3 Steps to Enhanced Security
Three Steps to Strengthening Your Passwords/Security
By Xan Sharifan
Never underestimate how desirable your business is to hackers. Every size of company holds information that is valuable to hackers. It is important to securely store and access private information, and while cats and dogs make great companions, they make horrible passwords. Unless you come home to a cat named “34567$%^&*hgfj23$%^&*()”, you should never use a pet’s name as a password.
It’s not just pets that make poor passwords. Almost any password that you come up with unassisted is going to be considered weak in security. Forget what the account registration process suggests, adding an additional symbol or number isn’t enough. You either need a cat named “34567$%^&*hgfj23$%^&*()” or a password generator/saving application.
Passwords are just the start of creating secure accounts. You need additional barriers to remain protected. Adding even just one of the following security measures will make a huge impact, but after you read this article and see how easy it is to apply all the suggested additions, you may be adding them all!
1. Password Generating Application:
A prime example of this application is called 1Password. 1Password has a password generator that creates random passwords up to 50 digits long with options to include up to ten symbols and ten numbers. It also saves all your login information in one location making it unnecessary to remember any of your passwords other than the one to log into the program.
The result is extremely secure passwords, saved in one location, easily accessed and easily changed if an account becomes compromised. If somehow one of your accounts is breached and your password is taken, you can rest easy knowing all of your passwords are different. Some hacker is not going to be able to take that Pinterest password and apply it to all your email logins until they find their way into your online bank portal.
The application is great for personal use and even better for a business that needs to manage employees and their access to multiple accounts, document sharing and organizing teams. Your company’s security is only as strong as your weakest employee password. Stay strong by keeping their access to your information secure.
2. 2-Step Verification:
You’ve been compromised! A hacker has successfully stolen your account information and is logging in as we speak. Think of how much damage they can do by either going on a quick rampage or by remaining silent and slyly stealing from you for months to come. BUT! As they click to login they are greeted with the notification “Two-Step Authentication Required”. Crisis averted.
2-Step Verification is essentially an additional, constantly changing, password that protects your account. When 2-Step is setup on an account of yours, any time you login to that account you are sent an additional code that must be entered before you are granted access. If you do not enter the correct code you are unable to continue logging in. It is a great last line of defense in the war on hackers.
You can set it so that a code is sent to your phone every time you login to an account such as Gmail or Amazon. You can also download an application like Google Authenticator that shows you your login codes live. But don’t try and memorize them, they change every 10 seconds to a new and completely random combination.
The great thing about 2-Step authentication is that if you ever get a code sent to you without you requesting one, you know that your account/password has been compromised and that it is time to change to a new password.
3. Staying Up-To-Date on Security Breaches:
You can’t solely rely on your security measures and companies to keep your account and personal information secure. You have to do some due diligence of your own when it comes to keeping an eye on how your information is being handled. Companies are hacked and hacked often. That isn’t a question. The only question is how much publicity they want to give the data breach.
Companies are supposed to alert their customers of a data breach, however there have been many attempts to ignore or downplay data breaches. It is always a good idea to keep an eye out for news of any breach and react accordingly.
Take the appropriate measures when you learn of a potential data breach. You should change your passwords, security questions and look into adding
2-step authentication like we previously discussed. Keep in mind that no company is “too big” to be compromised and that keeping your information secure is a shared responsibility.
Passwords are the gateway to all the personal information about our lives. It is important to take pride in increasing your security not only for your own benefit but the benefit of your family. Private information is shared. This means multiple people will be affected by the security breach of one person. This is exceptionally harmful when it comes to your business. Every employee you have accessing private information is a potential weak point.
The three steps for increasing your security are not only simple, they are quick and easy to setup. The only step that requires continuous effort is staying informed about data breaches. The other two are a one-time setup and operate on their own from there. They’re so easy you’re going to have a hard time convincing yourself it isn’t worth taking the time to setup for yourself and your employees.