Using strong passwords is one of the last lines of defense in business IT between you and a hacker.  To ensure that your company data is safe, make sure you and your team know how to create strong passwords.

We’re often asked if it’s ok to use the same password for “everything”, or whether each account should have its own unique password.

Best practices dictate that you use a different password for each application or account you use.  Of course, that can be challenging in real life, especially with warnings such as “don’t write your passwords down on Post-It notes” and “make sure you change your passwords every 90 days”.

Our best advice for managing passwords is to use a password manager, such as RoboForm, LastPass or LogMeOnce, to help you securely store and easily retrieve passwords.  These are inexpensive tools that can make your life easier while helping to protect your data.

A few other tips:

  • A strong password should be at least 8 characters, using both upper and lower case, numbers and special characters as permitted by the device.
  • Avoid using a single word as your password.  “Dictionary words” are hackable in under 20 minutes – maybe under 10.
  • Stay away from passwords that are easily identified with you, such as names of pets or family members.
  • Avoid sharing passwords.  Each user should have his or her unique passwords, even on a shared computer.  The more people who know the password, the greater the risk of a breach.
  • Consider developing password standards as part of your overall IT policies and procedures.

Here’s a sampling from the list of the “Worst Passwords of 2015” as determined by Splash Data. “Worst” also translates into “most common, therefore most likely to be hacked.”  If you’re using any of the passwords below, change them immediately:

  • 123456
  • password
  • qwertyuiop
  • football
  • abc123
  • 111111
  • 1qaz2wsx
  • letmein
  • passw0rd
  • starwars

Using strong passwords in your business is one of the most important ways users can help thwart the efforts of hackers.  When you and your staff know how to create strong passwords, you’re helping protect your business.

If your business needs help managing IT, contact CRU Solutions.