Is Mac or PC Better for Orthodontic Software Security and Preventing Cyber Attacks?

May 13, 2024
4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Cybersecurity is crucial for orthodontic practices due to reliance on software and the rising threat of cyber attacks.
  • Human error is a significant risk factor for data breaches and highlights the importance of staff training in cybersecurity awareness.
  • Macs offer stronger security features, making them a preferred choice for practices prioritizing security.
  • PCs are more widely used in dental practices due to lower hardware costs but come with increased cybersecurity risks, such as malware vulnerabilities and susceptibility to ransomware attacks.
  • Tops TotalPackage can make it easy and affordable for you to switch to the security of Apple’s Mac computers.  

A Guide to Choosing a Mac or PC for Orthodontic Software Cyber Security

Nowadays, orthodontic practices lean heavily on software for patient management, treatment planning, and overall practice efficiency. Similarly, the risk of cyber threats, such as ransomware attacks and data breaches, is higher than ever. 

Prioritizing security when picking orthodontic software systems is critical. 

News of massive breaches and expensive ransoms, like the Change Healthcare attack, leave many orthodontists questioning the protection their practice management system and hardware provide.

When it comes to protecting patient data and ensuring operational integrity, orthodontic practices face a head-scratching decision: choosing between Mac and PC.

Understanding Orthodontic Software Security and Cybersecurity Threats

Orthodontic practices handle sensitive patient information, including medical records, treatment plans, and financial data. As such, they need strong security measures to protect against cyber threats and to stay compliant with privacy regulations like HIPAA.

The average cost per breached record for orthodontists is $499.

Ransomware attacks, where cybercriminals encrypt data and demand payment for its release, are a considerable risk to orthodontic practices. Attackers target orthodontists, believing they can afford to forfeit hefty sums to get their practice’s data back.  

When a breach occurs, the attack not only compromises patient confidentiality but also disrupts operations and tarnishes the practice’s reputation.

Human error remains a leading cause of data breaches. 

You can pay for the most expensive preventative measures, but one unsuspecting person is all it takes to allow a data breach. The role of human error in data leaks highlights just how important cybersecurity awareness is among staff members. 

Practice managers need to prioritize training and threat awareness to mitigate the risks associated with inattentive and unintentional actions that could compromise security.

Mac vs. PC: The Hardware Security Dilemma

Knowing the pros and cons when choosing between Mac and PC operating systems is important when considering orthodontic software cybersecurity. 

The key factors to consider for each option:


  • Reputation for security: Macs have long been praised for their security features and resistance to malware compared to PCs. The hardware and software ecosystem of macOS and Apple delivers a level of protection against common cyber threats.
  • Less vulnerable to malware: While no system is immune to attacks, Macs historically experience fewer malware infections than PCs, making them an attractive option for practices prioritizing security.
  • Modern aesthetic: It’s no secret that most orthodontic patients love Apple products. The tech giant has a stranglehold on their target audience thanks to its superior design and hardware ecosystem.
  • Integration with Tops orthodontic practice management software: Tops was made for MacOS, ensuring seamless integration and streamlined workflows. Open and use Tops just like you would any other app on your Mac.


  • Widespread use in dental practices: PCs are generally more prevalent in dental practices. The low upfront costs and compatibility with many PMS make PCs appear to be a more accessible option.
  • Technical customization: PCs offer lots of flexibility and customization options for internal hardware and some software, allowing practices to choose their security measures (or forgo them entirely).
  • Compatibility: Many orthodontic software providers offer cloud-based solutions that are primarily compatible (or work better) with PCs.
PCs may be more prone to data breaches due to their wider adoption and compatibility with various software applications. 

PC Hardware Cybersecurity Risks

While PCs may be the option of choice for some providers, when you choose a PC over a Mac for an orthodontic practice, there are several risks and considerations you need to be aware of:

