As technology expands in your Small Business, it becomes increasingly difficult (timely and expensive) to protect your Small Businesses ideas/content stored and transferred among employee and customer devices. More and more companies have become victims to hackers who steal their financial data for money or steal their ideas to gain an advantage in the marketplace (a competitor). Cyber Thieves are looking to make a profit off your Small Businesses inadequate security by holding your business hostage until ransom is paid. “Hackers can and will find ways to install malware and steal financial data,” warns Kevin Dohrmann, CTO and co-founder of IT solutions provider Cosentry. “The easier it is for them to get in, the more likely they exploit.” (Knudson 1)
Your Small Businesses data is valuable and needs to be strongly protected to keep, not only your financial records out of the wrong hands, but personal information about your employees and customers away from outsiders. Unfortunately, Small Businesses, having a smaller network and a more consolidated base, are more vulnerable to inadequate password security for cost reasons. To avoid the said risks of lack of protection, business owners should create structured password policies and educate employees on strong passwords.
Pin or Password?
PINs demand the same level of care as passwords even though they are a small number combination. Unfortunately, many people simply choose the easiest numbers that come to mind. Researchers at the Data Analysis Firm, Data Genetics, found that the PINs “1234,” “1111,” and “0000” accounted for nearly 20% of all four-digit PINS they analyzed. “1234” was more popular than the least-used 4,200 codes combined. (Keeper Pin vs. Password: What’s the Difference) However, most common devices (i.e. Apple’s iPhone or Windows) only allow four to six attempts to correctly enter a PIN or password to get into a device before getting disabled. Therefore, out of the 10,000 possible codes, the hacker only has a .04% or .06% chance of success. That’s why many businesses decide to add a PIN to company devices instead of a password.
Avoid Common PIN or Password Mistakes that Lead to Hacking
Weak Passwords are a threat to any business no matter how large and successful. Avoid easily guessed or researched PIN/Password combinations, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, or the day/month you were born in. (Knudson 1) Avoid number that can be easily traced or easily associated to you and your business. Creating a Password Policy for your business will provide adequate protection from hackers. Password Policies are influenced by standards of convenience for each employee, so employees are more willing to follow the Policy which creates the greatest attempt to protect a device. Holding your employees accountable for following a Password Policy is essential to your small businesses success because employees may not understand how dangerous it can be to share passwords or leave them at an easily accessible location.
Avoid Shared Application Accounts
In order to cut down costs of security protection, many small businesses have adopted a Shared Application Account, multiple employees using the same password. (Knudson 1) Though Shared Application Accounts are initially cost-effective, it will be very costly for your small business in the long run. Sharing one password creates serious concerns and a greater threat to password security. “When people share accounts, they tend to make the passwords easier to remember or worse, they write them down and pass them freely among employees,” Patrick Hubbard, IT management and technical product marketing director at software provider SolarWinds, explains.
There are numerous reasons to have a proper security system and strong passwords for your small business. If you have any questions about your password policy, contact us here.