I never had to be concerned about data management before. Why now?
Electronic data management may be relatively new to our industry but as the reliance on the volumes of data stored in office servers continues to increase, the need for sound data management increases right along with it.
Ten to fifteen years ago the average office had 1 to 2 GB of data and most patient records and X-rays were stored in hard copy. Four years ago the average office had roughly 40 to 45 GB of stored data. Today the average office has roughly 70 to 80 GB of data and the annual growth rate has increased to 18 to 20 GB per year.
If managing your practice data wasn’t a high priority before, it definitely needs to be now. According to IT industry reports:
- 1 out of 5 servers will fail within the first 48 months
- 140,000 servers in the U.S. will fail this week
If one of those failed servers were yours, would you be prepared?
Who is responsible for the data management in my office?
This is a question that we frequently hear. Your IT professional’s responsibility is to maintain and repair your computer hardware, not your data. Similarly, your software provider’s responsibility is to maintain and update your software, not your data. The only person responsible for the management of the office data is the owner of the practice.
What does data management entail?
Data management is a broad term that requires the ability to monitor, protect, recover and restore your office data.
Most servers develop problems without advanced notice and suddenly fail. Proper monitoring (24 hours/7 days a week/365 days a year) is needed to help identify issues such as corrupt files, unexplained data growth, backup failure and even issues with Internet speeds. All with the goal of proactively identifying issues before they become major problems.
When asked if the office data is protected the most common answer we hear is, “I run the backup program each night and take the hard drive home with me.” The question remains: is your data protected? With failure rates for removable hard drive based backup systems being so high, it becomes mandatory that the quality of your backup be validated on a regular basis. In addition, it is good practice to maintain at least three valid copies of your data onsite and at least ten copies of your data offsite – all to ensure that when you need it, you will be able to find a good, usable copy of your office data. Also remember that no patient data is to leave your office without being encrypted. Sound data management should validate the quality of the backup daily and ensure that any data sent offsite be highly encrypted.
The time that it takes to recover from a server failure is one of the largest misconceptions we run into. When asked, the most common answer we receive is recovery will take five hours or less. The problem is that the average time to fully recover from a server failure is five days or more. Sound data management should provide full data recovery in minutes, not days.
Have you or anyone in your office ever lost or mistakenly deleted a file? Sound data management should be able to provide file restore for all lost or recently deleted files on your server, all accomplished remotely in a matter of minutes.
Managing your data needs to be an integral part of your office routine. Having a business class dental IT professional and a strong business disaster recovery (BDR) system such as DDS Rescue has become as important as any other part of your business.
For more information on our systems designed for the dental office, please visit us at www.ddsrescue.com.