Skin Surgery Center

Skin Surgery Center looks to Secure Designs for unblemished outsourced security.


With three busy locations in North Carolina, The Skin Surgery Center takes care of the medical and aesthetic dermatologic needs of thousands of patients every year. Since 2001, The Skin Surgery Center has served as North Carolina's preeminent resource for the treatment of skin diseases. The 50-strong staff of seven physicians plus administrators, histotechnicians, nursing providers and instrument technicians relies on efficient, secure IT systems to ensure the best possible patient care, including protecting the data held on practice systems.


The practice staff at The Skin Surgery Center are fully occupied taking care of patients, and turned to IT consultant Brad Stoddard to assume responsibility for the smooth running of their systems – over 100 servers, desktop and laptop computers. Secure Designs, Inc. of Greensboro, NC, supports Stoddard by providing outsourced, managed security services. “IT security is a full-time job and the learning curve is intense,” says Stoddard. “The security environment changes constantly and it is really tough to keep abreast of developments. I don’t have the bandwidth to cope with that and the mainstream IT, phone and data needs of the Skin Surgery Center. That’s why it’s great to have SDI on board.“


Stoddard says that the managed security option is also a good financial choice since the SDI service is provided at a fixed monthly cost. “Unpredictability is unpleasant when you’re trying to run IT systems,” Stoddard explained. “With the SDI service, we know that every eventuality will be taken care of within our budget.”


SDI has worked with The Skin Surgery Center for more than seven years, providing managed email security and perimeter security systems. The clinic recently upgraded to UTM-capable firewalls, including a SonicWALL PRO Series device at HQ, which Stoddard says has been “phenomenal”. The PRO device handles all traffic from the three locations in Winston Salem, Greensboro and Mount Airy, with a secure VPN connection. The clinic uses VoIP and recently added T1 lines linking all three locations. The center maintains electronic data records, using Panasonic Toughbook laptops for mobile data entry in the patient treatment areas.


Compliance with HIPAA regulations is facilitated by the water-tight security of the SonicWALL firewalls and the granular reporting and monitoring provided by SDI. “We don’t have to worry that our patient data might have been exposed,” commented Stoddard. “SDI monitors the network for any suspicious behavior. I like to review the weekly statistics to see what has been happening on the network. SDI provides me with a very clear, concise summary of attempted attacks, VPN logins, and user behavior – it’s very thorough.”


Larry Cecchini, President and CEO at SDI, commented, “Everyone needs to use the Internet, but it remains a dangerous place. Botnets and malware continue to proliferate, three billion email messages a day are spam, and smaller organizations remain frontline targets for cyber attacks and scams. Our value-add to organizations like the Skin Surgery Center is to detect, repel and monitor Internet threats so that they can stay focused on their core business.”


Stoddard takes care of everything to do with IT from telephones to trouble-shooting. He’s on constant duty for upgrades and patches to the patient management software, testing and undertaking roll-out. His role is a balancing act of avoiding bleeding-edge solutions while also keeping up with current developments.


The relationship with SDI makes life easy for Stoddard and for staff at the center.  Stoddard said, “It is a joy working with SDI, not only when we’re working remotely but also when they are on site. I haven’t had a problem that they haven’t solved – everything just gets done. I never have any doubt that what’s needed will happen. I deal with everything from phones to laptops, and it’s so good to turn IT security completely over to SDI.


“I think SDI’s most important product is peace of mind,” concluded Stoddard.


About The Skin Surgery Center

Since 2001, The Skin Surgery Center has served as North Carolina's preeminent resource for the treatment of skin diseases. Experienced dermatologists provide effective skin cancer treatment and surveillance as well as treatment of dermatitis and other skin conditions plus cosmetic procedures including microdermabrasion, fillers, V-Beam laser and laser hair removal.