Almost all information needed for business systems and processes is stored and backed up online. However, some organizations today still have insufficient security and password programs to keep their online information and network safe. And regardless of company size, you may easily become a target of account breaches and cyberthreats if you have a weak password policy.
So how can a business implement a strong password policy? Having an efficient password manager and services provider lets you securely store and manage your organization’s passwords in one protected place. Organizations can also implement a multi-factor authentication system for an extra layer of security in their programs.
Best Practices for Secure Password Management for Organizations
Before the era of computers and internet systems, the traditional way of safekeeping password information involved manual master listing or spreadsheets. While they’re still applicable today, the lack of security in these files makes it easy for anyone to access, download, and alter the data. There’s also a lack of an audit trail which makes it difficult to identify breaches or changes.
Having a reliable managed services provider and strong password management tool is the first step to ensure that your business’s data and client information is secure. Here are some of the ideal password protection practices that your company can implement:
- Enforce complex and unique passwords
Passwords that contain common phrases and simple characters are the ones that are easily compromised. One of the key foundations of a strong password security framework is to require all users to create unique passwords. On the password creation page, set a password length of at least 8 characters and put that they should create a password with a mix of digits, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters.
- Avoid using personal information
Users should be forbidden from using or including any sensitive information in their passwords. These can include information such as real name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, or city of birth. This makes their data more prone to unauthorized access since the password is easy to guess.
- Set password age limits
A business administrator can also require users and employees to change their passwords periodically. This helps strengthen network security in case a hacker has already gotten hold of an existing password. When a password reaches the maximum age limit, it automatically expires and prompts the user to create a new one. Depending on your security needs, you may send a notification for updating passwords every 30, 60, or 90 days. You should also set a minimum age limit to prevent individuals from changing their passwords multiple times a week. Consider setting at least 3 to 7 days for the minimum age limit.
- Avoid reusing old passwords
When it’s time to change the password, a good password policy dictates that users must refrain from reusing old passwords. There are users who may try to be resourceful and just change a single character to make their old password seem new. However, this still makes it easy for a hacker to guess the password.
This can be done by setting up a notification that alerts users of their password strength status. Having a password history that keeps track of all used passwords helps remind a user to avoid inputting their usual passwords. A password generator can also help suggest strong and random passwords containing unique characters and letters which will be hard for a hacker to decipher.
- Have a multi-factor authentication system
A multi-factor authentication (MFA) system is an electronic authentication method. With MFA, are asked to provide two or more layers of identity verification for that extra layer of security. This system asks a user to identify their information before they can open a website, account, or application.
There are many ways you can ask a user to provide MFA such as security questions, one-time passwords, phone authentication, or biometric verification via fingerprint or retina scanning. Some security policies require only two-factor authentication while others implement multi-factor authentication for better security.
With an MFA system in place, users are better assured of their information and account security because they can also be notified whenever someone attempts to log in using their credentials.
- Avoid login sharing
Remind users and employees to avoid giving away their login information and credentials to other people. As much as possible, businesses should enforce that each associate and member should have their account and password to prevent security problems. Giving unique login info to each employee also helps keep track of any changes and issues that may arise within the organization.
- Set up a password audit
A password manager should also have a password audit feature that allows your business to see if there have been any password changes or hacking that have been attempted. It will also monitor your employees’ compliance with keeping a strong password and assess the strength and security of your company’s password network. A good password audit will protect your business from future breaches and information theft.
- Use encryption tools to manage password information
Encryption is the process of converting written information to hard-to-decipher codes or symbols. This makes it difficult for attackers to read and identify your login credentials. When choosing a password management tool, you should look for a system that has a secure data encryption feature to protect your user’s password information.
- Use different passwords for each program
Similar to avoiding the reuse of old passwords, each user and employee must have a unique designated password for every system that they have access to. Whether it’s using a VPN, accessing a client database, or logging in to an account, they should have a different password to avoid having all their data compromised in case of a hacker attack.
- Regularly educate staff on security policy
Password security and cyberthreats awareness training should be done regularly to remind staff of the importance of following the business’s password policy. It’s also important to train them on possible risks and how to mitigate them for them to have a clearer understanding and appreciation of better password management.
Why Is a Good Password Policy Important
Many cases of data breaches happen because of stolen identification or easily compromised password credentials. As such, implementing a strong password policy that everyone in the organization will adhere to can prevent these cyberattacks from happening. Other benefits of having a good password security policy are:
- Streamlines company’s management and auditing processes
- Enforces multi-layered security on your systems
- Empowers staff to have more control over the protection of their data
- Protects organization’s assets and confidential information
- Gives customers assurance that their data is also safe with your business
Comprehensive Online Security Solutions With Abacus
Business owners and administrators already have so many things to work on to keep their organization running. Having an efficient and reliable security and IT systems provider, like Abacus, can help support your company and safeguard your information with comprehensive password management and security systems.
With a highly experienced team of engineers and support staff, Abacus is a trusted provider of security, maintenance, and IT solutions for different businesses across industries. We offer extensive plans and programs for systems integration, security, management, and more. Contact us today and find out how you can best protect your business from online threats.