The password you choose is the key to a resource that is so valuable, it needs a unique code in order to get in. From email accounts to backend website servers, through to online shopping, training sites and even banking sites, every site which requires password access holds information that you wouldn’t want to spread around to everyone.
For the most part, there are two key reasons for installing passwords: either you want to protect yours, others or the businesses personal information, or you want to only give paying users access to a certain page or specific content.
As a small business, when it comes to creating your website and finetuning your online presence, there are various ways of reaching out to and communicating with your target audience, many of which will require password access both on the part of employees and users.
With that said, why is it so important, now more than ever, that we focus on protecting our passwords for the safety and security of the business?
The importance of strong passwords
No matter what size your business is, or what industry you operate in, passwords are there to protect the information that you hold – from customer addresses for mail order products, to payment details, financial statements, backend website design resources and so much more. Every time you have to enter a password, you are gaining access to something which is otherwise locked.
And, just as you would give a second thought to whether or not you locked your front door when you left home in the morning, it is important to put a strong password in place which cannot be hacked or guessed.
All too often we see businesses who install password protection but put little focus on it, believing that they don’t have much worth protecting. These passwords can be as short and basic as the employee likes, with no need to update the password on a semi-regular basis. But this is where mistakes can happen, with hackers across the globe preying on these small businesses with no security; wreaking havoc on their internal operations, releasing customer data on a public scale, and even sending out fake communications which invite users and customers to enter more detail which the hacker can use to do even more damage.
Slate’s top tips for managing secure passwords
A secure password is, contrary to popular belief, NOT one which you find easy to remember. Choosing your favourite pet’s name, and then adding a number ‘1’ to the end of it, is unfortunately no longer enough in a world where technology is both a blessing and a curse. By following our tips to ensuring your password security is as strong as possible, not only will you be in a better position to protect the integrity of your business, but you will also be well placed to protect the identity and personal information of users and customers.
1. Let’s start with a tip for all users, regardless of status and/or level in the business. You must never enter a password and access private business files over an insecure WiFi connection, such as one in a public place or a café. Insecure WiFi means that hackers can very easily jump in and gain access to any information you enter, and so by logging in through one of these connections you are essentially giving them free access to your user resources.
2. As a business, insist on users and employees updating and changing their password every few weeks, in order to ramp up security and ensure that weak points are never found by hackers. Introducing a series of limitations will further enhance this, for example, a minimum character limit, requiring numbers and special characters as well as letters, and displaying a scale that indicates a password is strong, medium, or weak.
3. Don’t share passwords across different accounts, and never write them down to help you to remember them.
4. Limit employee and user access to only the areas that they need in order to perform their role to the best of their ability. If they don’t need access to certain areas, then block their ability to enter that part of the database. This relies on regular website maintenance which is a service we provide here at Slate to support the upkeep of your website security and can be beneficial in keeping user numbers as low as possible when dealing with sensitive information.
5. Prevent users from saving their own unique passwords on company-wide devices and computer systems. Storing passwords is something that modern technology has introduced as a way of making everyday life easier, however, this technology should be limited to personal devices and only those which a hacker or thief could not easily open by themselves.
6. Invest in the right level of backend website design, which will ensure you have all of these password protection systems in place. This includes regular monitoring of your customer data and system security, checking for hacking attempts and ensuring that employees are not trying to log in from remote locations without prior approval. Here at Slate, our services include design, maintenance, and hosting among other website offerings, which can help you to keep both your company and your customer information safe.
The simple fact is that while the development of technology and innovation is no doubt a good thing for many of our business operations and systems, it is also serving to make hackers jobs much easier – with professional hackers constantly finding new ways of breaking into business resources and using the information they find to do irreversible damage.
As a small business, you have a commitment to your clients and customers, and to your employees, to put in place various measures which will ensure a high level of protection and security – encouraging employees to follow regulations and ensure that they are not accessing areas of the business that they shouldn’t.
For more information on password protection or to chat with a member of our team about installing a high level of website security and maintenance, get in touch today.