Murphy’s Law says disaster will strike your office

May 1, 2012
Murphy’s Law, which states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” gained prominence in 1949 at Edwards Air Force Base ...

By Andy Jensen

Murphy’s Law, which states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” gained prominence in 1949 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. According to a letter written by Col. John Stapp, he overhead Captain Edward Murphy say, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he will.” He was referring to an unnamed technician on the base who seemed unable to complete his tasks correctly. From that point forward, Col. Stapp told his subordinates to prepare every project with Murphy’s Law in mind, because anything can go wrong.

Bad things do happen, even to good people. Consider, for example, the aftereffects of the most recent earthquakes in California several years ago. Entire practices were destroyed in a few minutes. Hard drives, charts, mirrored hard drives, and software installation disks were lost forever. Of those doctors who wisely kept a backup of their data offsite, statistics show that half of them learned that their backup would not restore or they had been backing up the wrong data for years.

Preparation for disaster is the key. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To prepare for uninterrupted service a practice would need to spend five to 10 times more than the typical practice on equipment, configuration, line and power services, monitoring, and continued maintenance to get the job done correctly with Murphy’s Law in mind. The amount of life energy and financial resources to spend on this problem are somewhat unreasonable for a dentist and his or her team.

Fortunately, there is a solution that provides adequate protection and is financially reasonable and sound — the Cloud provides the overall best business continuity solution. In the event of a disaster the practice can regain access to ALL of its data in a matter of minutes. The cost of using a web-based application, both in terms of dollars and mindshare, is a fraction of what it would be otherwise.

For example, take the experience of Drs. Chung and Aurora of Vancouver, who use a web-based application, Curve Dental, to help them manage their practice. Upon arriving one morning for a new day, Dr. Aurora discovered that all of his computers had been stolen during the night. With patients set to arrive soon, Dr. Aurora called his wife, who brought him his personal laptop from home. Within minutes he had access to the day’s schedule, and he carried on as if it was business as usual.

“It takes time and expertise to reinstall and set up traditional client-server management software,” said Dr. Chung. Theft is not an uncommon disaster for dental practices, and for good reason. Thieves are confident they’ll find computers, servers, networking equipment, and drugs, all of which can be easily sold for a quick profit. Without computers, a dental practice using client-server software would lose at best half a day of production, and cross their fingers for an off-site data backup that will restore correctly. Dr. Chung says that with their software, “All one needs is a computer with an Internet browser.”

Bad things do happen to good people, which is synonymous with Murphy’s Law. To prepare for the worst, practices would be faced with spending unreasonable amounts of energy and resources to keep their data safe and available. Web-based applications offer the overall best business continuity solution for the typical practice. Web-based dental software that has been appropriately architected is inherently more secure and available than client-server software.

Curve Dental has prepared several whitepapers and a real life case study on how web-based dental software can be a lifesaver for practices struck by disaster. Doctors can call (888) 910-4376 to receive these papers or visit

Andy Jensen has nearly 19 years of dental software experience. He is currently a member of the Curve Dental team based in Orem, Utah.

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