Your Biggest Security Threat Is Not Hackers: It’s Poor Passwords

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Safety concept: Contoured Shield and Password Security on comput

There’s a lot of talk about hackers getting into computers, mobile devices and networks. This talk should not be ignored, but one of the biggest security threats is really, small business owners, having poor passwords.

In partnership with LastPass, Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass, shares his insight on how and why to create better passwords for your business. LastPass remembers your passwords, so you can focus on the more important things in life.

LP-LogoKeeping an organization secure is no longer just the IT team’s job. Today’s digitally connected workplace requires that security is a shared responsibility in order to protect sensitive information at work. For many small business owners, keeping data secure may seem like a daunting task due to the lack of IT staff or budget. However, educating employees on proper password practices is a simple and cost effective way to create a security conscious work environment that limits security risks.

People are inherently bad at creating secure passwords. Left to our own devices, most of us will make passwords that are easy to use and remember, ultimately leaving personal and company information vulnerable to hacks and phishing attacks.

Whether you’re a small business with a handful of employees or a major corporation, companies of all sizes can benefit by following these essential tips for improving your first line of defense online.

Password hygiene.

Most people know they should be updating their passwords, but how often do you really do it? Creating unique passwords and updating them regularly is critical to a secure workplace. If you’re a smaller organization with employees who share password credentials for access to certain company information or applications, make sure you are updating passwords every time an employee leaves the company.

And don’t just “change” each password to the same word or phrase – unique passwords for each website and subscription is key. Everyone knows you should have a long password, and that it should be a mix of characters like numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters. But using a unique password is arguably even more important. Every single online account should have its own password. It’s the only way to reduce the risk of a breach.

Go for passphrases, not just passwords

When you do need to create a password, “passphrases” are a simple way to make a strong one. The key with a passphrase is to string together words or phrases to create one long phrase that’s easy for you to remember, but pretty hard for anyone else to guess or crack. Then you can add in a few random symbols and characters to further increase its strength.

Here’s an example: mydogFido’sbirthdayisNovember19

A passphrase is the best of both worlds: It’s easier to remember because it’s a phrase you can repeat and commit to memory, but it’s also very strong by virtue of its length and mix of characters. Using a passphrase is a simpler way to create a super strong password.

Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

Two is always stronger than one. Whenever possible, turn on two-factor authentication with your accounts; many websites now offer this option for added security. Two-factor authentication requires an additional step before logging into an account, even if the correct password is used – this is usually through a push notification, text message or email that will require the user to verify that they are attempting to login to said account.

The benefit of two-factor authentication is that, should your password somehow be compromised – perhaps in a phishing attack – the attacker still won’t be able to get into the company’s account without the two-factor authentication information.

Add a password manager to your toolbox

The reality is that it’s extremely hard to practice good password habits without something to help you remember, organize, and create passwords. Using a password manager is a great way to ensure company credentials are kept organized, updated and secure. A password manager like LastPass helps centralize passwords in one secure place, and keeps passwords synced where you need them.

But to really get the most out of your password manager, you need to use it to create unique passwords for every single online account. The password generator makes it easy to create a new password whenever you need one, and the LastPass Security Challenge helps you identify old, weak, or reused passwords that still need to be changed. Once your employees are set up with a password manager, it’s critical that they take the next step and update every single password to a better one.

For as long as we continue to use them, passwords are an important part of staying secure online. By following these tips, you’ll make sure your company passwords are working hard for you and doing everything possible to keep your company’s data secure.

In partnership with LastPass, Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass, shares his insight on how and why to create better passwords for your business. LastPass remembers your passwords, so you can focus on the more important things in life.







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Ramon Ray, founder and editor Smart Hustle Magazine. Entrepreneur, best selling author and global keynote speaker.