In today’s technology-driven marketplace, data security is a major concern for businesses of all sizes. Consumers also place a lot of importance on the security of the businesses they patronize, being that identity theft and data breaches continue to become more common and can have devastating effects. One of the first steps to data security and having a secure environment at your business is creating a strong password policy. Such a policy will help every member of your workforce know exactly how to keep their data private. Here are key aspects to include in your new password policy.
Allow Paste-In Passwords
In the past, it was standard policy to not allow users to copy and paste their passwords into password fields. This has changed, however, due to the need for longer passwords and the increased usage of password managers, where people can store, organize and easily access their passwords when needed. Copy and pasting passwords help your employees keep a different password for each online account they use, which improves security by reducing the chances of one hacked account quickly turning into multiple breaches across a wide range of accounts.
Setting a proper minimum and maximum character amount for all passwords used in your business is a critical part of any effective password policy. A high minimum character count keeps employees from choosing short, simple passwords that are easy for hackers to guess. A high maximum character count encourages them to use longer passwords, which is now more convenient than ever thanks to secure password managers.
Search Compromised Passwords
Hackers use lists containing millions of successfully compromised passwords when they try to get access to an account. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone on your staff is to have them search any of the numerous online databases for previously-cracked passwords before choosing a password of their own. Have them search for a password option until they find one that hasn’t already been indexed by hackers. It’s also important to re-check for compromised passwords periodically, as the lists of hacked passwords constantly changes and growing over time.
Limit Login Attempts
Limiting the number of times a person can unsuccessfully try to access an account is an extremely effective way of preventing data breaches within your business. One of the most popular ways hackers attempt to crack passwords is through an automated script that tries thousands of passwords in succession until one works; limiting login attempts makes impossible. Be sure your workforce is aware of your limited login attempts policy, as it will encourage them to be more diligent about their passwords and not waste any time by exceeding their login attempt limit.
The Power of Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is used to enhance account security by requiring users to provide additional forms of authentication other than their passwords. Examples of multi-factor authentication methods include PIN numbers, captchas, swipe cards, fingerprint recognition, personal security questions and more. The implementation of multi-factor authentication alone will greatly reduce the chances of data being compromised at your business, and it’s a simple addition to make to your existing login processes. Detail what multi-factor authentication is in your password policy, and push your employees to take such precautions seriously as they access and manage their various accounts.
These are just a few of the most important steps to creating a strong password policy. By embracing multi-factor authentication, limiting login attempts, allowing paste-in passwords, setting appropriate character limits and avoiding compromised passwords, you are one step closer to keeping your business and all of its data will be safe.
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