  1. Malware vulnerabilities: Historically, PCs have been more susceptible to malware and viruses than Macs. Orthodontic practices with PCs may face a higher risk of malware infections if proper security measures are not in place.
  1. Ransomware attacks: Ransomware attacks are a bigger risk for PC systems. Orthodontic practices using PCs must be vigilant in executing strong cybersecurity firewalls and safeguards to prevent and reduce the impact of ransomware attacks.
  1. Data breaches: PCs may be more prone to data breaches due to their wider adoption and compatibility with various software applications. Orthodontic practices must prioritize data encryption, access controls, and regular security audits to protect sensitive patient information from unauthorized access.
  1. Human error: Staff accidentally clicking on a bad link or getting fooled by the wrong person requesting information is the number one cause of medical data breaches. PCs require diligent cybersecurity awareness training for staff members to minimize the risk of inadvertently compromising security by clicking on malicious links or downloading infected files.
  1. Complicated customization: PCs offer greater flexibility and customization options compared to Macs, but this also comes with added complexity. Orthodontic practices using PCs must invest time and resources in configuring and managing security settings to meet their specific needs. They’re open to potential cybersecurity risks if they fail to do so.
  1. Dependency on third-party software: Orthodontic practices relying on PCs usually depend on third-party software and IT vendors/consultants for security updates and support. Practices must maintain open communication with vendors and stay alert for security advisories to handle vulnerabilities quickly.

While PCs offer upfront affordability and customization options for orthodontic practices, they also pose inherent security risks that could cost you thousands (or hundreds of thousands) in the long run. 

Practices must carefully evaluate these risks and input comprehensive cybersecurity measures to guard patient data and prevent cyber attacks.

Rather use a Mac? Keep reading to see how much Tops TotalPackage can save you when you choose to outfit your office with Macs and Apple hardware.

Best Practices for Mac-based Orthodontic Software Security

When you choose Mac computers, you gain the protection of Apple’s leading hardware and software ecosystem. But you’ll still want to learn about the best orthodontic software cybersecurity practices to protect your practice’s data. 

Defend your data with Tops orthodontic software with the following:

  • Regular software updates: Ensure all software, including the Tops practice management application, is regularly updated to patch security vulnerabilities.
  • Data encryption: Use encryption techniques to protect sensitive patient information on your computer and during transmission. Worry not — Tops has your back!
  • Employee training: Educate staff members on cybersecurity best practices and protocols to reduce the risk of human error.
  • Vendor communication: Stay in touch with your vendor partners about security updates and restoration of services in case of a breach of their systems.

Choose Tops TotalPackage for Mac-based Orthodontic Cybersecurity

Tops orthodontic software Apple Authorized Reseller

In the realm of orthodontic software and hardware security, the choice between Mac and PC systems depends on several factors, including budget, compatibility, and security priorities. 

While Macs are renowned for rigorous security, PCs remain popular in dental practices due to their lower hardware costs. However, the risk to your practice’s data from ransomware attacks and other threats can be pretty costly. 

But I can’t afford to buy Mac computers and laptops for my office!

Trust us, you can!

Tops TotalPackage lets you finance your Mac haul — just like buying a new cellphone! 

Because Tops is an Apple Authorized Reseller, we can put new Macs at your front desk and chairside and new iPads at check-in. You’ll also get the option to upgrade your hardware every few years.  

Tops run natively on Mac because it was built just for MacOS. No lag time! No crashing!

Feel secure about your choice. Choose Mac + Tops.

Mac vs. PC FAQs

Can staff easily adapt to the Mac hardware platform if they’ve never used one?

Both PC and Mac have learning curves, but the Tops training team will teach you the best way to use your Mac for practice management. They’ll even give you a list of easy-to-use macros that make charting, billing, and scheduling fast.

What are the maintenance and support requirements for each (Mac and PC)? How do they fit within a practice’s budget and resources?

Maintenance and support for PCs can offer more flexibility (since you can change internal parts of a PC if you choose), but that may require additional resources. Macs generally have fewer maintenance needs but may have higher initial costs — unless you choose Tops TotalPackage.

What’s the risk of malware infections, ransomware attacks, and data breaches for PCs and Macs?

Due to their widespread use, PCs are more susceptible to malware, ransomware, and data breaches. Macs have a reputation for better security features and fewer vulnerabilities.

What are the data backup, recovery, and disaster preparedness features for Macs and PCs?

Data backup, recovery, and disaster preparedness procedures may differ between PC and Mac systems. You’ll need to assess each platform’s capabilities and ensure compatibility with your practice’s backup protocols. 

Tops offers cloud-based orthodontic practice data backups and private cloud options.

The entire patient journey in one place

The technology inside your orthodontics practice should work hard for you. Tops’ complete ecosystem gives you the power, speed, and agility to move on to what’s next.

Common Cyber Attacks Threatening Orthodontic Practices. (2021). American Association of Orthodontics Insurance.

Cybersecurity: Why Orthodontic Practices Are an Easy Target For Hackers. (2020). Orthodontic Products.  

Kolen, Dan. (2023). Cybersecurity: Current Best Practices. Ontario Academy of General Dentistry.  

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