Won’t More IT Security Just Slow Me Down?
When I was a kid, there was a Tex Avery cartoon where Droopy Dog was chasing down a crook who escaped from jail. There was a particular scene where the crook (I think it was a wolf in a black-and-white striped jumpsuit) takes a bus, a plane, a ship, and a taxi to a secluded cabin, and then closes a series of increasingly complex doors with a large number of locks, in order to hide away from the pursuing cartoon basset hound.
Of course, when he turns around, exhausted by all the effort he puts in, he realizes that Droopy is standing right behind him, and greets him with a monotone “hello.”
I haven’t seen this cartoon since I was 7 years old, but I almost always think about it when I am using multi-factor authentication.
Does Cybersecurity Feel Like It’s a Lot of Effort?
Strong complex passwords, multi-factor authentication, complex policies and rules, and not always feeling like you have total access to everything you need at any given time certainly can feel like a hurdle when it comes to getting stuff done.
Believe me, I get it. As a tech head, I love how secure my information can get, but as a business owner, as a person who just needs to get things done, it really can be just frustrating enough to make it feel like it isn’t worth it.
I’ll never stop advocating it though.
Sometimes, in my head, I might grumble and think to myself—this is stupid, I’m just trying to get into my Facebook account. But then I think, through my Facebook account, I have all of my contacts, many of which are people I do business with. I also own my business page, and a couple of groups that I rely on for networking, and my ads account, which has my business credit card…
You get the idea. It’s just Facebook, but it’s so wrapped around my life that if someone else were to get in there, it could get really messy and complicated.
The same goes for email accounts, bank accounts, and software that stores sensitive information for myself and my business. Basically, anything that you can lock down with multi-factor authentication, you really should, and your employees should all be doing the same.
The Password Just Isn’t as Secure as It Used to Be
Somewhere early on, when the world was figuring out what to do with computers and the Internet, a bunch of folks got together and decided that the password would be the ultimate authentication tool. You just type in your magic words, “open sesame!” and yep, that’s definitely you and can’t possibly be anyone else!
It wasn’t a bad idea back before we were doing banking and storing medical records and other sensitive information online, and before we were using online tools and databases to store tons and tons of client information about people besides just ourselves.
But the password just isn’t that secure. They are easy to crack, and it’s so easy to be lazy about them to the point where they don’t even offer any protection at all. A 12-character password can be cracked with password-cracking software on your average laptop in less than 14 hours, and that time could be much shorter if your password isn’t all that complex.
Plus everyone has the tendency to reuse passwords or establish a predictable pattern in their password-making behaviors… it’s a mess. It’s not a good way to rely on security.
That’s why we have things like multi-factor authentication. Yes, it adds an extra step and can be a little annoying, but it can be streamlined. Here are some tips.
How to Optimize Your Multi-Factor Authentication
- Try to stick to just one single authentication app, preferably one that can be backed up and synced between devices. Give us a call at 607.433.2200 to help you pick one that works for you.
- Label your accounts in the app clearly, and try to organize them if you can.
- In your password manager, note how the multi-factor authentication works. If it has to come through SMS or email, it might feel a little more efficient if you noted that for yourself so you were prepared as you were logging in.
- Go into current accounts and check to see what your security settings allow you to do. When possible, use the authentication app so you aren’t relying on authentication information coming in from all different directions.
Cybersecurity is complicated, and it can feel like an overwhelming hurdle, but we can help you and your business use it effectively. It is important, and it is something that we should all be using as often as possible.
To get help, give us a call at 607.433.2200.