Passwords in Your Business
In today’s world, there’s not much you can do to avoid using passwords. Within your small business, passwords are used to protect your sensitive documents, employee, vendor and customer information, as well as trade secrets, business funds and more.
Criminals will often target your business – a hub of highly sensitive information – over individuals simply because businesses hold larger pools of valuable data. Even if you follow sufficient security standards, change your passwords regularly and incorporate strict password policies, these security tactics aren’t always foolproof. Sometimes bad password habits can still slip through the cracks.
Last year, 63 percent of data breaches were caused by weak or stolen passwords. Thus, password managers have become one of the most valuable tools that businesses can use to secure their sensitive login credentials and business files.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Use these tips to improve your business’ security by protecting your passwords and valuable business information:
Take advantage of a password manager. As a business owner, it’s imperative that you keep your corporate login credentials in a safe, secure place. With EZShield’s Password Manager, you can secure all your sensitive business passwords with ease.
Implement multi-factor authentication. It requires two or more forms of authentication when logging into any corporate account (i.e. text message, email, phone call, third-party alert, etc.) to give your accounts an extra layer of protection.
Educate your employees and emphasize good password habits in the office. Your employees hold the keys to your business’ sensitive data. Hackers only need to crack one password to gain access to your corporate network and files.
Although your employees are hardworking and dedicated members of your company, they’re still human. Unfortunately, research has repetitively shown that our human flaws can be the prime culprits of our negligent password habits.
In general, passwords can be problematic for two specific reasons. First, passwords are used virtually everywhere on the Internet, making it inevitable that users will experience “password overload” — or feel overwhelmed trying to manage numerous passwords. One study found that a single email address is attached to an average of 130 online accounts.
Second, it’s difficult to keep track of passwords when there are so many to remember. Internet users will hit the “forgot password” link at least 37 times a year. Even more embarrassing are the two most common passwords of 2016: “12345” and “password.”
Not only are we falling behind when it comes to creating and remembering strong passwords, we also have a hard time keeping them secure. Last year, 52 percent of employees admitted that they did not understand the risks of sharing work credentials. In addition, 95 percent of Internet users share up to six passwords with others, and 59 percent are reusing the same passwords for multiple accounts. Bringing these habits into the workplace can be disastrous for your business’ security.
“If employees use passwords [in the office] that are easy to crack, a small business’ data is at risk. If that data contains private customer information, now [the business’] customer information is at risk too.”
– EZShield Security Expert
Challenges to Improve Password Security
Many digital platforms have begun implementing sets of rules that essentially “force” users to create strong passwords. These rules, often referred to as “password policies,” are meant to ensure passwords meet certain criteria when users are creating them for accounts or applications.
For example, these policies can require that your passwords be a specific length or include various characters, numbers and letters. More sophisticated password policies can also restrict the use of personal information markers like your name, birth date or address when creating your passwords.
While the thinking behind these policies is beneficial in encouraging users to create hard-to-crack passwords, experts have noted that strict password policies are not always effective. Instead of learning how to create strong passwords, users are more focused on satisfying the minimum policy constraints.
Another common password tip is to change your passwords regularly. Typically, the rule of thumb is to change passwords every 90 days. Ideally, passwords that are updated regularly would be harder for criminals to crack. However, users are also more likely to create weak, easy-to-remember passwords if they are constantly changing.
Password managers – a must for any business
Password managers are the best tools to effectively secure your sensitive business data. They can be especially valuable to your business because they typically serve two purposes – store passwords securely and generate strong passwords for you. Some password managers also offer team-sharing capabilities so that your employees can access shared accounts without copying and pasting passwords through emails or instant messages.
Paired with multi-factor authentication – a security feature that requires at least two or more forms of authentication to access an account – password managers can ensure protected accounts are accessed securely and only by the right users. EZShield’s Password Manager not only helps to keep your corporate credentials safe, but it also helps you and your employees generate strong passwords to thwart the criminals attempting to steal them.
Not an EZShield small business customer? No problem!
No matter what service you use, find a password manager that best fits your business’ needs. By storing your passwords securely, you’ll keep your sensitive information safe from identity thieves and cybercriminals.
For more information about EZShield’s services, feel free to inquire about us at your financial institution or through your employee benefits, payroll or insurance programs.
Keep following Fighting Identity Crimes to stay up-to-date on the latest breach and scam news, as well as tips from our industry experts on protecting your identity and personal information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.