By Published On: April 13, 2024

Your passwords are the digital keys to your business’s sensitive data. Unfortunately, weak or poorly managed passwords are a prime target for hackers. Implementing robust password security practices is essential for every small business to protect against cyberattacks and costly data breaches, but if you do it right, it’s almost certainly easier that your current process!

Best Practices for Password Security

  • Length is Key: Longer passwords are harder to crack. Aim for at least 12-15 characters.
  • Mix it Up: Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols.
  • Avoid Common Words and Patterns: Stay away from dictionary words, birthdays, or keyboard patterns (qwerty).
  • Unique Passwords: Never reuse the same password for multiple accounts. If one account is compromised, the rest stay protected.
  • Change Passwords Regularly: Update your passwords every 3-6 months, but don’t fall into a predictable pattern! Adding one to the number at the end of the previous password, or having your password be something easy to guess like “Spring2024” will make your passwords easier to guess, not harder. (In fact, only change your passwords regularly if you can randomly generate it each time, otherwise it’s actually better to skip this step!)

Tools to Help with Proper Password Security

  • Password Managers: Secure applications like LastPass, 1Password, or Dashlane can generate unique, complex passwords and store them safely for you. We use 1Password here at Seven Star Systems, and have helped clients deploy it in their organizations, too!
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): This adds an extra layer of security. If someone does learn your username and password, they still won’t be able to log into your account without having access to your authenticator app or mobile phone. (Tip: 1Password can manage your MFA tokens, and auto-fill them for you!)
  • Passkeys: If at all possible, use a passkey instead of a password. These are encrypted files that are stored by your operating system or password manager. When asked by the website, your browser will verify your identity with biometrics, then present the correct passkey for you. (Tip: 1Password can store these too! Even better, it will sync them across all of your devices for you as well.)

Additional Tips for Small Businesses

  • Educate Your Employees: Emphasize the importance of password security and train them on best practices.
  • Enforce Strong Password Policies: Use technology to require strong passwords and regular changes.
  • Limit Access: Provide employees with access only to the data and systems they absolutely need for their role.
  • Have a Breach Response Plan: Know what to do immediately if you suspect a password has been compromised.

Protecting Your Business Starts with Strong Passwords

Implementing these best practices might seem like a hassle, but the consequences of a data breach are far worse. The good news is that with a proper system in place, managing passwords properly will actually be easier, not harder! Password security is a fundamental aspect of cybersecurity, and every employee has a role to play.

Making the Jump to Secure Practices

Is your business taking password security seriously? If you’re unsure, let’s talk! Contact us for a security assessment and recommendations to strengthen your password practices. We can help educate your team and implement the right tools to protect your valuable business data.