Information technology specialists strive every day to provide both security and stability to your businesses network. In today’s age of technology, hackers are always a threat and at any given moment can be out there attempting to compromise your network and obtain unauthorized access to your company’s sensitive information. How can both IT professionals and employees seamlessly work together to thwart hackers? A strong company password policy and general password training for your staff is a good place to start.
Password Security Don’ts
Passwords in today’s tech world need to be stronger than ever. While at one time it may have been safe to use your pet’s name or a combination of your nick name and your birthday, today that just won’t fly. When creating passwords you should never use:
- Your kids names
- Phone numbers
- Words found in a dictionary
- Your house number
- Hobbies you enjoy
- Simple number combinations like 12345
- A combination of any of the above, for example your nickname followed by your phone number
Creating a Strong Password
Creating a strong password is simple. You need to just be creative and follow these tips:
- Use at least 9 characters. The longer your password, the harder it will be to break.
- Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
- Your password should be completely random, for example, cD5&j2P0# would be a strong password.
Protecting your password is just as important as coming up with a strong one. First, never share your passwords with anyone. Second, don’t store your passwords where they can easily be found. For example, do not save them on your phone or on your computer. Next, never use the same password for more than one application. If a hacker figures out your password on one account and you have used it everywhere, they can now gain access to all of your accounts. Finally, changing your password often is also a smart idea, making it even harder for hackers to break in.
Developing a Password Security Policy that Works
To keep sensitive information safe, companies can no longer afford to not have a password policy in place for their employees. Educating your staff on your policy is critical. Here are the essentials that should be part of your company’s password policies and procedures:
- Strict guidelines on password creation so that weak passwords cannot be used. For example, set a minimum character count and have passwords contain at least one capital letter and one symbol.
- Have a strict time frame for changing passwords, like every 30-60 days.
- Do not allow employees to reuse old passwords.
- Employees should never be allowed to share their passwords with others.
- Guidelines should clearly state where it is safe/not safe to store passwords.
While it may seem like these password guidelines are a bit overboard, in today’s technological environment companies can never be too safe.