The Do’s and Do Not’s of Password Security

In 2015, the most commonly used password was “123456”, followed by “password”. Without any variety in symbols or characters, these passwords are extremely easy to crack. In fact, 90% of employee passwords can be cracked within 6 hours. To make matters worse, the average cost for a small business to fix security issues after a data breach is $200,000. Luckily, there are many ways to ensure password security for your business.

One of the most essential tools for password security is a password manager. A password manager can generate passwords for your business and store them in a secure, cloud-based vault. It keeps your data encrypted, and can generate new passwords automatically every 90 days.

To ensure top security levels, it is recommended to never share your passwords. A recent study by LastPass found that 95% of U.S. consumers admit to sharing up to six passwords with others. Of these, 25% are work-related passwords.

Passwords should be changed every 3-4 months. However, nearly 50% of U.S. employees reuse passwords for work-related accounts, according to a study by Ping Identity. Luckily, there are ways to ensure password security for your business.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for password security:

DO:

-Store passwords in a password manager. This keeps data in a secure, cloud-based vault, and can generate new passwords every 90 days.

-Create a unique password. Use numbers, symbols, and both uppercase and lowercase letters. If you start your password with a symbol, it’s more difficult to crack than if you start with a letter.

-Store passwords in an encrypted document using Microsoft Word or Excel. This adds an extra layer of security for sensitive data.

-Use random passwords. Make sure employees are using different passwords for every account.

-Use caution when opening emails. A reputable company will never ask you to change your password. If an email looks suspicious, just delete it.

-Enter sensitive passwords in an https website. The ‘s’ is an added layer of security that uses encryption to protect data from unfriendly eyes.

-Use a long password. For the best security, passwords should be at least 12 characters in length.

-Enter passwords on a secure network. Home and office networks with a trusted server are generally safe platforms for entering password information.

DON’T:

-Store passwords in a physical location. Never leave passwords on your desk, in your wallet, or under your keyboard.

-Use a pronounceable word. If your password is in the dictionary, it’s much easier to hack.

-Store passwords on your desktop.

-Use the same password for every account. If this single password gets cracked, hackers will have access to all of your information.

-Click on email links that request password information. This is known as phishing, and is an easy way for hackers to access your passwords.

-Enter passwords into an http website. Http websites are not secure. Any information entered here can easily be seen by hackers.

-Use a short password. Passwords shorter than 12 characters are more likely to get cracked.

-Enter passwords while using a public WiFi network. Hackers can break into these networks and see everything you enter.

With these tips, you can keep your sensitive data and your business safe from hackers.