Reducing New Acquisition Vulnerabilities and Securing Growth: A Use Case for Specialty Healthcare Providers

“Everybody says, ‘We can get the tools in place and monitor it,’” says Scott Dever, Gen4 Dental Partners’ CIO. “But that’s not enough. When an incident is in play, you need a team behind you with the expertise, coordination, and communication to help you respond and build confidence in your program.”

Dever says this was critical when an active and critical ConnectWise exploit affecting one of its 103 dental practices was uncovered by Clearwater’s Managed Security Services team. This team provides 24×7 firewall management, continual threat detection, attack monitoring, and incident response in cloud and on-premise environments for healthcare organizations like Gen4.

Gen4 didn’t see any indicators of compromise and wouldn’t have had visibility to the exploit, but Clearwater’s MSSP services was monitoring their environment and alerted them. Overnight, Clearwater and Gen4 quarantined 15 machines, communicated with practice staff so they knew what to expect the next morning, and had the systems and practice back up remediated and secured the next day.

“It was a nonevent because we knew exactly what was going on and had Clearwater there monitoring our systems after hours,” says Dever.

Fueling Structured Growth, Together

A dental support organization (DSO) operating across 14 states, Gen4 helps dentists and their staff focus more time on patients and care delivery by shouldering the administrative burden of running a dental practice. Experts in business, HR, taxation, marketing, and finance, Gen4 offers its dental partners an entire business task force to amplify what a single dentist can accomplish.

Dever has been with Gen4 since 2022 and brings the young but quickly growing organization leadership and strategy over IT, security, and compliance. Dever says he was already familiar with Clearwater when he came on board, making for a quick and easy partnership decision.

“We didn’t have a security program in place, and I knew we would need a complete solution, from oversight to “in-the-weeds” execution,” Dever said.

Dever says Gen4’s practices were getting reports from 25-30 disparate MSPs, helping their local practices in varying capacities. While wanting to honor existing local relationships, Dever knew the organization needed an overarching strategy and a partner to help them implement a holistic security program, including endpoint detection and response, vulnerability management, enterprise awareness, reporting, accountability, and program oversight and management.

Gen4 subscribed to Clearwater’s ClearAdvantage managed services program to accomplish this. This comprehensive program is designed to help healthcare organizations leverage cybersecurity as a competitive advantage with program leadership, on-demand expertise, employee training, and alignment to regulatory frameworks like NIST CSF, HIPAA, and 405(d) HICP. Customized to its specific needs, Gen4 added MSSP services to its program, including 24/7 managed threat detection and response and vulnerability management.

A Vulnerability Playbook

Dever says Clearwater has helped them develop a playbook for acquisitions, giving them day-one visibility into the vulnerabilities and risks of a newly acquired dental practice.

“Some of these practices are still running Windows 7. Clearwater gives us the visibility to understand what systems are at risk on day one and mitigate those risks while we upgrade hardware and software,” Dever says.

What does this look like in action?

Dever explained that one acquisition included eight practice locations with over 500 vulnerabilities each. With immediate visibility to these vulnerabilities, Gen4 and Clearwater together determined which vulnerabilities posed immediate threats and which to mitigate, transfer, or accept—reducing the overall count by 80%. With Clearwater’s expertise the organization can now focus resources on vulnerabilities that, if exploited, would impact the organization most. Systems are actively monitored for behavioral anomalies, malware, and other threats providing ongoing security coverage.

An Agile Partnership

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” says Dever, “I’ve had a lot of partners, and I don’t think it’s ever been this easy.”

For Devers, the communication and response make Gen4’s partnership with Clearwater stand out above others. From due diligence in acquisitions to cybersecurity insurance applications and their cybersecurity oversight committee, Devers says Clearwater’s industry expertise and support translate to a higher confidence level in their cybersecurity and compliance program. Devers says Clearwater is also filling gaps that most organizations their size can’t: “Companies like Gen4 just don’t have that breadth, they aren’t going to be able to hire than many internal staff and they don’t have access to the number of different clients that Clearwater works with or the learnings they can bring to the table.”

What’s Next

Clinician-focused and patient-obsessed, Gen4 continues to bring its dental partners resources, technology, and expertise to fuel growth, add value, and protect practice autonomy. Clearwater and Gen4 meet regularly to share learnings, refine strategies, and ensure there aren’t gaps in Gen4’s security and compliance program. Key to this refinement is practice-level, year-over-year reporting and analytics to help zero in on opportunities for continuous improvement, moving Gen4 to a more secure, compliant, and resilient state.

Whether you’re looking for vulnerability management or a comprehensive security program to protect your growing specialty provider group, Clearwater can help. Connect with one of our experts to learn more.

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