Curve Dental Official Blog

Rabbits and Hackers: A Cautionary Tale

It’s summer, and for many, that means it’s time to plant a lush garden, filled to the brim with your favorite vegetables. Imagine working hard day after day to plant and tend to your garden only to find rabbits feasting on your crops. You realize the culprit is a big hole in your old fencing. You must quickly choose to either (a) replace the fencing, or (b) let the rabbits continue to devour your vegetables. It seems like a rather simple choice, doesn’t it? If you do not upgrade your fence, you may go hungry soon!

Now, what happens when the rabbits are data hackers, and the vegetables are
your patient records? What happens when the outdated fence is the server where you’re running your dental practice, managing and storing your patient data.

Unfortunately, this scenario could be a reality for 43% of practices like yours that run their business on Windows 7 today. If you’re one of these practices, we’ve got some bad news. Microsoft has announced that it will be pulling the plug on support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, less than 6 months away.

What does that mean and why does it matter? Well, we’re glad you asked.

First of all, yes, your Windows 7 server will still run on January 15th, but there will be a dangerous hole in your fence. Beginning on this date, Microsoft will no longer provide updates or security patches for Windows 7, which opens up your system to attacks by hackers and other bad people who work hard every day to try to access confidential information. All of your business and patient data will be vulnerable to breach, malware, corruption, or deletion. Any of this could shut your practice down.

So, if you’re on Windows 7, what can be done? Here are some measures you should consider immediately in order to protect your practice:

    • Evaluate Your Options: You will need to decide which technology to invest in as an upgrade or replacement for your existing hardware and software. A minimal upgrade may cost less today but you could find yourself in a similar operating system predicament in the 18-24 months. As part of your due diligence, you should evaluate comprehensive cloud-based solutions, like Curve Hero, which virtually eliminates technology hassles like this one and deliver greater features, support, and ROI than traditional server-based systems.

    • Choose the Right Hardware for Your Practice: Whether your plan is server-based or cloud-based, you should look at your desktop computers to ensure they are running on the latest operating system. To cut costs you might consider Google Chromebooks or other comparable Windows-based tablet computers. Or you might want to consider an Apple Mac computer, which generally lasts longer than PCs. (Curve is the only platform that supports both Macs and PCs, including Windows tablets.)

    • Create a Plan: Determine a timeline and set a budget for your plan. Begin evaluating solutions today so that you have time to make an educated decision; and have enough runway to be fully live on a new platform by January 14, 2020.

    • Data Backup: Make sure your patient records and other key business data is safely backed-up before you begin. Some solutions, like Curve Dental, perform data backup and data conversions to your new platform as part of onboarding.

    • Training: Evaluate the cost and time required to get your staff up and running. This is an important consideration when choosing a new platform. Have your staff involved with viewing product demonstrations. Evaluate products based on the complexity vs. intuitiveness of performing all front and back office tasks. Choosing the right platform in this regard will continue to pay dividends to your practice in terms of efficiency, productivity, and the speed of on-boarding new staff.

Hopefully, this has given you some good information to begin your migration away from Windows 7. Of course, Curve believes that a cloud-based solution is hands-down the best choice for any practice. (In fact, we invest 100% of our resources into developing one product and supporting our 25,000 dental professionals). We encourage you to make exploring the cloud part of your decision process and we would welcome the opportunity to help you navigate your options based on the unique nature of your practice.

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