Back to Backup Basics of Dental Software

Many dental practices are meticulous in their backup routines, making sure to carry them off-site. Yet they fail to ever check if their backup is functional. Often the problem stems from dental staff not being aware that they need to backup software, not just use a data copy method. This article summarizes an article cited below, and regardless of the reason for failed backups, the authors’ point is:

“Let me jump to my recommendation now:  Proceed on the assumption you have NO backup until proven otherwise.”

Just backing up your server is not sufficient; critical data may not even be getting to your server, so you need to know where data from your various software programs is going. Often it is being saved to the PC rather than the server. Practice Management software may have different backup needs than Quickbooks. Word documents often are unwisely saved to Desktops or My Documents folders. Digital Radiography systems, Invisalign, OrthoCAD, and Geodigm all default save to the local PC unless your IT person has changed it.

Once you are fairly sure you are incorporating all of your data in the backup, test it monthly by restoring some of the data to an alternate location. This allows you to practice data restoration on a regular basis in case you actually need to do it in a crisis. Don’t rely on the backup’s “verify” function.

Finally, have the backup software send a daily status update email to confirm that it is working, and be sure to check that email. This can pick up problems well before the monthly test.

By adopting a few backup best practices, providers and staff members alike will sleep better at night knowing their data is safe.

Lessons Learned:

  • Make sure that data you want to backup is being saved to the server and not the PC.
  • Be certain you have a functional backup by regularly running a test restoration to an alternate location.
  • Have your backup software send you a daily status update email confirmation.

McEvoy, Steve (2012, February 8). But I Thought I Was Backing Up My Stuff! American Association of Orthodontists Committee on Information Technology Tech Talk