Password manager could solve SMB online security woes
With complex cyberattacks and serious data breaches grabbing headlines in the online security community, it is understandable for under-resourced small and medium-size businesses to feel overwhelmed. However, strong password protection fundamentals may go a long way toward limiting risk.
"A state-of-the-art security system won't much matter if a hacker gets a hold of an employee's password," explained InformationWeek contributor Kevin Casey in his latest column. "That's much more likely to happen if you take a laissez-faire approach - or none at all - to creating and protecting passwords."
This may actually be good news for SMB managers, according to Casey. Considering internal policy changes "require next to no budget," a lack of resources is no longer a barrier to effective online security. Conversely, tight purse strings are also no longer a viable excuse for inaction.
To take better control of their data protection destinies, Casey suggests companies take a closer look at their password fundamentals. For example, many employees still rely on simple, easy-to-guess passwords. This has proven to be true even among IT administrators, leaving critical infrastructure open to attack. The paradox seems to be that the stronger a password is, the harder it is to remember. But with the advent of password manager tools, users can utilize complex combinations without fear of forgetting them.
Password manager software also addresses the problem of recycling passwords as it creates and stores a new code for each user account.
"Unique passwords help stop the bleeding much faster if a password is leaked or stolen - otherwise access to a Twitter account can suddenly turn into bank accounts, health information, customer databases and other sensitive areas," Casey noted.
Once these important considerations are addressed, a few advanced strategies can be deployed to further reduce a company's risk exposure. For example, it may be the perfect time to tackle the hazards of employee mobile device use as well.
According to the latest research from Check Point Software, 71 percent of IT professionals believe that the rise of smartphones and tablets has directly correlated to the escalation of online security issues within their organizations. With everything from internal emails to customer data hanging in the balance, companies should insist that all employees password-protect their devices and critical applications. Once again, this simple practice can go a long way toward limiting damage in the event of device loss or theft.