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Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

The Easiest Way to Commit to Strong, Secure Passwords

The Easiest Way to Commit to Strong, Secure Passwords

In order to protect your personal information, as well as your company information, you need to put a lot of effort and brainpower into your passwords. They are supposed to be long and complex, they are supposed to be random. You are supposed to use a different password on each account… 

If you are thinking to yourself, man that’s a lot of work, you aren’t wrong. We’re on your side.

There’s an easier way, and it’s something that businesses can implement for their entire staff that solves a lot of headaches and goes a long way toward keeping data safe.

Why is Good Password Hygiene so Hard?

In order for a password to actually do its job, it needs to meet certain criteria. 

  • All passwords need to be long, more than 14 characters.
  • Passwords need to have numbers, capital and lowercase letters, and symbols.
  • Passwords can’t contain personally identifiable information like birthdays, names, pets, zipcodes, etc.
  • Each password needs to be unique and not used across more than one account.
  • Don’t write passwords down on sticky notes, text files, Word documents, or spreadsheets, and don’t trust your web browser to save them for you.

This poses a problem. Plenty of studies have proven that the typical human brain just isn’t great at coming up with, let alone memorizing, long strings of randomized characters. In fact, typically, seven is the magic number for the typical brain when it comes to memorizing characters. Beyond that, there needs to be a pattern, or else it starts taking a lot more effort to memorize and recall something.

Now sure, we memorize complicated things all the time, but we also use those things in context. For instance, memorizing a complex recipe for your grandmother’s salted caramel chocolate chip cookies is different than memorizing a 14-character password. The point is, that we’ve built computing around passwords, but we’re not really all that good at memorizing passwords organically. 

Why are Strong Passwords so Important?

You can blame the cunning tenacity of cybercriminals on that, but honestly, it’s simply because of the value of the stuff we lock behind a password. Ironically, the typical person doesn’t even recognize the value of say, their Netflix account, or their LinkedIn profile, and so they inherently think they can be a little more lax on their security efforts for a lot of things.

If you’ve ever created a password for something and thought “Well, who is going to want to hack into this?” then you are essentially the problem. 

Sure, if someone logs into your Honda finance account, what are they going to do, pay off your car loan?

It sounds silly, but if a scammer or cybercriminal can get into one account, and your passwords are the same or similar across multiple accounts, then they can easily find their way into more.

If they can log into that car loan website and determine your bank account, change your address, or contact the warranty department and pose as you, then they might have something to gain at your expense.

It doesn’t matter if there is financial information at stake or not—if there is any personal information, contact information, connections with other users, or any sort of data, a scammer can find it useful and therefore it has value.

Short passwords are easy to crack with free tools. Non-complex passwords are the same. The only solution is to use long, complex passwords and to make sure each password across every account is unique.

This is Where Password Managers Come In

There’s a better way. Businesses can equip themselves with an enterprise-grade password manager, and allow all of their employees to take advantage of a professional tool designed to keep passwords secure while making it easier to manage them. We recommend and support Keeper, and for just a few dollars per user, your business can take a huge step toward being more secure.

Keeper stores all of your passwords in a secure vault but also allows managers to securely share passwords with employees who need access to an account. Keeper can generate complex secure passwords and even advise you when a password isn’t secure or needs to be updated.

Stop Memorizing Every Password!

With Keeper, you can easily generate long, complex passwords that are dozens of characters long, and you’ll never have to remember them or type them in by hand. Keeper remembers them for you and keeps them stored in an easy-to-use cloud vault. 

This vault can be securely accessed on multiple devices, including smartphones and tablets.

One of our favorite features of Keeper is the fact that you can also store 2FA/MFA codes in it, so after you validate into an account with your password, you can generate the 6-digit code to get through the 2FA.

Our other favorite feature is the ability to securely share access to accounts with users. If I want to grant someone access to my LinkedIn account, for example, I can just share the Keeper record in my vault with their vault, and I have tons of control over how long they can see it.

It’s worth it, it makes password management so much easier.

To get started with Keeper, or to discuss your cybersecurity in general, give us a call at 607.433.2200.