I have a new patient who told be at her first antenatal visit that she works in cyber security. Cyber security is of increasing importance.  Cyber security protects an organisation and its employees and assets against cyber threats.

I told her that my computer system had been hacked several months ago. The hacker locked all my data and advised me by a message on the computer screen that I would not be able to access my data unless I paid the hacker money. Because of my data backup system there was no major problem and no money was paid.

I have a contract with a very good IT support company who have arranged suitable data backup. I contacted this IT company immediately. They wiped all the infected data from my computer network. Once they were satisfied it was no longer there they then loaded the data from the previous day.

So, all I lost was 1 day’s data. No patient information was compromised.

We have backup on the computer network, on remote hard drives and cloud storage. The remote hard drives are rotated daily so each day’s backup goes only a different hard drive.

Recently my secretary contacted a colleague’s secretary because we had not received feedback about patient I had referred to him. His medical expertise was in the area of this gynaecology patient’s problem. His secretary told my secretary their computer system had been hacked and they had lost many months of patient data. When my secretary told me I thought to myself he did not have a good secure backup system.

These days cyber-attacks are increasingly common. I consider it a duty of care to make sure all your data is secure. As a doctor I don’t have the IT expertise to do this by myself. The support of the IT support company I use, while being expensive, is well worth it.

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