DMD. Mo Biria has been a client of ours since before we were Advantech, in part 1 we looked at the gaming computer that was put into an operatory bay by his "Computer Guy". In this case study we will look at another painfully common problem, using the office manager's pc as the server.
After Dr. Biria hired us to manage his office's IT needs after replacing his gaming PC used as an operatory workstation (See details in - Case Study: The Dental Operatory) our next task was replacing the computer that ran the software that drove his entire business, Dentrix... which also happened to be the desktop pc he used in his private office.
I would love to say that was a rare setup, but it happens in about 80% of the small businesses that we see.
First, if you are not familiar with a practice management software package there is one thing to know, this software stores and runs everything about a medical practice. Every patient record, billing systems, x-rays, you name it. This means that if the computer fails or is compromised everything is at risk.
That alone is scary enough, but proper backups and disaster recovery plans can mitigate that. A centralized system like this has wonderful benefits, but only when it's on a secure system.
Because it was running on his office pc he ran the risk daily of data compromise from malicious software. Add to that the system was configured to allow the currently logged in user administrative rights and you had a recipe for disaster. This computer surfed the internet, opened every piece of mail he received, installed and uninstalled dozens of software packages a month, even had games on it. All things that are risky.
This, all-to-common setup has the secondary effect of severely reducing performance and up-time because of the day to day activities (web surfing, running multiple additional programs, etc) that happen in the course of a typical day.
This was bad enough, but the system was built as a desktop, not a server. It was like trying to use a pickup truck to win the Indy 500, sure it would get you around the track but... running an entire business this way is simply too risky.
Any computer that is critical to your day-to-day operations needs to be single purpose, especially if you are dealing with highly confidential patient records.
In the end, we installed a proper server that served as the backbone of his practice right up until the day he sold it in late 2015.
Often we find business owners have not been made aware of the risks inherent in their setups and just accept the performance issues they endure every day. This is the core reason a real business-class IT solution is needed, this is why Advantech Business Solutions was created.