Password Security Best Practices for Businesses in 2022
The Importance of Password Security
Like consumers, business users are increasingly active online. And while consumers are using the Internet to carry out many tasks, such as banking, shopping, paying bills, dating, and communicating, business users are often also banking and using other tools that require a large amount of sensitive information to be shared through a web browser.
As businesses continue to adopt online platforms to conduct transactions and interact with customers, the need for effective password security increases exponentially. Both consumer and business activities have become lucrative targets for cybercriminals. There are thousands of data breaches every year in the United States alone.
Hackers can use a brute force attack to crack weak passwords. Brute force attacks use trial and error with either common or known combinations of usernames and passwords to gain access to accounts and systems.
One important means of mitigating your business' risk of falling victim to a data breach is the use of strong passwords. However, according to recent studies, most people don’t know how to choose a secure password.
Are your company's passwords secure?
And do your employees know what to do about a compromised password?
If you don't know how to answer those questions, don't worry; you're not alone and we're here to help.
Advannova has over 30 years of experience in the sales and implementation of secure business systems, credit card processing solutions, and POS systems, and we want to share critical password security best practices for businesses in 2022.
How to Create a Strong Password
To help you create a strong password that protects your company's sensitive data, here's an overview of the most important things to know about creating them.
Use a mix of numbers, upper case letters, lower case letters and symbols. Consider using a secure password generator.
Use a minimum password length (e.g. 12 characters).
Avoid common words found in the dictionary.
Don't use the same password for multiple accounts.
Choose a password that's easy to remember but hard to guess; or, consider using an app that generates strong and random passwords for you.
Make sure that your password isn't stored insecurely somewhere else (e.g. in a document) and don't share a password in an insecure manner (e.g. in an unencrypted email).
Keep track of all your passwords—use a password manager.
Change your passwords regularly.
The Benefits of Password Managers
Password managers have become increasingly popular among users because they help manage multiple accounts and make it easier to remember complex passwords. They also provide additional features such as auto-fill and password strength checking.
Password managers essentially store passwords in an encrypted vault.
There are many different types of password management solutions available today including desktop applications, web apps, and smartphone apps. Some of the most popular ones include LastPass and 1Password.
There are several benefits associated with using a password manager. For example, they allow you to store your credentials securely online instead of storing passwords locally on your computer or mobile device. This makes it much harder for hackers to access your data. In addition, many password managers have browser extensions that can automatically fill out forms and logins for you so you don't need to type them in every time.
The Benefits of Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA), also known as multi factor authentication, is one way to further increase the security of your accounts by adding another layer of protection against unauthorized access. It requires both something you know (your username/email address) and something you possess (a physical device like a smartphone or computer), which makes it more difficult for someone to access your account without access to both those key pieces of data and physical item.
There are many benefits of using 2FA:
Increased Security - 2FA provides an extra layer of security beyond simply entering a username and password. This makes it much more difficult for criminals to gain access to your accounts, even if they have obtained your login credentials.
Convenience - You only need to provide your login credentials and the 2FA code, instead of having to type in a long string of characters.
Reduced Risk of Fraud - When used in combination with other security measures, 2FA can help reduce the risk of fraud.
Greater peace of mind - Knowing that your accounts are protected by 2FA can give you greater peace of mind when using online services.
While two-factor authentication can add additional steps to log in, it does so in a way that doesn't overly inconvenience users.
There are several ways to set up two-factor authentication:
SMS text message verification - This method sends a code via text message when you attempt to log in from a new device.
Authenticator App - This method uses a mobile application to generate codes that you must enter before logging in.
YubiKey - This method allows you to authenticate yourself by entering a secret key on your keyboard.
The benefits of two-factor authentication include increased security, convenience, and user satisfaction.
How to Implement Password Policies
In order to protect your business' information, you should consider implementing some form of password policy.
When it comes to implementing password policies, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
The policy should be easy to follow and understand.
Employees should be required to change their passwords on a regular basis (e.g., every 90 days).
The policy should prohibit the use of common dictionary words and personal information (e.g., birthdates, mother's maiden name, etc.).
Employees should be encouraged to use a mix of characters (numbers, upper and lower case letters, symbols) when creating passwords.
The policy should require the use of two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Password recovery mechanisms should be in place in case an employee loses access to their account.
The policy should be reviewed on a regular basis and updated as necessary.
Employees should be made aware of the policy and its importance.
Training should be provided to employees on how to create strong passwords and use two-factor authentication.
Finally, the policy should be enforced by managers and IT staff.
By following these guidelines, businesses can develop password policies that are both effective and user-friendly.
How to Educate Employees about Password Security
In order to ensure secure password best practices are adopted, it is critically important to educate employees. One way to do this is by providing them with training on your specific password policies, and how to create strong passwords and use two-factor authentication. This training should include the following:
The importance of password security
The details of your company's password policies
How to use your company's chosen password manager and two-factor authentication
What to do if they lose access to any of their work accounts or they discover a compromised account
Employees must be made aware of the password security policy and its importance, and managers should enforce the policy by monitoring employee activity and providing feedback when necessary.
By following these guidelines, businesses can ensure that their employees are properly educated on password security and are more likely to follow the policy.
Businesses that want to keep their data and systems safe should ensure the use of secure passwords by implementing password security policies that include two-factor authentication.
Employees should be educated on how to create strong passwords and use password management and two-factor authentication whenever possible. Managers should enforce the policy by providing adequate training, monitoring employee activity, and providing feedback when necessary.
By following these guidelines, businesses can ensure that their employees are properly trained on password security and more likely to follow the policy. These password practices are an important component of your business' cyber security.
Advannova is the leading point of sale and credit card processing company in Texas. For more than 30 years, we have developed our own highly secure, innovative, and reliable point of sale and merchant service software for businesses. Contact Advannova today for a demo of our business solutions