Protecting your company data from cyber criminals, including your financial and banking data, as well as your customer data is essential. And one of the easiest ways to do this is with strong password protection. In fact, back in 2016 more than 60% of small business cyber attacks involved weak passwords. So for protected networks, that require employees to log in to use, ensuring you set a strong password policy is the first, and simplest, step to cyber security. So how can small businesses improve password security? And how can this help to prevent cyber crime? Well, here at Creative Network Solutions, we are Manchester’s leading IT support and network services experts. And this is our guide to everything you should know about creating a strong password policy.
How can small businesses improve password security?
Small businesses can improve the password policy by following a number of simple, actionable steps. These include:
- Following the 8+4 rule- This is a rule that can help you develop a strong password that is difficult to guess or crack. Essentially you use eight characters, and then add one upper and one lower case, a special character like an asterisk or a dollar sign, and a number.
- Spread the characters out- instead of piling your plus four right at the beginning or end, spread out your numbers and special symbols. This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access.
- Use a passphrase- using an abbreviated passphrase, where you take the first letter of each word as your standard characters can be significantly effective. For example using TSWCOT for The Sun will Come Out Tomorrow is both memorable and extremely difficult to guess. Remember to add symbols and numbers to make this even more effective.
- Avoid dictionary words- dictionary programs that search for clear words in your password, based on words in the dictionary, have been around for a very long time. So you can be sure that using a word that can be found in the dictionary, is not going to be as effective. That’s why interlacing symbols and numbers, or using a passphrase can improve your security.
- Never use the same password twice- using the same password for different accounts is a risk, because once the password is guessed for one account, it can also provide access to further accounts too. And this can leave you even more at risk. So whether its your company Facebook page, email or your financial accounts, choose a strong password, that is not the same as any others.
- Set a lockout limit- aside from choosing a strong and safe password, you can also improve your system security by setting a lockout limit We’ve all forgotten our password from time to time, but any of your employees will be able to resolve this in office, while remote cyber criminals will be locked out for good. If this system also includes an automatic email, you will be notified immediately about any potential security breaches.
For more information or advice, why not ask the experts today, here at Creative Network Solutions.