While we are a Medisoft reseller, we are also an IT company. So we are in a good position to make recommendations to practices on how to secure their data. In this post, I am going to give you a brief overview to some solid backup strategies that you can use to protect your practice.
The first thing you need to do is stop thinking of backups as a single item. In today’s world, you will need more than one method of backup to ensure that your data is safe. The main method of backup should be an external hard drive. These are inexpensive and can have very large capacities. Your data is written from your server onto this drive. This protects you from hard drive failure in your server. It allows you to quickly restore your data in the event you need it. Also, if set up correctly, you can keep several copies of your Medisoft data to allow you to go back many days.
The second part of your backup strategy should be an off site backup. This can be as simple as having a second external hard drive, swapping the two daily, and taking the other one off site nightly. You can also use off site backup services like Carbonite and Mozy to backup your Medisoft data to their servers. The reason for having an off site backup is to protect you from larger disasters such as your office burning down or having everything stolen. Services such as Mozy and Carbonite shouldn’t be used as a primary backup as they take time to download your data to restore it. In a crisis, you want speed and off site backup services don’t offer that. These are to be used as a final line.
Backups for EMRs are a little different. Due to the amount of data that is being backed up, you will need to use large external drives. We normally use 2 or more 1TB external drives for our sites. This allows us to make multiple backups of both the Medisoft-EMR data on each drive. Also, as more and more of patient data becomes electronic, the more important it becomes to have solid backups.
One last tip. Be sure to monitor your backup. The only thing worse then not backing up, is thinking you did but not having one. Check your backup logs to make sure that there are no errors in your backups. Also, every so often, restore your data using a backup to ensure that the data is valid. The best way to know you have a good backup is to test it.