Password Policies Best Practices
The Importance of Password Security
It is no secret that passwords are the first line of defense to protecting your company’s data. When you have a good password policy in place, an attacker will need more than just a username and password to get into your system – they’ll need knowledge of those specific rules. Organizations often overlook password policies because there are so many other things to worry about, but they’re one of the easiest ways to protect against unauthorized access.
Password security is an essential part of office life. It helps keep sensitive documents and information private and protects computer systems from hackers who want to take control. A firm password policy can help your employees develop good habits that will better protect them in the future. What’s more, a company with strict guidelines on passwords makes it easier for your staff to access certain company areas.
Poor corporate password policy can lead to a breach in your company’s network security and the leak of sensitive information such as personal financial data, Social Security numbers, and access codes. That is why businesses need to create and support a comprehensive corporate password policy.
Eight Today’s Best Practices for Your Password Policy
1 – Encourage the use of password managers.
Password managers are a tremendous boon for corporate security policies and operations. They provide a simple way for employees to create strong passwords while securing them with one master password that can be difficult to hack or steal. Password managers also help to improve cyber resilience by reducing the number of passwords that employees must remember. And, better yet, there are many different options on the market nowadays so you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs.
2 – Require multi-factor authentication.
The problem with passwords is that you give away all the power when another person knows it. MFA provides an extra layer of security by requiring two factors to access your account: something you know (like a password) and something you have. This is where an additional step comes into play in order to verify that you are who you say you are – this could be a unique code sent by text message or email, for example.
The right solution for your needs will depend on the type of data you have and how much access you need to it as well as what measures can be put in place to protect that information if someone gets their hands on a username and password. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here because every company is different. You’ll want to work closely with your IT team, so they know what to look for and what’s the best solution.
3 – Encourage employees to use unique passwords.
Password security is the first line of defense for any company when it comes to safeguarding its data. The more unique your password is, the less risk of a person guessing or hacking into your account. Encourage your employees to use different passwords for each online account and never use any password twice at work (or anywhere else). That way, if one gets compromised, you won’t have to worry about all of your accounts being at risk.
4 – Keep all passwords random.
Randomizing passwords is one of the critical steps in ensuring corporate security. A password with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols is the best way to ensure that an attacker does not easily guess your passwords. Many people who use their spouse’s name as their username or favorite movie title for their strong password fall prey to this problem because they make it easier on themselves for the sake of convenience. Using a random combination of letters, numbers, and symbols is one way to make it difficult to guess your passwords if they are stolen or compromised.
Another benefit of using different passwords with random combinations is that you can easily spot any account changes on your various accounts because the password will not match what you have saved in your password manager.
5 – Use password testing tools.
Give serious thought to implementing password testing tools as part of your security strategy. In addition to relying on complex alphanumeric and symbol characters in your passwords, there are standalone and integrated password testing tools that you can use to check passwords quality.
Using a password testing tool can help ensure your passwords are sufficiently complex and do not contain any known vulnerabilities. Password checking tools will also assist with enforcing new policies, such as expiration dates. It is essential for maintaining reasonable security practices and compliance with regulatory requirements.
6 – Have continuous education and awareness.
Companies could avoid many potential risks by educating employees on the importance of maintaining a safe work environment. One such risk would be the theft or loss of sensitive data, which can lead to breaches in essential company operations. It’s crucial to conduct cybersecurity awareness training sessions and provide continuous education for your employees to ensure that they take all the necessary precautions.
7 – Conduct password audits.
Conducting a password audit can help organizations identify and remediate weaknesses in their passwords, which attackers could exploit. It includes stolen credentials and phishing scams that trick employees into sharing their passwords with malicious actors.
Password audits can be done periodically or as a one-time event. Still, they should always occur in conjunction with other security efforts like awareness campaigns and training employees to identify phishing schemes that try to trick them out of their passwords. The frequency will depend on the organization’s risk tolerance level, which is usually determined by its criticality, its vulnerability, and the frequency of attacks.
8 – Don’t force your employees to change their passwords too often.
Although changing passwords on a regular basis might be common practice, it doesn’t mean it is the best option. While most security best practices recommend periodic password changes, it is mainly due to outdated advice and research.
The NIST has changed its recommendation for password change policies. According to the update in 2019, they recommend against changing passwords unless evidence of compromise exists. It’s been shown that frequent password changes can lead to confusion, misplaced passwords, or locked accounts.
If you do not have evidence of any cybersecurity breaches within your organization, it would be best for your employees to change their passwords less often. Strong passwords will keep them safe, and confusion will be kept at a minimum.
Creating a secure password policy for your office is an essential step in preventing hackers or malicious users from gaining access to confidential information. Use the tips and advice we’ve provided here as you create guidelines that will keep your data safe. As always, if you need help with any of this, reach out! Our team would love to partner with you on creating a security plan that keeps your customer’s sensitive information protected at all times.