If you have a small business, you likely know the power of a password. You are capable of connecting to various assets with a few keystrokes verifying that you have the authority to operate. Nothing could be better than knowing your accounts and information are protected by passwords — right?
Well, there is a problem with that. Passwords, on their own, are still not as secure as they should be. From user error like using terribly simple passwords to the technical limits of credential storage, there are a number of problems that can arise if you aren’t practicing security best practices when creating, storing, and using your passwords. So how do you avoid these issues? How do you fix the problems you’ve already made for yourself in the meantime?
Eliminate Reused Passwords
One of the most common mistakes users make is to reuse passwords for their various accounts — from Gmail to Square to your local vendor, you are meant to have different passwords for each, and by ignoring this directive, you’re endangering your emails, your inventory management, and more. However, by employing a password manager for small business accounts of all types, you’ll be able to eliminate this reuse with a password generation feature — making security breaches that much more difficult.
Develop Complex Passwords
In the same vein of user error as reused passwords, the use of simple, easy-to-guess passwords is also common. People tend to create passwords that are easy to remember, and in most cases, this is hard to turn into a secure, uncrackable sequence of characters. However, by using a password manager, you will find yourself able to not only create passwords that are unique to each account, but that are also meant to be far harder to guess. The goal of a password generator is to do what you can’t — and while many people may work hard to create strong passwords, it doesn’t hold a candle to the ability your password manager has to produce strings that are altogether complex and secure from the prying minds of password crackers.
Use Encrypted Storage
While the generation of your passwords is important, it’s also just as important to know where you’re keeping that information stored. A sticky note on the monitor isn’t a secure option, and memorization is increasingly difficult when you utilize complex, unique passwords for every single platform you log into. With that in mind, it’s best that you keep your passwords locked away in the safest way possible: encrypted storage. With encryption, only someone with the right encryption key can unscramble the sequence that replaces your information, be it a password, a username, or your family’s secret chili recipe. The idea is that by continually storing your passwords in an encrypted vault, much like those of various password managers, you’ll protect the passwords from anyone without the credentials to access them. This is even true in secure password sharing, a feature of password manager tools: when you share access with a set of credentials through such a device, other users will be given the chance to use them as directed, but not to copy or use them elsewhere. This information is stored digitally on your end, encrypted for your safety and for the safety of your assets.
Train Team In Best Practices
More of what makes a business secure is the way users are trained to handle security devices and credentials, such as passwords. Whether it’s reminding everyone not to reuse passwords, or whether it’s about more specific issues from teammate to teammate, there are bound to be benefits from training and reminding your company of best practices. So keep your team abreast of the needs your company has, and make sure they know what’s important to the maintenance of password security overall, such as making sure shared access only occurs through the password management tool in place.
Along with the need to train teams and make sure all your users are on the same page, you also have to be sure that these instructions are being followed. If you are able to monitor the usage of passwords and credential sharing throughout the company, you’ll be better prepared to defend against risks of this type. Receiving flags of unauthorized access sharing, checking which devices log into accounts, and more are what goes into successful risk monitoring. By continually keeping this practice, you will be privy to suspicious behavior and potential breaches long before the symptoms are felt by your company.
Use Common Sense
Everyone has an understanding of what to do with passwords in this day and age. While common directives are often ignored, they’re still important. For example, it’s commonly known that simple passwords and the reuse of passwords are both highly problematic for password security, but many business users still do these things — putting themselves and their clients at risk. Similarly, it’s common sense to not share your password, save for the access sharing features of a secure tool like a password manager. If you are sharing passwords to clients, teammates, or other individuals, you’re once again invoking particular risks to your business’s security. When looking at a situation that requires judgment before action, simply think whether your action will result in a lowered sense of security. If the answer’s yes, then look for a different solution. Chances are, you’ll find one that’s far safer, such as with a password management tool.