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Does Your Business Have a Password Problem?

Does Your Business Have a Password Problem?

The problem with passwords is that they're not very user-friendly...

One of two things generally happens with end-users. They either forget their passwords and lock themselves out of their systems...or which is much more dangerous… they do the sticky note. Walkthrough any office and it’s a sure bet that you will find sticky notes with a password on it pasted to a computer monitor. The more security conscience end-user usually puts them under the keyboard. They don’t want the cleaning company to have their passwords.

Mandatory corporate password changes every 90 days soon came into vogue. It was assumed that required password changes every 90 days would improve security. Epic fail. When people are forced to change their passwords they will not put a whole lot of mental muscle behind it. Instead, it was found that people tended to create passwords that followed predictable patterns, called ‘transformations,’ such as incrementing a number, changing a letter to a similar-looking symbol (changing an S to a $), adding or deleting a special character (going from three exclamation points at the end of a password to two), or switching the order of digits or special characters (moving the numbers to the beginning instead of the end). Hackers are not fooled by these transformations.


How To Move Away From Passwords

Over a decade ago, Bill Gates predicted that “computer passwords were not long for this world. They were the weak link in computer security.”

Gates thought we’d be using two-factor authentication. You log in with something you’ve memorized (your password or USERID) and then a security key is sent to a second, predetermined device (typically your cell phone) to unlock the application.

Here are a few alternative options you can use in your office:

Newer versions of Windows include Windows Hello offering enterprise-grade security (using facial recognition) without having to type in a password. Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and most PCs with fingerprint readers already work with Windows Hello.

Cost-effective two-factor authentication keys are available as well. Yubico offers a variety of security keys to protect your in-office and online accounts. Here are a few tips to make your passwords more user-friendly before you can implement two-factor authentication in your business.


Create and Remember a Complicated Password

Make sure you're using a relatively complex password while having no problem remembering it. Use a sentence to create your password. I ride a 2015 Harley Davidson! =Ira15HD! or Living in Sarasota since 2005 rules =LiSRQS05!

Lifehacker offers additional tips on strong passwords.

When you're all done, test your password. 

How secure is my password is a great tool to test the strength of your passwords