You may be considering or already offering Wi-Fi as a courtesy to your patients. That’s a great idea. Many of them want to be virtually connected wherever they go, so give them what they want.
Your practice likely has Internet connectivity — maybe even Wi-Fi—so why not add a guest network? Consider these benefits:
- Show patients you value their time by helping them stay productive while they wait.
- Reduce magazine subscriptions and clutter in your waiting room.
- Create goodwill for prospective customers, especially friends or relatives waiting for patients.
- Gain a competitive advantage over other practices.
Security is Key
There are many benefits to providing a Wi-Fi hotspot, but the downside is network security attacks. Dental organizations must develop a secure wireless strategy to help minimize the risk of hackers stealing their patients’ valuable data.
A hacker can use what is known as a man-in-the-middle attack to intercept keystrokes and capture passwords and other valuable data when people use Wi-Fi. The hacker sets up an access point that mimics a legitimate network connection name and tricks a device into joining their network. At that point, the Internet is basically routed through the attacker who can silently intercept personal data without the user knowing.
Dental practices and other small businesses are hot targets because they may have inadequate cyber security protection. Last year, nearly 50% of small businesses were impacted by cyber attacks, with an average cost to the business of more than $20,000 in loss of service and/or stolen credit card or bank account information1.
Installing Wi-Fi in your practice comes with responsibility to your patients. It’s critical to properly configure your router to help safeguard your practice and patients, and to increase the likelihood of keeping inappropriate websites and malware out. When deploying, upgrading, or managing visitors’ Wi-Fi access, follow these guidelines:
1. Be sure your hotspot has integrated Wi-Fi security capabilities and services. Services include:
- Anti-virus protection
- Intrusion prevention
- Application control and web content filtering
2. Segment your networks so your guest Wi-Fi network is a separate network for customers.
3. Include a disclaimer, and require a password to log on to your network. If your reception staff provides the password to patients, you can reduce the risk of the wrong people using your network.
4. Consult with TechCentral for IT recommendations and solutions to help protect your practice data and computer systems.
Providing Wi-Fi access can help your practice attract customers and build goodwill, but it can also cost you thousands of dollars and valuable staff productivity if it compromises your computer systems and data. By thinking ahead and making protection a priority, you can give your patients a perk they appreciate while minimizing cyber risks for yourself and your patient data.
About the Author: Ryan Orsi is Director of Product Management at WatchGuard, a global leader in network security, providing products and services to more than 75,000 customers worldwide. Ryan leads the Secure Wi-Fi solutions and technology partner ecosystem for WatchGuard. He has experience bringing disruptive wireless products to the WLAN, IoT, medical, and consumer wearable markets. As VP Business Development in the RF component industry, he led sales and business development teams worldwide to success in direct and channel environments. He holds MBA and Electrical Engineering Degrees and is a named inventor on 19 patents and applications.