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Smart Password Practices for Small Businesses

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Dedicated cyber criminals will stop at nothing in their pursuit of valuable data. Since many small businesses keep an assortment of financial information and client data on hand, they tend to be popular targets for hackers, information thieves and other varieties of cyber criminal.

As such, it behooves every small business owner to put the appropriate security measures in place. In addition to securing your WiFi network and utilizing cutting-edge antivirus software, you’ll need to create effective passwords and be vigilant about protecting them. In the quest for data security, small businesses will be well-served by the following tips.

Protect Every Network-enabled Device

Every computer, tablet and smart phone that has access to your network should be outfitted with password protection. While this may prove somewhat cumbersome for your employees, their efforts will go a long way in serving the greater good. Since cyber criminals often seek to infiltrate private networks through unsecured devices, it’s important that everyone in your employ understand the need for password protection. For an added layer of protection, encourage your team members to use different passwords for different devices. This ensures that one device being infiltrated doesn’t necessarily mean that others will fall prey to hackers. Employees who regularly alternate between devices throughout the workday may take issue with this policy, but it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks for everyone to adjust.

Make Your Passwords Impossible to Guess

When creating passwords, far too many people opt for things that are easy to remember. Examples include birthdays, names of loved ones and common turns of phrase. However, in taking this approach, they often make it easier for cyber criminals to guess their passwords. With people sharing a wealth of easily viewable personal information on prominent social media outlets, ascertaining passwords has become easier than ever. While creative passwords may be harder to commit to memory, they offer far more protection than the alternative.

When crafting passwords that are impossible to guess, you should opt for randomness. Nonsensical strings of words followed by random strings of numbers can go a long way in keeping hackers at bay. To ensure that your employees are all on the same page, take care to educate each new hire on the proper way to create passwords and the importance of hybrid cloud security. The sooner a team member starts utilizing impossible-to-guess passwords, the safer your data will be.

Be Very Selective About Whom You Share Passwords With

Your business’s passwords shouldn’t be shared with wild abandon. The only people with regular access to them should be you and your employees, with contractors and clients receiving it on an as-needed basis. The more people you share your passwords with, the greater the likelihood of them falling into the wrong hands. Not only should you be very selective about the people you share passwords with, you should also instruct your employees to do the same. Even if they only share their passwords with friends and family members, they can eventually find their way to people who will misuse them.

For maximum protection, consider imposing consequences on employees who habitually share passwords with unauthorized parties. Acting as a disciplinarian can be difficult for some entrepreneurs, but if password sharing has become a prevalent problem for your business, actionable consequences may be the only way to make your workers realize the severity of what they’ve done.

Regularly Change Things up
Despite the best efforts of security-conscious business owners, passwords are periodically leaked. Although this is purely unintentional in most cases, it still puts your data in danger. As such, it’s recommended that you change your important passwords every few months and require your employees to follow suit. This will keep hackers on their toes and significantly reduce their odds of infiltrating your network.

If your small business’s data falls into the wrong hands, the consequences can be disastrous. If prospective clients discover that your enterprise is prone to hacker attacks, they’re liable to take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, existing clients whose data is compromised as a result of a hack aren’t likely to become repeat customers. With this in mind, every small business owner should make data protection one of their top priorities. When looking for ways to keep important data safe, never underestimate the importance of solid password protection.

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