Dr. Lorne Lavine
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Those of you who have followed my articles and webinars over the years know that I take data backup and practice continuity very seriously. Over the past decade, I’ve dealt with hundreds of practices that have experienced data loss nightmares. Many of those happen over a short period of time.
For example, take Hurricane Irene on the East Coast a few weeks ago. According to some experts, Irene caused more than $15 billion in damage to property. But as any dental practice knows, damage to property is just one piece of the puzzle; it’s the lost business that can really have long-term effects on a practice. Many of our clients on the East Coast had to cancel appointments, suffered damage to their computer systems, and in a couple of cases, lost their patient data as well.
The challenge for many practices is that while we hope that data backup and practice continuity are built into the practice management software, in most cases it is not, so it is up to you or your IT company to develop it. It’s for reasons like this that I have become such a fan of the cloud over the last few years, and specifically cloud-based dental software such as Curve Dental. Let’s explore why this may be a great solution for many practices.
First and foremost, data backup of your critical practice management data becomes a nonfactor, since none of the data is stored locally on your computers; it’s stored on their server in the cloud, and in almost all cases, there are multiple copies of those servers ... so basically, backups of your backups.
Secondly, without having to deal with the hassles of setting up and maintaining and verifying your daily backup, you now have fewer hassles to deal with on a daily basis, something we can all appreciate.
Of course, you also have cost savings — whether you are still using tape, external hard drives, NAS devices, or dedicated online backup systems, there would no longer be any expenses related to this.
Finally, you can sleep well at night knowing that not only is your backup completed, but you’ve also backed up the right files. Many offices will have great backups ... of the wrong files, which leads to nasty surprises the day that data must be restored.
Speaking of restoring, that’s where cloud-based solutions such as Curve can make your life much easier. In essence, there really is nothing to restore with a cloud-based solution since you never lose the data. As long as you have a computer and an Internet connection, you’re able to log into your software and function just as if there was never any disaster.
Any of you who have had to restore from a disaster know how time consuming this can be — once you get a new server in there, you must reinstall all the programs, then the data you backed up, then reconfigure the network, shares, and more; it’s often a multiday process. But it’s not with the cloud.
While we can talk in theories all we want, let’s use a real-world Curve case to illustrate this. We talk about natural disasters as something we need to plan for, but the truth is that there are more common occurrences that can be equally devastating. Dr. Saljae Aurora of Vancouver showed up at his office one recent morning and discovered that all of his computers had been stolen.
To make matters worse, he had a full day of patients scheduled with the first one due in 30 minutes. For practices with even a great practice continuity system in place, it still would have translated into at least a half day of downtime.
Not for Dr. Aurora. He called his wife at home and she drove over one of their personal laptops. Within minutes, he was connected to the Internet and was able to access his entire patient schedule and all patient records.
During the day, he was able to function normally while working with his local IT company to purchase and install new computers. While he suffered the loss of his hardware, he had zero loss of patient data and zero downtime and no loss of production.
So, for dentists who are worried about data backup and practice continuity, Curve offers a great solution. You are protected against theft, fire, flood, and other natural disasters, and you have a worry-free, no-extra-cost practice continuity plan already set up for you.
Lorne Lavine, DMD, practiced periodontics and implant dentistry for more than 10 years. He is an A+ certified computer technician, as well as Network+ certified. He is the president of Dental Technology Consultants, a company that assists dentists in all phases of technology integration in the dental practice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (866) 204-3398. Visit his website at www.thedigitaldentist.com.