It’s one thing to reuse the password you made up in middle school for you personal Facebook account and your Target wedding registry, but when it comes to your business, that’s a habit you need to shake. You really shouldn’t be doing it for any personal accounts either, especially social media accounts!
Let’s be honest with each other for a minute—how many of your accounts have the same password? If you answered “none,” then congratulations! You’re either more secure than most, or you’re lying. If you’re looking around your office sheepishly and thinking, “Who, me?” then you need this information.
Regardless of what you answered, however, too many people do this. In fact, Virginia Tech found that more than 50% of people reuse the same password for different accounts.
It’s no secret that data security is a hot topic nowadays. There’s so much important information out there, most of it floating around in cyberspace. Especially if your business is involved, you should be taking every measure possible to protect it. The good news? Most security measures don’t take a lot of effort on your part!
The first step you need to take is to stop using the same password for everything. If you’re panicking at the thought, there’s no reason to fret—there are plenty of ways to ensure that you don’t end up losing or forgetting all of your important separate passwords.
Alongside multi-factor authentication, which we discussed in our last blog, using a password manager is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself online. Password managers are secure, automated, and completely digital—so you can throw away that little sticky note in your desk with all of your important passwords on it.
Not only do password managers save your passwords securely, but they also generate strong new ones for you when you sign up for new accounts online. Have you ever blatantly ignored that little password strength bar, because you didn’t want to change your usual password? Yeah, us too. Password managers can create extremely strong passwords for you every time that are really hard to hack.
They can store other important data too, like credit card numbers, addresses, bank account information—really any online data that you want protected. All of your information is protected by one strong master password, which is the only thing you have to remember.
Now, how do you share certain account passwords with others without giving them access to all of your accounts? A lot of password managers have “family plans” that are just as secure, but you’re able to share certain accounts with employees, business partners, investors, or whoever without giving them access to everything.
Essentially, even the most basic password managers will still do a lot for you. Some of these include Google’s Smart Lock and Apple’s Keychain—these will generate, save, and auto-fill passwords. There are some, however, that do a lot more. Managers like 1Password or LastPass will do all of those things, as well as alert you when you’re reusing a password, tell you when passwords are too weak (when you’re coming up with them—they can still generate passwords for you), and let you know when an online account is hacked and your passwords have been exposed.
When thinking about your master password, there can be a lot of pressure—the password to protect all of your passwords certainly seems weighty. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated.
Our advice would be this:
Instead of a long string of upper and lowercase letters mixed with random symbols, we recommend creating a password that’s long and memorable—like a string of random words separated by dashes or periods. For example, “doorframe-automatic-lieutenant-bytesize.” Even if you have to look up how to spell “lieutenant” later, this is a great password because it’s equal parts memorable and hard to hack.
If you’re still worried about forgetting your master password, we’d recommend writing it down (yes, actually writing!) on a piece of paper, and storing that piece of paper somewhere very safe, like an actual safe, or desk drawer that locks. This mixture of digital and physical security is the best way to protect all of your passwords.
Now that you’ve read all of this, there’s no excuse to keep using the same password! It’s time to upgrade. And when you’re ready for even more security, give us a call.