Why As 13 Year Veteran of Dental Information Technology I Prefer Local Removable Media Backups Over Cloud Backups For HIPAA Dental Backups
You’ll notice that I don’t care much for “cloud” backups for dental offices. I thought I should explain why here.
I would suggest external hard drives and here is why I don’t suggest the “cloud” solution.
1. No dental office I have ever been in has a fast enough internet connection between them and their cloud backup to actually do a true full backup each night when they are not practicing. This means they are doing appended backups, which is where the backup only backs up NEW information each night. So lets say you need to do a restoration, and you want to restore data from a week ago. You won’t get an exact copy of the files from a week ago you will get files from previous backups and only files that “changed” a week ago. Personally I don’t like appended backups for dental offices because most offices lack the IT expertise to actually make sure that there are no screw ups in the backup software that is deciding what was changed and what wasn’t.
2. Restore delay-My average office with digital X-Ray has about 50GB to 100GB of data per backup.
I have tested several backup solutions and best average backup speed I have seen when restoring a 2 GB test file was 1,465Kbps. 50 Gigabytes of data is equal to 4e+8 Kilobits, meaning 4 with 8 zeros after it so 400,000,000 Kilobits, so at 1,465 kbps that is 273,037 seconds to transfer your data before we can start to restore your data. That is more than 3 days of transfer time. Now some of these companies say they will overnight you a copy of the data. So in that case only 24 hours before we can start fixing your problem.
An external hard drive with USB 3.0 I can easily transfer at 60 Megabytes per second. It should be done in 833 seconds or about 15 minutes.
3. You can’t see and hold your data. No matter what the BAA or promises made, there really is no way for you to see where and how your data is being stored on the cloud. Many of the biggest cloud data providers have been hacked already because they are such huge honey pots of data. With an external hard drive you can literally look at your files you are backing up. You can buy a 2 Terabyte external hard drives for 100$ and that will likely store 15 different copies of your data. When we do local backup setups we supply the office with a drive for each day of the week and we keep multiple week backups on each because we have plenty of space. Just keep 4 at home, each day bring one to the office plug it in, unplug last nights backup and take it home.
4. Your backup works even if your internet is down or if your backup companies internet is down. Even the biggest most profitable companies can have internet and network problems, they go down and come back up. Also, your internet can go down. Maybe there is a big storm that took out your internet. Now your backup didn’t happen that night so I guess you just have to hope that you don’t need it before your backup can run the next night. Of course now it has twice as much changed data to backup as normal so maybe it doesn’t even finish that night and you don’t have a true backup until the weekend.
All right that is my advice on Backup remember your backup isn’t just about doing what is required by HIPAA in fact that reason is only secondary to the fact that your practice data is the most valuable asset you have. If it was a choice between losing all of your practice data and having your car stolen, trust me the car is always cheaper to replace. Unless it is a Lamborghini and then in most cases it might still be. You can’t see your patience if you can’t schedule them and lost all of their charts and xrays.