They are straightforward and remarkably effective.
The wired world offers us an embarrassment of conveniences: online banking, paper-free bills, a place to put all your photos, endless music storage, and every movie ever made. There is, of course, a price to pay for this bounty. Security is the necessary evil that acts as the de facto lock on your virtual safe or file cabinet. To achieve it, most individuals and businesses rely on the most elemental of solutions—the password.
The average internet user has dozens if not hundreds of these clusters of letters, numbers, and symbols that govern their digital lives. To keep them in check, many individuals and a growing number of businesses turn to password managers, which can store existing passwords and generate new ones that fit the modern security landscape.
Is a password manager the right solution for your business? Consider the following:
It keeps things simple.
Rather than commit this dizzying amount of information to memory (or worse, a patchwork of post-it notes and plain text files), a manager reduces the user’s burden to a single password. The password manager keeps the rest under lock and key. After a while, most users won’t even remember it’s there. It typically runs in the background and notices when you navigate to a login screen.
When you type a new password, the manager will ask if you want it saved. After that, the manager fills it in automatically. It will also speak up when a password is insecure or a duplicate and offer to come up with something a little stronger.
Better still, a password manager generates new passwords for you, sidestepping the mental block we all have of needing to find yet another variation on our kids’ names or childhood street address. It assigns a random combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, removing any subconscious patterns or common themes that would otherwise exist between passwords.
It keeps your business safe.
This may seem like an obvious point, but a surprising number of businesses rely on a patchwork system of password management that varies across the business and personal tools, rather than a single, third-party solution.
One of the most common missteps is the reliance on web browsers to do the heavy lifting. Most modern browsers offer to save your passwords, and it’s easy for this to lull you into a false sense of safety.
Browser security encryption is generally considered weaker than most third-party systems and is more vulnerable to malware and viruses. Most browsers don’t automatically detect and update password changes. Anyone who sits down at your computer or accesses it remotely can access your passwords, as the browser helpfully auto-fills them in.
A password manager requires your master password every time you log on, thereby reducing the likelihood of foul play by hackers (or unscrupulous colleagues). Third-party encryption is strong enough that even the staff of these companies can’t access the passwords.
It keeps both personal and business accounts secure.
Some larger businesses maintain their own internal password management systems, but this, too, can have its limitations. A combination of single sign-on (SSO) vendors and cloud access security brokers helps manage employee access to company services and information. The tricky part is that many of these custom solutions leave out software or apps that fall outside of what the system was designed to support.
For example, if employees decide to use a collaborative program like Dropbox or Evernote for a project, many of them may already have personal accounts with these services and opt to use those. Even if they create separate business accounts, the company-wide security protocols may not cover them. The malware only needs a small opening like this to exploit an entire company.
Password managers are also useful in navigating accounts accessed by multiple employees, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Amazon cloud services. Perhaps most importantly, once an employee leaves a company, they lose access to the business passwords but can continue any personal password lists.
It keeps your company from becoming a statistic.
Last fall, a company called One Identity published a survey of global IT security professionals and found that 36 percent of companies surveyed used spreadsheets and 18 percent used paper as their password security system.
If left to their own devices, employees don’t always make the smartest security decisions. Whether you keep a file on your desktop marked “passwords.doc” (as happened in the Sony hack), a note in your phone, or a yellow pad that sits in plain sight on your desk, it’s clear why password managers have become far more common and are worth considering to keep business data secure. Need help deciding which password manager is the best for your business? Check out our other blog to learn more about our trusted password manager and why we love it.
Network Computer Pros is a full-service Managed IT Service provider for South Florida businesses. We offer reliable, cost-effective computer support for which you pay a fixed price with no extra charges for onsite visits or hardware changes. To learn more about our services, and set up a free consultation, reach out to us today at 954-880-0388.