data until a ransom is paid. Restoring a backup is much easier (and more affordable) than paying the cyberthieves to retrieve the only copy of your practice files.

Your business depends on it

The statistics are grim. 60 percent of small businesses that suffer a data loss will shut down within six months. These are not odds you want stacked against you. Backing up your important files will not only save you time and money, it could save your entire practice.

Don’t leave it to chance – back up your data today (and every day)

There are many reasons your dental practice could suffer a data loss. Human error, a tornado, or a cyberattack could wipe out your files in a matter of seconds. By backing up your data, you’re investing in your patients’ safety and the future of your business.

At Darby TechForce, we take data backup and disaster recovery seriously. In fact, we even built own HIPAA compliant backup service specifically designed for dental practices. With DataSafe, your office’s most important files are safely stored in the cloud where they’re monitored 24/7. If something looks off, we fix it before there’s an issue. That way, you always have access to the data you need to keep your practice running smoothly.

For more information on backing up data in your dental practice, check out our whitepaper: The Importance of Backing Up Data in a Dental Office.