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Articles

The Professional Advisory

  1. Is it Time to Move?
  2. Staging A Dental Practice
  3. The High Cost of Dying
  4. Deal-Busters
  5. Patients - Attract and Retain
  6. Should I Stay or Should I Go?
  7. Is There a Buyer for Every Practice?
  8. Good, Better, Best - The Market has Spoken
  9. Smooth-Sale-ing
  10. Buying Time
  11. Patients, Patience, Patients
  12. A Real Patient
  13. Why Do a Practice Valuation? I'm not Selling
  14. Irrational Exuberance or The New Normal?
  15. Do dental equipment and dental technology affect a practice value?
  16. Finding and Being a Mentor
  17. Bigger is Better
  18. Daves Top Ten List for Buyers (Vendors should read this too!)
  19. How Well Do You Know Your Practice?
  20. Dave
  21. What will happen to dental practice Values in the next 10 years?
  22. Your Premises Lease is an Important Asset
  23. What are Associates Thinking?
  24. There is Life Outside the GTA
  25. When Is the Right Time to Sell My Dental Practice?
  26. Mergers are a Viable Option
  27. Is Your Associate an Asset or a Liability?
  28. Has your Practice Facility Kept Up With Your Billings?
  29. The 100 per cent of Gross Myth
  30. The Past, The Present and The Future
  31. Caveat Emptor
  32. Overpaid Long Term Staff
  33. Selling your Practice in Stages
  34. A Potential Pitfall of Selling Shares
  35. Value in Your Practice Through Balance
  36. Only Trusted Staff Can Defraud You
  37. To Own or Not to Own Practice Real Estate? That is the Question.
  38. Coping With A Large Patient Base
  39. Successful Dental Practice Transitions
  40. Taking Care of Business
  41. The Investing Dentist Phenomenon
  42. Two areas to focus upon that could negatively impact the value of your practice
  43. Organize your Debt in Order to Sell your Practice
  44. Having a Better Team
  45. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale
  46. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 3
  47. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 2
  48. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 1
  49. Advice to My Son or Daughter Graduating from Dental School
  50. Transition - What to Expect
  51. Discussion on Digital X-Rays
  52. Partnerships and Shotguns
  53. Strategic Planning - How to Get Started
  54. Calling All Vendors - Practices have Gone Up in Value
  55. Purchasers: Expect to Pay More for a Practice because of Lower Professional Corporation Tax Rates
  56. Matrimonial Practice Valuations
  57. Purchaser's Guide to Affording a Practice
  58. Location Improvements Throughout Your Career
  59. Small Practice Valuations
  60. Partnerships – The Best and The Worst
  61. Changing Location When the Opportunity Comes Along
  62. Visual Presentation of Your Practice
  63. Presentation of Charts
  64. Your Premises Lease Can Be Your Worst Enemy
  65. How to Select an Appraiser for Your Practice
  66. How Are Your Billing Ratios?
  67. It Pays to Invest in Your Tangible Assets
  68. The Importance of Separate Financial Statements
  69. Five Time Frame Levels to Sell a Practice
  70. 12 Suggestions to Safeguard Computer Data
  71. How to Buy a Visible Practice
  72. Why is there a shortage of good practices today?
  73. The Importance of Equipment in the Purchase of a Practice
  74. The Balanced Practice
  75. Will My Practice Be Saleable in The Future?
  76. Buyer Be Aware
  77. Excess Profit - The Second Key
  78. Patients and Profits are the Keys
  79. Plan Ahead

Volume 10: 12 Suggestions to Safeguard Computer Data

Download the PDF version now!

When we valuate practices, we are continually surprised by the lack of formal procedures surrounding the backup and retention of computer information. Just about all practices backup their computers every night but the similarity ends there. Too often the backup tapes are left in the computer or beside the computer. With up to a year of bookings and tens of thousands of dollars in accounts receivables being stored only on the computer and the tapes beside the computer, there is an unnecessary risk of theft and/or fire that would wipe out all this documentation.

The computer is easy enough to replace but the data is not. The cost could easily reach $100,000 in lost appointments, lost accounts receivable and staff time and effort to rebuild the database if it is even able to be rebuilt. There should be a firm, documented set of instructions on backup procedures which are kept up-to-date. This policy should include a periodic review of the backup medium to ensure that the backup data is actually recorded. We have valued a few practices that have had a crash of the hard drive and the backup tapes were blank. It then took them anywhere from six months to a year to get over the problem.

Computer theft

By far the greatest risk is computer theft. Two practices we valued have had their computers stolen three times. The first time was to take the old computers, which the thieves knew would be replaced by new, state-of-the-art computers which were then stolen a second and third time. This happened even though both practices had alarms installed and armed.

Theft is so quick and easy that the police do not have time to respond. One practice put in an alarm system and iron bars on the windows, despite being located in an area that wasn’t considered high-crime. It’s critical that tapes or other backup media are not available to the thieves. The most current backup data should be stored off sight.

Here are some suggestions to minimize the loss of sensitive patient information:

  1. Formalize the procedures regarding backup that cover the long-term protection of data, including procedures for when staff go on vacation.
  2. Install an alarm system and activate it at night.
  3. Keep the last two backup copies off site at all times.
  4. Burn a new CD daily and keep them off site. This will cost you 50¢/day.
  5. Hire an outside backup service to record your data off site daily.
  6. Use a heavy fireproof vault as an alternative to taking the backup tapes off site.
  7. Use twin hard drives. A second hard drive may minimize the risk of losing data if the first hard drive crashes, but it is of little use in protecting against fire and theft.
  8. Use a zip drive for quicker backups. An off-site copy is still required, though.
  9. Along with alarms, install iron bars on windows, if you have a storefront location, to discourage theft.
  10. Keep the backup medium away from the computer and out of sight.
  11. Replace the backup tapes periodically as they do wear out.
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