Acquiring a new senior living community is a big deal! Among the seemingly endless details involved in a smooth ownership transition is making sure your community’s information technology (IT) makes it through the handover without a hitch.
In a previous post, so in this article we’ll focus on some of the best practices for software and cybersecurity that RSN Technologies relies on for seamless and successful transitions.
7 Best Practices for Handling Software and Cybersecurity in Senior Living Acquisitions
1. Take Stock of What’s There
One of the first hurdles to overcome is integrating existing software systems. The acquired facility may have been using different software platforms and applications, with different vendor agreements. It can be challenging to streamline processes and data management across the organization.
We begin by evaluating the compatibility of these systems and identify updates or replacements. What fits? What stays? What goes? Failure to answer these questions from the start will result in inefficiencies, data inconsistencies, and even communication breakdowns among staff members.
2. Make a List and Check It Twice
When you’re evaluating the software your community relies on, one practice we encourage is a parallel checklist. Your IT team makes a technical checklist (what the software product is, how it fits with other products and with the hardware and infrastructure). An administrator such as your community’s Executive Director makes a practical checklist (what each piece of software does—its function in the community and in the business).
It may sound like extra work to reconcile these two lists, but we’ve found it to be worth the effort to keep everything running smoothly!
3. No Better Time to Update & Upgrade
In our experience, the transition to new ownership is often an ideal time to update and upgrade a senior living community’s IT systems. Just make sure that you plan this into the budget ahead of time!
4. Keep It Secure
Cybersecurity becomes more important than ever during acquisitions. Your new facility may have varying levels of IT security protocols in place, leaving the organization vulnerable to cyber threats.
RSN Technologies can help you conduct a cybersecurity assessment to identify potential weaknesses and devise strategies to mitigate them. This might involve implementing firewalls, encrypted communication channels, and strong password policies, as well as educating staff about best practices in cybersecurity.
5. Good Governance Matters
If you haven’t already, this is the time for your community to develop comprehensive IT governance guidelines that encompass data handling, access controls, and technology usage. Don’t leave any room for confusion about how to manage your technology resources. Establish clear policies for effective IT management and compliance with industry regulations and standards.
Another pitfall to be aware of is the lack of IT governance and policies.
6. It’s Migration Time
Usernames, passwords, and contacts—oh my! Data migration is a critical aspect of any acquisition and mishandling it can lead to significant complications. When consolidating data from multiple sources, the risk of data loss or corruption increases.
RSN can help you develop a well-defined plan and robust backup procedures for the data migration process.
7. Get Everybody on Board
Your acquired community’s employees may have varying levels of IT proficiency and familiarity with the new software systems. Comprehensive training programs that address their specific needs and challenges will help get them up to speed.
And remember that communication is key throughout this entire process. A lack of effective communication can exacerbate existing challenges and hinder the successful integration of technology systems.
We’ve mentioned RSN’s core value of Grace before in this context. Open and transparent communication among all parties involved creates an environment where IT-related issues can be addressed promptly and efficiently, and your new acquisition can get off to a successful start.
The process of acquiring a new senior living community is complex, and information technology presents its own set of unique challenges. It pays to be proactive. Address common pitfalls related to software and cybersecurity early to minimize disruptions, protect your data, and keep your community running smoothly.
And don’t forget—RSN Technologies is always here to help! Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you for your next senior living community acquisition.