In today’s digital world, password management isn’t just some abstract idea that might make your life easier. It’s a critical part of comprehensive security — passwords are often the first place that hackers look for easy entry into vulnerable computers and devices.
A 2016 Verizon study found that 63% of confirmed data breaches involved weak, default, or stolen passwords, while recent high-profile password leak stories involving companies like LinkedIn and MySpace continue to resonate throughout social media. And research conducted by Bitglass this year found that 25% of all financial services industry breaches since 2006 could be attributed to lost or stolen devices (and the passwords stolen from them).
No matter how strong you and your employees think your passwords are, remember this:hacking software can test up to 10 billion password combinations in seconds. So it’s heartening to see the use of password management becoming more common thanks to easily implemented programs like Google Smart Lock, which saves passwords through its Chrome web browser and allows them to be managed from afar. Smart Lock also allows for automatic app sign-in and enjoys the protection of Google’s standard two-factor authentication, which requires both something you “know” (your password) and something you “have” (your phone). Enter your password, verify your identity by entering the unique code you receive via text message or email, and only then can you access your passwords. If you’re not using two-factor authentication, consider turning it on now.
But as critical as two-factor authentication is, it’s not always enough. Smart Lock works well enough for a free, consumer-focused product. Yet it lacks the basic core concepts of a more robust password management tool designed for businesses. At its core, Smart Lock is a password storage option — it houses the (hopefully secure) passwords you generate yourself. But if you’re using the same password for multiple websites or accounts, or not utilizing long strings of random letters, characters, and numbers, you’re actually not that safe.
That’s why secure password generators included in many password management solutions are so invaluable.
These randomly create long, complicated passwords you’d never remember (and then remember them for you), sidestepping the old “password123” dilemma. And that’s important in a world where anyone can learn how to crack a password via YouTube — and where businesses need to both protect their data and enjoy seamless accessibility and intuitive efficiency without getting tripped up by the time-killer of a forgotten password or invalid login.
With new data breach reports popping up every day, big companies are responding to the need for password security. According to recent research, more than 90% of large enterprise companies have a centralized password management policy. But less than 25% of small businesses do, which is a major problem — since 2012, cyberattacks on small businesses have increased by more than 150% according to Symantec.
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