You may feel that your business is so small that there’s nothing worth stealing from your database or computer systems. However, hacking is a crime of opportunity, and cybercriminals will steal anything that takes their fancy. If you don’t have a robust cybersecurity system that includes stringent password security, then you can be a target or may already be a victim without even realizing it.
Remember: unscrupulous individuals don’t only hack to steal information or extort money through ransomware. They also want to use or hijack other people’s computer systems for their criminal activities, including email scamming, phishing, or even spreading malicious software. So if you’re interested in protecting yourself, your business, and, more importantly, your customers from being compromised, you better start reinforcing your business password security.
Here are the top tips you could follow:
Invest In A Password Management Tool
Many entrepreneurs focus on their bottom-line figures, so they’re also very keen on bringing down operational costs aside from boosting sales. One of the things they may scrimp on is paying for certain tools, apps, or services. However, aside from ensuring that you have an antivirus or anti-malware program to check and protect your system, you may need to be proactive and consider investing in a password manager for teams and businesses.
Here are the benefits of having a reliable password management tool:
- Makes it easier for you to manage password security through a master password
- Enables you to monitor password history and grant granular access to employees
- Provides regular reports about password use in your company
- Offers encryption services to make it challenging for criminals to hack your system
- Enforces adequate sabotage protection
Create Your Company’s Password Policy
Having strong passwords is one of the four basic cybersecurity steps to implement in your business. Even if you’re using a password management tool, your company should still develop a company policy to guide all employees when creating and using passwords for computer systems, software, or database access. Here are some features you may want to include in your security policy:
- Passwords should be 12 characters long and have a mix of letters, symbols, and numerals. Don’t use recognizable information like names, birthdates, and addresses.
- Don’t allow one password for different accounts.
- Change the passwords regularly.
- Don’t use passwords that are easy to crack, such as ‘12345678,’ ‘password,’ ‘username,’ or ‘abcdefgh.’
Enforce Multifactor Authentication
In the past two years, cybercrime in the U.S. surged by 55%. In 2020, losses due to cybersecurity breaches reached as much as USD$4.2 billion. If you don’t want your company to be part of the statistics, one password security measure you should consider is multifactor authentication (MFA).
With MFA, the password will be just one factor in getting access to the company system. There’ll be additional steps that your employees need to perform before being given access. Those include inputting codes sent via text message or email, using physical tokens, passing face recognition checks, and providing other biometrics.
Unless your company is a targeted company and has private information that hackers require, cybercriminals will most probably be dissuaded from breaching your account when they see that you have MFA enforced.
Reduce Access and Opportunities To Log In
If you have a password management tool, you may minimize login attempts to your systems. For example, you may only allow three unsuccessful tries for employees before locking their accounts.
If a hacker tries to gain access to your system, they wouldn’t have an unlimited number of attempts to do so. Even if they use programs to unlock a staff member’s password, the probability that they’d easily guess a strong password in three tries would be slim.
Regularly Train Employees On Password Security
As businesses become savvier at preventing cybercriminals from cracking company passwords, hackers also continue to find ways to circumvent your protocols. Among the best ways to stay one step ahead of such parties is through education.
Regularly educate members of your organization about password safety, and make them aware of the latest cybercriminal modus operandi. Also, remind your team about the consequences of any breaches. Their knowledge will make them more conscious about their actions and follow protocols to a T.
Provide A List Of Insecure Passwords
Even if you instruct employees on creating strong passwords, some may find it hard to comply. So one proactive way of avoiding weak passwords is by providing employees with examples of easy-to-guess passwords to avoid.
You can post a digital document or physical list of phrases, words, and numbers that are considered weak passwords. This way, every time a team member attempts to create a new password, they can check if it’s on the list of character strings that shouldn’t be used.
The Bottom Line
Password security is the first line of defense your company has against cybercriminals. You can prevent hackers from penetrating your system and networks by enforcing a password policy that everyone in your company can follow. Having hard-to-crack passwords, implementing multifactor authentication, and investing in a password management tool are practical steps to ensure password safety in your business.