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Your passwords are the primary line of defense in safeguarding your sensitive data from unauthorized access. They act as barriers between the bad guys and the organization’s systems. According to the 10th edition of Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report, over 80% of hacking-related breaches begin with compromising passwords. That shows you how integral password management is in the fight against cybercrime.
Ironically, less than half of small and medium-sized businesses already have password management in place. Last Pass’ 2021 study on the state of SMB password management shows that only 46% of SMBs globally have invested in password management. The research also shows that 51% of business executives consider passwords the most crucial identity and access management solution.
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Most SMBs understand the vitality of password management but haven’t invested in it. Why is that so? What is password management, and why is it crucial? What are the password management best practices? This article answers this and several other related questions.
Password management can refer to using sustainable practices to create, store, and maintain passwords throughout their life cycles. It involves developing organization-wide policies and deploying a Password Management System to ensure that users always have strong and complex passwords. The goal is to safeguard your logins from unauthorized access and compromise.
Password management is crucial now, more than ever, because of the central role that data has taken in the day-to-day operations of businesses. In this information age, organizations rely on data to plan policies, plan and track growth, measure performances, design marketing strategies, and make crucial business decisions. How well you collect, store, and use data can give you a competitive edge or disadvantage your business.
The bad guys know this pretty well and will stop at nothing to compromise your files and stall your operations. With the increased integration of technology into business processes and adoption of the work-from-home model, your data is more vulnerable to unauthorized access than ever. Today, employees access corporate systems from several less-secured environments miles away. You expose your data to more risks as you broaden your network and increase your assets.
Therefore, you need to be more careful by managing your passwords more stringently. The better you can prevent the bad guys from compromising your passwords, the safer your systems are from unauthorized access.
Here are a few tips to help you safeguard your passwords from unauthorized access:
As basic as it may sound, this is the most crucial password management best practice. The more complex your password is, the less the bad guys can compromise it:
While reusing the same password for all your accounts may look like a simpler alternative, it exposes you to more risks. It means that if a hacker compromises the password, they can access all your accounts. A common mistake to look out for is employees who use passwords for personal profiles for company accounts. Ensure that your staff understands the vitality of having unique, complex passwords for each user account.
When users have long, complex, and unique passcodes for all the accounts, they may have trouble remembering all of them. And that’s where a password manager comes in—it creates and stores complex passwords and relieves your users of the burden of remembering all of them.
Create privileged passwords for high-level access to the company’s data and apps. You can give these passwords to only the executives and high-ranking business managers. That’s because whoever has them can access and compromise the entire network. You can also store the privileged accounts and passwords in a separate password management platform, preferably with more stringent access protocols.
We cannot talk about password management best practices without mentioning Multifactor Authentication. MFA adds an extra security layer beyond entering the passwords. MFA enhances the login verification process. So, even if the bad guys steal your passwords, they need extra verification to access your accounts. It requires users to have at least two of the following three requirements to access an account:
Small and medium-sized businesses face the same cyber challenges as large corporations, yet they often have leaner budgets to achieve their cybersecurity goals. In most cases, this causes them to deploy half-baked data security solutions or none. One of the most affected areas is usually password management.
The other reason could be time. As you must have noticed, password management is a time-intensive process. Since your SMB is focusing on growth, you may not have all the time in the world to handle password management.
So, what’s the way out? The solution is outsourcing password management services. A reliable IT support company can relieve you of the burden of worrying about your passwords at a small service fee, saving you both time and money.
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