We all know the struggle. With so many accounts these days, it’s currently projected that the average Internet user will have over 200 passwords to remember by 2020! And as we know, small business owners are more than likely above average with that many more programs and potential employees to be responsible for. So what’s an entrepreneur to do? We’ve included a few helpful tips for staying sane with password management.
- There’s an App for that! Developers have notice the trend of passwords becoming more numerous and complicated. There are many apps on the market, many of them free, that will allow you to keep track of all your passwords in one simple, easy to locate place. Whenever you need to create a new password or update an existent one, refer to the app and it will remember it for you. Many programs can even generate new password suggestions. Most importantly though is the idea that, as long as you have your phone, you have your passwords!
- Aim for abbreviations (AFA). A simple abbreviated phrase can make a great password and can be easier to remember. Something like, “I hate having to remember 10 passwords!” can be “IHHTR10PW!” Or, “This is my first bank password” to “TIM1BPW.” These are also bound to be more secure than your family dog’s name.
- Keep them off paper. Don’t you, or your employees, get into the habit of writing down passwords. This completely defeats the purpose and is a security breach waiting to happen. The goal is to keep them memorable enough to be instantly recognized, or otherwise, only transcribed in an app as mentioned above.
- Don’t count up. If you’re concerned about password security (and you probably should be, if you’re a business owner), don’t just keep using the same password and adding a number to the obnoxious required number and symbol sequence. Sad to say that most hackers can count, and adding a number each time is not going to help maintain security if there is any concern for a breach. Instead, just change it completely, or at the very least, change the number location. On another note, stay way from passwords like 123456 that .06 of all Internet users use. Hackers will certainly give this a try if they want in!
- Keep requirements reasonable. If you are so lucky as to be the one to set password requirements for employees, don’t make them more than 10 characters with extremely complicated elements. The more complicated the requirements, the more likely employees are to write them down, and therefore, the more likely it is that you will be hacked. Some experts feel that requiring a password change more than once a year is also not necessary, and should only be done so if a breach in security is suspected. More simple, less frequently changed passwords makes employees more likely to comply with your company’s confidentiality.
The password world is only going to become more convoluted and complicated as time goes on and technology continues to expand. It’s best to come up with a plan now before things get out of hand to stay on track and reduce valuable time and energy down the road trying to repair them. Fortunately, any of the above can be easily implemented starting today (or maybe the next time you’re obnoxiously prompted for a password change). Want more password security tips? Check out “Passwords 101” from the National Cyber-security Institute.