As we previously mentioned in our Business Owner's IT Security Checklist, passwords are especially vulnerable access points to your office computer network. Creating and maintaining strong, unique passwords is a must for all employees and network users. There are a few easy ways to develop great passwords, which set up a sturdy foundation for your IT services. There are also several tech support tools available that we believe all businesses in Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops, Vernon, and beyond should utilize. Let’s take a look at both of these.
The Basics of Great Passwords
There are two components to a great password: development and maintenance. When developing a new password, there are a few criteria that you should always follow. These include:
- Incorporating uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters like punctuation
- Making every password at least eight characters long, with longer always being safer
- Avoiding obvious passwords (password, 1234, etc.), personal details, or any real words that appear in dictionaries
- Using phrases instead of words, i.e. MyDogDoesn’tGoToSchool!
Each of these criteria will ensure that every password you create is difficult for hackers to guess. However, hackers are relentless. To keep your business’ IT security maximized, it’s also important that you follow these password maintenance tips:
- Change all of your passwords at regular intervals
- Never reuse passwords between different accounts, or over time
- Don’t answer ‘yes’ when prompted to save passwords in your web browser
- Always log out when you are finished with a program or browser
These tips are informed by typical hacking methods. By developing and maintaining a stable of strong passwords, you are stacking the deck in your favour. Once you have these great passwords, the next step is to use password tech support tools.
Password Tech Support Tools
There are many tools and techniques available for fortifying your business’ password security protocol. Each of these are additional ways to protect the great passwords you have developed and maintained. Using them in combination makes your office computer network and IT security as impenetrable as possible.
- Password Manager: A password manager is the better alternative to writing all of your passwords down. These tools, like LastPass and Dashlane, store your passwords in a single, secure location. Once a password is stored for a website, you can use it to automatically log in whenever you visit that site. You can also easily update each password whenever it is changed. This removes the burden of remembering dozens of frequently updating passwords, which is a primary barrier to great passwords.
- Password/Email Audit: Using a password manager also helps with password auditing. You can search the manager for any duplicate passwords, to eliminate repetition. You can also judge password strength for every website, to identify any cracks in your foundation. It is also important to do a mass ‘search and delete’ for emails in your inbox with terms like ‘password,’ ‘login,’ or ‘username.’ This prevents anyone who has managed to gain access to your email from easily spreading to your other accounts.
- Two-Step Verification: Two-step verification adds an additional layer to your IT security. By requiring a code sent to your phone or email, or physical component like a fingerprint scan, it turns your password into a multi-layered puzzle that is extremely difficult to hack remotely.
Following these basic great password development and maintenance steps, accompanied by the password tech support tools and techniques, leads to a strong security approach for your office computer network.
CONNECT is your local IT solutions partner, because we support businesses of all sizes in Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops, and Vernon, through our comprehensive IT services, 60-minute response time, and our True Partner relationship, based on communication, responsiveness, trust, and experience.