With all the advanced technology and tech-savvy cybercriminals in today’s economy, business security has come to be a bit of an art form. Security developers have to stay one step ahead of the hackers, and business owners are cautioned to be constantly wary of the threat of a breach or infiltration.
For many business owners who are just learning how to protect themselves from hacking and other cyberthreats, the potential cost of business security measures is intimidating. And of course, there are some high-end solutions that can leave hackers feeling lost in a maze of potential traps and pitfalls—at which point, most will just give up.
But that’s simply not practical for small businesses. An extensive IT budget just isn’t always in the cards—and that’s ok. Even small businesses can learn how to keep their information as safe as possible by making the best of the basics.
Passwords, for instance, are a much neglected security tool that can actually provide excellent roadblocks against cyberthreats—if utilized correctly. When you use an effective password storage program or password manager, for instance, you can even make it easier to vary and store your passwords safely and in a way that allows for quick access to password-protected sites.
Below are some tried and true tips for managing your passwords to add extra layers to your business security plan, as well as a few suggestions for protecting passwords from becoming a liability.
Different systems/sites should always have different passwords
Make sure that you and your employees never use the same password twice. This can limit the extent of an infiltration, even if one password is discovered.
Complex passwords are always more effective
It’s tempting to create a short, simple password that’s easy to remember, but those are the easiest to hack. Let the technology work for you. With a password storage program or password manager (a plug-in that allows you to input and store passwords safely), you won’t have to worry about a password being too complex, as the program will plug it in automatically for you. The more complex the password, the more safe your system is from infiltration.
The big thing trend right now in business security and password protection strategies is two-factor authentication. In this way, you have to pass at least two layers of security to access information. The more layers, the harder it is for your system to be accessed. Don’t be afraid to institute more than one form of password protection on your business devices. Your valuable data will be much safer locked behind additional layers of security.
Passwords should be lengthy and as “weird” as possible
Length, as opposed to complex character requirements, is actually a more effective protection against infiltration. The longer the password, the harder to crack. Additionally, a weird password is always better. According to a recent article in Wired, “Longer is always better, but that length yields diminishing returns if you’re not still mixing it up.” You and your employees should be creating passwords that are both strange and unpredictable if you want to achieve the best security results.
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Frequent changes are not the answer
Most businesses assume that frequent changes are the best way of protecting passwords. In point of fact, they actually make business security via password policy a bit harder. If your employees have to change them frequently, they will generally try to stick with less complex and shorter passwords. If you want to encourage a longer, more difficult password, it’s got to be something that sticks around for a while. Those things are never easy to manage.
While passwords are not the only option for securing your electronics—nor even the best—they do add an extra layer of barriers that make it difficult for cybercriminals to gain a foothold in your system. With just a few minor changes to your password policy and the addition of a password storage program, you can make password-protection into a powerful first line of defense that is both easy and cost-effective to implement.