Safe password management is one of the most important keystones of business cybersecurity. According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, a staggering 61% of hacking-related breaches harnessed either stolen or weak passwords. The larger your startup team grows over time, the more difficult it is to retroactively implement protocols and strategies to keep your data secure.
To help you stay safe from the start, here are four tips to keep your business data protected with nigh uncrackable passwords.
Ensure Password Strength
First off, pay attention to both password complexity and length. A secure password ideally includes a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Plus, the longer passwords are, the less likely it is that a hacker can crack it with a brute force, that is, by running through all possible options. Today, according to Tekeurope, it only takes half a minute to crack an exclusively lowercase six-digit password. The algorithm can try just short of 310 million combinations in that space.
In contrast, a secure ten-digit password using alphanumeric and special characters has 4,923,990,397,355,877,376 possible combinations. The same algorithm would have to run for over 15,000 years to crack this.
Implement 2FA or MFA
In addition, make sure to activate two-factor authentication (2FA) or even multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever you can.
With two-factor authentication, you log into an account with a combination of passwords and a physical device. Either you will be sent a security code, or you or your team can verify their identity using a particular app to log in. MFA uses another level of security, another checkbox that you and your team have to tick to access an account. This might be a security question, the location you’re logging in from, or biometrics – like a fingerprint.
Create a Cybersecurity Policy and Raise Awareness
Cybersecurity awareness is crucial when it comes to safe password management. You need to make it clear to your team members what secure passwords are, how to create them, and why it’s essential to use them. The most efficient way to do that is to include an emphasis on password security in your startup’s cybersecurity policy, and to highlight it during training sessions for both existing and new team members.
Your cybersecurity policy should also include provisions to prevent password sharing, what to do in the event of a breach, and how to handle someone’s accounts when they leave your team.
Use a High-Quality Password Manager
Finally, you should get a secure password manager for your entire team. This is an application that will help you generate and store highly secure passwords. All you have to do is remember one master password or passphrase.
Using a business password management system allows you to vet existing passwords. It will tell you how secure each password is when it was created, and if it is reused across platforms. This makes it a breeze to enforce your policies.
The Bottom Line
Maintaining high password security is one of the most important ways to protect your startup in the virtual sphere. By setting strength standards for safe password management, implementing 2FA, creating a cybersecurity policy, and using a password manager, you can ensure that hackers will find your defenses too tough a nut to crack.