Passwords are one of your business's main lines of defense against cyberthreats, blocking any unauthorized access to sensitive data and keeping confidential information safe. With cybercrime rates expected to rise further in 2023, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your passwords are secure. Protect your business data by avoiding the following password mistakes.
1. Reusing passwords
Using a single password for multiple accounts makes it easier for hackers to gain access to more of your information. For instance, if one of your accounts is compromised, the hacker can simply use the same password to access your other accounts. This could lead to a large-scale breach where sensitive information and financial details are exposed, leaving your organization open to devastating losses and identity theft.
By contrast, having unique passwords for each account ensures that even if someone manages to steal or guess one of your passwords, they won't get automatic access to every single account you own.
2. Not using a password manager
Password managers securely store and manage login credentials, helping ensure that all of your accounts are easily accessible but safeguarded from malicious actors. They also offer additional security features, such as biometrics, that make it more difficult for cybercriminals to access your systems even if your passwords are compromised.
Without a password manager, it’s significantly more tedious for users to keep track of all the passwords they use for different accounts and services. This may force them to choose easy-to-guess passwords, recycle passwords, or keep a copy of their passwords in conspicuous places — all of which leave your company vulnerable to cyberattacks.
3. Sharing passwords
Sharing passwords with others is never a good idea, as it puts your personal information at risk of being exposed or sold without your knowledge. When you share passwords with someone else, the person you share them with gains access to your entire account and the services associated with it. Even if you trust the other person, there’s no guarantee they will keep your passwords secure. If they are logged in to your account when their computer gets hacked, for example, then the hacker will have access to your account.
Additionally, when people share passwords, they often do so via unsecured channels that malicious actors can easily intercept, such as social media messaging platforms.
Spreading passwords around also makes it more difficult for account administrators and security professionals to keep track of who has access to which resources. Without proper oversight, it’s harder for them to detect any suspicious activity such as unauthorized logins or data leakage.
4. Typing your password when using a public computer or Wi-Fi network
Never input your passwords when using public computers and networks, as these technologies often lack the necessary security protocols to protect user data from cybercriminals. They might also be ridden with viruses and malware for stealing passwords, usernames, and other confidential information without the user’s knowledge. For instance, public computers may have keylogger software, enabling hackers to record your passwords if you enter these into a compromised device.
5. Not logging out of your account
Cybercriminals may exploit unattended or idle accounts to gain access to sensitive information. This is why you must always actively log out of online services or applications — regardless of whether it’s for personal use or work — after each session. This guarantees that no one else will have access to your account until the next time you log in, keeping your confidential information safe from prying eyes.
How can a managed IT services provider (MSP) help secure your passwords?
An MSP can help with password security in several ways. First, they can offer secure, encrypted cloud storage for all of your passwords. They can also implement multifactor authentication, which requires a second layer of identity verification, thus drastically reducing the risk of any unauthorized access.
On top of these, an MSP can provide password monitoring services. They can alert you of any suspicious activity, such as if someone is using a brute force attack. MSPs also regularly scan any databases of stolen credentials to detect if any of yours has been compromised, enabling them to take immediate action and mitigate any damage in case of a password leak.
Finally, an MSP can help you enforce strong password protocols. For instance, they can manage and streamline regular password changes to ensure that all credentials are up to date and uncompromised.
XBASE Technologies is one of the most trusted MSPs in Toronto. If you need help setting up a secure password strategy, our expertise and advanced tool sets can help. Drop us a line today.