Strong Password Practices Protect Your Company’s Data
Cyberattacks Rise as More People Work Remotely
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, more professionals are working from home than at any other point in history, a situation that has led to a significant rise in cybersecurity attacks. A recent poll of IT professionals by threatpost, a cybersecurity news outlet, revealed that 40 percent of respondent companies that have enabled remote work are experiencing an increase in cyberattacks.
Many companies have implemented new virtual tools to enable their teams to continue functioning productively and efficiently in the work-from-home environment. As a result, many workers are handling a multitude of new logins and passwords, making password security more important than ever.
With the security of your company’s data at stake, ensuring password security is a key strategy for keeping your data and your servers safe. This kind of security is important at all times, but essential while your workforce is dispersed.
Here are some important measures to practice yourself and to share with your employees:
Tips for Strengthening Your Password Security
Use Unique Passwords:
Stop using the same password for multiple accounts. That bears repeating: Stop using the same password for multiple accounts. This is a common pitfall. It is annoying and inconvenient to have to come up with new passwords all the time, but it is worth the trouble. Using the same password repeatedly puts you at risk of having multiple accounts compromised if a hacker obtains your login credentials for a single account.
Create Strong Passwords:
On top of using a unique password or pass phrase for each account, you should also use stronger, more complex passwords. Hackers are smart and devious. They know how to use the information they have about you to crack short passwords based on your login, hometown, birthdate, or email address. Here are some guidelines for creating stronger passwords:
- Use eight to 16 characters
- Use both upper- and lower-case letters
- Include numbers and symbols
- Do not use dictionary words, names, or any personally identifiable information (e.g., pet names, birthday, street name)
- Avoid using anything in sequence (e.g., xyz, 789, qwerty)
Update Your Passwords Regularly:
In addition to using strong, unique passwords, you should also cultivate the practice of regularly updating your passwords. Make a list of all your accounts and take the time to update your login info every other month or so. Additionally, if you suspect any credentials have been compromised, update the passwords for accounts that were affected or that may be vulnerable. Wherever possible, enable two-factor authentication on your accounts.
Check to See if Your Information Has Leaked:
It is a good practice to regularly check for information breaches on your accounts. Perhaps do this on the same schedule as when you update your passwords. Some websites allow you to do a quick search to discover if your email address has been compromised. If you get any hits on your information, go ahead and update your passwords immediately.
While consistently using good passwords is not difficult, it is annoying. Luckily, there are a variety of helpful (and secure) tools available to help you create and store strong passwords.
Password Security Apps to Consider
- LastPass functions as a browser extension, storing all your password information in one place and automatically filling passwords that have been saved. It operates on a “fremium” pricing strategy, meaning that the basic services are free and extended services (such as advanced multi-factor security, priority tech support, and encrypted file storage) come with a price. LastPass is popular because it offers users a free password vault protected by one master password and can be used across many devices. It also includes a tool for generating customized secure passwords.
- RememBear is a highly-rated app that can be used on laptops, tablets and smartphones. It boasts an easy-to-use interface and strong encryption. RememBear’s features include password generation, storage, and auto-filling. It also saves encrypted credit card information. The cost of RememBear is $60 for a two-year subscription.
- 1Password offers secure password storage, a digital wallet, travel mode, 24/7 email support, and two-factor authentication. The app is usable on Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS. 1Password offers a 30-day free trial.
- RoboForm safely stores URL, password, and shopping information. All data is accessible through a master password that is never saved on the app’s servers. RoboForm offers a free individual account, but in order to gain important features, such as device syncing, cloud backups, and two-factor authentication, you must upgrade to one of their paid versions, which start at $24 per year.
Secure password practices are not complicated, but they can be frustrating and time consuming. However, apps such as those listed above remove any excuse you might have for not following recommended password security tips. Reach out to your Adams Brown advisor to discuss the options that best fit your business.