What Really Matters in Password Security
If security breaches are starting to sound like a dime a dozen, you’re not wrong. In 2017, the number of recorded security breaches and hacks increased by a record 23 percent in the first six months alone.
When it comes to stolen data and hacked servers, mega-corporations can be just as susceptible to these targeted cyber attacks as small businesses. In the last five years eBay, Equifax, Yahoo, and Target are just a few of the Fortune 500 brands who’ve found themselves at the center of some of the biggest cyber-scandals in history.
So, how do these security breaches actually happen and what do they mean for you, your business, and your employees? Perhaps more importantly, what do they mean for your IT team?
Is Your Password Secure?
Having a secure password is often your first line of defense against a security threat. If you are wondering whether your business passwords are secure, this post will help you know what to look out for. Let’s take a look!
Brute Force Attacks
Where passwords are concerned, brute force hacking is one of the most common ways thieves can gain access to your protected data. A type of trial-and-error software program, brute force attacks run a consecutive number of guess-and-check attempts until they find the right login and password combinations.
Typically drawing from a list of some of the most commonly used passwords around the web, or a simple “dictionary attack”, brute force algorithms can attempt thousands of possible combinations in a matter of minutes.
A weak password could be leaving your business wide open for these criminals to take advantage of your company data.
A potential breach wouldn’t just put your reputation at risk, it could cost you thousands of dollars (or more) to recover from. By 2021, damages from cyber attacks are expected to reach an annual rate of $6 trillion globally. Yikes.
Thankfully, there are measures you and your IT experts can implement to help safeguard against hacking, and it starts with your password.
Is Longer Really Better?
Not necessarily. It’s a common myth that longer passwords are instantly more secure and thus less likely to be compromised by something like a brute force attack.
Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly true. While most standard platforms today require passwords to be at least eight characters long, it’s the complexity of a password rather than it’s length that really matters when it comes to password security.
Take the word “password” for example. It’s exactly eight characters long, easy to remember, and even customizable with numerical characters or capitalization. But “Password1” or “PassWord123” may not be any better because they’re still based on a simple word found in the dictionary.
Instead, your goal should be to create more complex passwords as opposed to longer entries. The ideal password will contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols that would be difficult for anyone to guess. Using the same “password” example, “Password1” certainly isn’t a secure option, but “5Work$Password” might be.
It’s important not to outsmart yourself in the process of creating an overly complicated (or long) password. Security is paramount, but you don’t want to accidentally lock yourself out in the process.
Requiring Employees To Rotate Their Passwords
Another common myth suggests you should require employees to update their passwords on a regular basis.
It’s become a relatively common practice for businesses to require their staff to cycle out old passwords for new options every few months to help improve security. This can make actually remembering your password extremely difficult for most people.
Instead of creating entirely unique passwords every six months, it’s more likely you (or your employees) will simply create a subtle variation of their old password instead. When prompted to change their password from “5Work$Password” to something else, they might opt for “6Work$Password” or “5Work&Password”, creating an easy-to-guess pattern.
A better solution is to use a password management tool, which allows yourself and your employees to manage your passwords across a variety of accounts (even if all of the passwords are different). This way, they won’t have to remember their passwords, even if they decide to change them within the extension. At Raxxos, we set you up with an all-in-one tool that manages your passwords, protects you from security threats, and more!
Keep Your Business Secure with Trusted IT Services
Protecting your company data as a business owner is one of the most important tasks you could be facing today. Customer information, financial data, and employee records can all be at risk when those security walls are breached.
The cybersecurity threat is growing and it’s constantly changing. Instead of trying to keep up with complicated dark web trends or hacker algorithms, enlist the expert IT help you need to protect your business identity today.
For a comprehensive audit of your security and technology systems, contact the IT specialists at Raxxos today!