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More people than ever are working remotely, and cloud computing is becoming more prevalent every day. Businesses need to take every step they can to make sure that their employees and others who access their portals and applications practice good password management.
Passwords and authentication are your primary defense against hackers and criminals. You might think of hacking as how you see it in movies and on television. However, it’s often nothing more complicated than criminals getting their hands on someone’s passwords and using them to access secure portals. Every access point that requires a password is a potential weak link. You need to make sure that your security is strong to prevent unauthorized access. Here is a quick guide to password management.
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It’s a fact of life that most people will do the minimum they need to in any situation. If they don’t realize the importance of passwords, then they will not take the time to ensure they are as strong as possible. They may think that using their childhood dog’s name and the numbers 1, 2, and 3 will be just fine to prevent access.
Unfortunately, simple passwords like this are not secure and can be easily exploited. It is up to you as a business owner or manager to provide training to let everyone know why it’s important to have strong passwords, and how to make them strong. This training can be part of an overall cyber security course. You should provide the course on a regular basis to keep minds refreshed.
What constitutes a strong password? It should be something that nobody would guess. Therefore, anything personal is not appropriate. Even if you don’t think anyone would know about the street you grew up on, there are ways that hackers can get that information. Most passwords follow a format of a word made up of a mix of capital letters, at least one special character, and at least one number. While this is a good baseline, too many people do the minimum and leave themselves vulnerable.
A strong password should be more random. Ideally, there should be no actual words or ordered numbers. A random collection would be perfect. However, this is challenging for employees who would have trouble memorizing these passwords. That’s why using an enterprise password management tool is a good solution. Users will have easy access to complex passwords, and your IT department can manage everyone’s passwords more easily.
What happens in your business when an employee quits or is fired? They probably have a password for all of your business applications, and they can access that data from anywhere. You need to be diligent with making sure that authentication parameters are removed for any employees who leave.
This is especially important for those who leave on bad terms with your business. They could use that access to cause serious damage to your company. Too many businesses are not diligent enough with this. But sometimes old login credentials stay active for years after an employee has left.
The other common mistake with passwords, along with being too weak, is using the same or similar password for every application. First of all, this can be hard to manage. It can also cause confusion.
The other issue with this is that it means if a hacker were to get a password for one application, they could then use it to access other ones.
Additionally, it is not enough to have a common word and then change up the surrounding numbers and characters.
If you are following strong password recommendations by having random numbers and letters, then a password management system becomes even more important. It can safely store those passwords, and bring them up in an instant if a user needs one.
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To keep things as secure as possible, you may want to add additional authentication on top of a password. This can take many forms. For instance, two-factor authentication means that after entering a password, the application would send a code to a designated device. The user would then need to enter that code to access the portal. This means that not only would they need a complex password, but they would also need the device to be present.
Other than two-factor authentication, you may choose to implement biometrics for users to gain access. This would involve facial recognition or a fingerprint to access any portals. Again, this makes it virtually impossible for a hacker to access an application since they would need to be with the user.
Cyber security has never been more important, with businesses and individuals becoming victims on a daily basis. Passwords are the primary defense against cyberattacks. Therefore, you need to take every step you can to ensure that they are secure and your business is safe.
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