Simplifying Passwords for Businesses: Best Practices and Tools
Passwords are essential for securing sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access to information. However, managing passwords can be challenging, especially for businesses with multiple (tons of!) accounts and complex passwords. To address this challenge, many companies are exploring password simplification strategies that balance security with ease of use. In this article, we will explore the best practices, tools, and password standards that businesses should implement to simplify their passwords.
Tools for Simplifying Business Passwords
One of the most effective tools for simplifying passwords is a password manager. Password managers generate and store unique and strong passwords for each account, which eliminates the need to remember multiple passwords. They also provide an additional layer of security by encrypting the passwords and storing them in a secure vault. Single Sign-On (SSO) is another tool that can be used to simplify passwords. SSO allows users to log in to multiple applications using a single set of credentials, which simplifies the login process and reduces the need for multiple usernames and passwords. At Kosh we use SSO which makes working a lot easier!
Best Practices for Simplifying Passwords
Businesses should follow best practices when implementing password simplification strategies to ensure that passwords remain secure. Password complexity must be enforced, and passwords should be changed regularly. Two-factor authentication (2FA) should be implemented, and employees should be educated on password best practices. Passwords should be at least 12 characters long and should include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to make them difficult to guess using brute force attacks. Employees should change their passwords at least every 90 days to ensure that passwords remain secure and reduce the risk of unauthorized access. Implementing 2FA adds an additional layer of security to the login process by requiring users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a fingerprint or one-time passcode. Educating employees on password best practices, such as not using the same password for multiple accounts and not sharing passwords with others, can also help reduce the risk of data breaches.
At this point, those tips might seem obvious, but you may be surprised by how often we see companies with lazy passwords that expose the entire company to cyber-attacks.
Benefits of Simplifying Passwords
Simplifying passwords can have several benefits for an organization, including increased security, improved productivity, and cost savings. Strong, unique passwords and the use of password managers and 2FA reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. Simplified passwords reduce the time employees spend resetting forgotten passwords and logging in to multiple accounts, improving productivity. Password management tools and SSO can also reduce the cost of IT support by reducing the number of password-related issues.
Password Standards to Impose
Businesses should impose password standards to ensure that passwords remain secure. These standards should include password complexity, password expiration, password history, and account lockout.
Passwords should be at least 12 characters long and should include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Passwords should be changed at least every 90 days, and employees should not be allowed to reuse their previous passwords. Account lockout should be implemented after a certain number of failed login attempts to prevent brute force attacks.
Interaction with MFA
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security measure that requires users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a fingerprint or one-time passcode, in addition to a password, reducing the risk of unauthorized access even if the password is compromised. When using MFA with password managers, it is crucial to ensure that they are compatible. Many password managers offer MFA as an additional layer of security, but it is necessary to make sure that the MFA method used by the password manager is compatible with the MFA methods used by the applications being accessed. This ensures that the MFA process is seamless and does not cause any delays or issues for employees.
Other Security Measures
Businesses can also implement other security measures to further strengthen their passwords, such as passwordless authentication, multi-factor biometric authentication, and behavioral authentication. Passwordless authentication eliminates the need for passwords altogether by using other forms of authentication, such as biometrics or hardware tokens. Multi-factor biometric authentication combines biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, with a second factor, such as a passcode or hardware token.
Behavioral authentication analyzes user behavior patterns, such as typing speed and mouse movements, to verify their identity - super cool right! Here is a guide from Microsoft on how to get started with passwordless authentication: Enable passwordless sign-in with Microsoft Authenticator.
Don't Neglect Your Passwords!
As you know, passwords are a critical component of cybersecurity, and it's essential for businesses to ensure that their passwords are strong and secure. Simplifying passwords can help reduce the risk of data breaches and improve productivity, while also reducing the cost of IT support. Password managers, SSO, and 2FA are effective tools for simplifying passwords, and businesses should follow password standards and best practices to ensure that their passwords remain secure. By implementing these measures, businesses can reduce the risk of data breaches and protect their sensitive information.
Actionable steps SMB owners or decision makers can take to simplify their passwords:
Implement a password manager: A password manager generates and stores strong, unique passwords for every account, eliminating the need to remember multiple passwords.
Enforce password complexity: Passwords should be at least 12 characters long and include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to make it difficult for hackers to guess passwords. Passphrases work really well!
Regularly change passwords: Employees should be required to change their passwords at least every 90 days to ensure that passwords remain secure and reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
Implement two-factor authentication (2FA): 2FA adds an additional layer of security to the login process by requiring users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a fingerprint or one-time passcode.
Educate employees on password best practices: Employees should be taught not to use the same password for multiple accounts and not to share passwords with others.
By implementing these steps, SMB owners or decision makers can simplify their passwords while maintaining strong security measures.
The information contained in this communication is intended for limited use for informational purposes only. It is not considered professional advice, and instead, is general information that may or may not apply to specific situations. Each case is unique and should be evaluated on its own by a professional qualified to provide advice specifically intended to protect your individual situation. Kosh is not liable for improper use of this information.