Technology has become part of our daily lives, with people now relying on the internet for more than just finding information online. To some degree, everyone is relying on the internet for their day-to-day communication, transactions, payments and data access.
However, there is a part of our digital lives that goes ignored by almost everyone, including veterinary practices, safety and security. As practitioners, we are increasingly connecting more devices to the internet, creating more accounts and profiles than ever before on various software and apps which, not only is improving our online presence but also increasing the chances of our digital lives being compromised.
Online presence for veterinary practices
Practice owners do not have to consciously take action for their practice to have an online presence. Services such as Google Maps, review sites and social media platforms have given way for people to generate content related to business establishments without the involvement of the business. In fact, there is a 90 percent chance of a veterinary practice having an online presence even without the involvement of a practice owner.
To gain control of their online presence, practice owners are now investing heavily in three aspects of their digital presence; Cloud services, email services and social media platforms.
Cloud services have become popular in recent years, and practice owners have been investing heavily to get products and services online.
Some of the products and services cloud services are being used include data storage, backups, veterinary websites, practice management systems, and day-to-day software that are used in many practices. Networking services using cloud servers are also becoming increasingly popular with veterinary practice owners.
Many practice owners are also tapping into email services as a form of communication. With nearly 76 percent of adults in the US having an active email, email services have become an important tool for clients and veterinary practitioners to keep in touch.
Many veterinary practices now have an email service that their clients can use to contact them. They also have mailing lists for all their clients which they use to communicate important information.
Social media platform
Veterinary practices are also increasingly creating social media profiles to interact with their clients and as a front for their public relations.
Social media usage in the US has also grown, and it is estimated that at least 79 percent of the US population has a social media profile. Practice owners are tapping into this vast pool of potential clients, increasing their online presence.
Threats faced by veterinary practices online
Having an online presence is not a smooth sail for practice owners. It creates an avenue for many malicious actors to gain access to your data and accounts that can be used to compromise your security. Some of the threats that veterinary practices face by having an online presence includes:
Ransomware: The use of malware has become a popular form of attack, and practice owners are forced to pay hackers when compromised to have their data, websites and social media accounts back. In cases where practice owners fail to pay the amount, sensitive information of their practice, including clients’ personal information is either deleted or released online for everyone to see.
Viruses: Releasing viruses on cloud servers has also become a popular way to attack practice owners with an online presence.
Phishing: This involves receiving emails that purport to be from authentic sources, and which ask for personal information such as login data. Victims who fall for such tricks get their accounts hacked and their personal data compromised. This method mostly targets email accounts and social media accounts, but can also be used to compromise cloud servers.
Social engineering: Malicious actors are also able to use trust, urgency, or even scare tactics to trick practice owners into giving them sensitive information which they use to compromise networks, emails and social media accounts.
Online security tips for practice owners
Accounts being compromised can pose legal and financial challenges to practice owners and veterinary practices. To avoid this, practice owners need to implement a multi pronged protection approach to protect their data. Here are some of the tips that are effective in protecting veterinary practices’ online presence.
Investing in private networks will ensure that your cloud services are inaccessible by unauthorized actors. It also helps in keeping unauthorized internet users from sensitive information.
2) Backing up data
Backing up your data is also a safe way of protecting your data. Losing data to ransomware can be devastating. However, if you have backed up your data, you can easily get your website or internet services up and running again without meeting hackers’ demands. It also instills confidence in your clients that you are able to protect their sensitive data.
The Lucca Data vault can help reduce the downtime required to recover data from your backups. From 7 to 10 days down to just minutes!
3) Strong passwords
Safekeeping passwords and ensuring that they are strong enough to be broken is also a great way of ensuring your online safety. You should also avoid using the same password on multiple accounts.
4) Using privacy settings while browsing
Using privacy settings on your browser while accessing the internet also prevents malware sites from harvesting data from you. This includes your location and IP addresses. Knowing how to safely access your accounts and safe browsing also prevents malicious actors from accessing your accounts.
You can also look to increase your online browsing protection by leveraging browsers like The Brave Browser. Which masks your browsers fingerprint that is used to track you online.You can check out our list of our top 3 web browsers here.
5) Antivirus and anti malware software
Having antivirus and anti-malware software on your servers helps to ensure that it is not compromised and data stolen, encrypted, or deleted.
You can simply this process by deploying Lucca’s Veterinary specific cyber security suite for as little as $30 a month!
6) Using safe internet connections
Ensure you use safe internet connections to access your accounts always. Wi-Fi networks are prone to attacks, and research has shown that hackers use public Wi-Fi to access valuable information from their victims. This includes accounts, cloud services and any banking information that you may be accessed online.
Need help implementing these tools?
If all this seems a little bit overwhelming to implement yourself. Let Lucca take away that burden for you. Schedule your FREE consultation call with our Director of Veterinary Data Security, Clint Latham. Schedule your FREE call Now!