Cybersecurity awareness month is here, and there’s no better time to remind employees about the importance of implementing a strong password policy. While it may seem like a no-brainer, statistics show that weak and easily guessed passwords are still one of the leading causes of data breaches. In fact, according to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, 50% of confirmed data breaches involved weak or stolen passwords.
This is especially concerning for businesses, as the consequences of a data breach can be devastating. To help mitigate the risk of a breach, it’s crucial to have a strong password policy in place. Here is how you can create a strong password policy for your business.
What Is a Strong Password Policy?
A strong password policy is a set of rules designed to create passwords that are difficult to guess or crack. These policies typically include requirements for password length, complexity, and expiration.
Why Is a Strong Password Policy Important?
Strong passwords are a crucial part of cybersecurity awareness month, and they go hand-in-hand with this year’s theme, “See Yourself in Cyber.” A strong password policy is important because it helps employees protect business data and encourages them to be more aware of the threats they face online. By implementing a strong password policy, your business can make it more difficult for cyber criminals to gain access to its confidential data.
Cybercriminals often use brute force attacks to guess passwords, and if they’re able to crack your password, they may be able to gain access to sensitive information. If they manage to gain access to this information, they damage your company in the following ways:
- Financial Loss: A cyber criminal could use your company’s financial information to make unauthorized purchases or transfers.
- Loss of Customers: If your customers’ personal information is stolen, they may lose trust in your company and take their business elsewhere.
- Damage to Your Reputation: A data breach could damage your company’s reputation, making it difficult to attract new customers or partners.
- Compliance Issues: If the cybercriminal commits a crime using your company’s data, your business could be held liable and be required to pay a costly fine.
- Permanent Closure: In some cases, a data breach could lead to the permanent closure of your business. About 60% of businesses that experience a data breach permanently close within six months of the breach.
Best Practices for Implementing a Strong Password Policy
Part of cybersecurity awareness month consists of improving your company’s security posture. To help you get started, here are some best practices for implementing a strong password policy:
1. Use Strong Passwords – Strong passwords should be at least 8 characters long and contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
2. Don’t Reuse Passwords – One of the most common mistakes people make is reusing passwords. If a cybercriminal gains access to one of your accounts, they will then try to use that same password to gain access to other accounts.
3. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication – Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring you to enter a second code, which is typically sent to a separate device, in addition to your password.
4. Use a Password Manager – A password manager is a software program that helps you generate and store strong passwords. This can be a helpful tool if you have trouble creating and remembering strong passwords.
5. Change Your Passwords Regularly – While cybersecurity awareness month only lasts one month out of the year, it’s critical for the safety of your business and personal data to make security a year-round priority. One way to do this is to change your passwords regularly. You should change your passwords every 3-6 months to help reduce the risk of them being compromised.
6. Don’t Share Your Passwords – Make it a rule that you don’t share your passwords with anyone, as this could give them access to your account. If you must share your password in a special circumstance, make sure you do so in a secure way, such as over the phone or in person. Avoid sending it using easily intercepted methods.
Protect Your Passwords with Brightline IT
At Brightline IT, we’re strong supporters of cybersecurity awareness month and understand the importance of password security. We’re here to help you protect your business’s data. We offer a variety of services, including password management and multi-factor authentication, that can help you keep your passwords safe.
To learn more about our services or to get started, contact us today. We’re here to help you keep your business protected.