The use of passwords is something that’s almost inherent to the use of computers in business as a whole. Be it the need to protect corporate assets or the fact that even an email account requires a basic login protocol, it’s only natural that people associate passwords and password management with the operations of day-to-day business. But with ubiquity, with the idea that password management is, in fact, an everyday occurrence, comes the hard truth: every day is a day that requires vigilance and specific protocols to protect the passwords you need to run your business. That’s where your admin comes in. Whether that’s you, or someone you hire to handle cybersecurity and the like, the workload is a large one, and it requires much attention in some cases. So the question is, what best practices should be in use for you and your enterprise? And more specifically, which ones can relieve your admin’s workload?
Keep Everything (And Everyone) Up-To-Date
It’s important that your software is updated, first and foremost — because there are people already doing work for you when they apply security patches and the like to your programs. But if you’re not on top of this, the effort is wasted; more than that, though, outdated (therefore usually unsupported) software is a strong candidate for cyber attacks. In addition, you should be keeping your personnel aware of the protocols required by your corporation, and what practices are being used to keep the company and its information secure. Giving a top-down approach to such awareness is the best way to ensure that you and your employees are on the same page and enforcing the same security practices across the board.
Make It All Manageable
Whether it’s encrypted password storage, monitoring of strange login activity, or simply the emphasis on preventing shared passwords, there’s a simple approach; rather than having your admin be the one to enforce and even implement these functions in their day-to-day, you can utilize software designed to enhance and compartmentalize corporate password management. Not only is it easier to handle password access for specific roles in the company with an enterprise password management (EPM) solution in place, but it also creates a system designed to detect suspicious behavior regarding passwords and login info. In addition, EPM software is great for encrypted password storage, and can even allow blacklisting of specific password types among users, to create a security standard that’s higher all around.
Minimize Password-Based Risk Factors
There’s a simplicity to this statement, but the reality is that you can easily manage the specifics of a password management protocol to make your company safer. One of the ways to do so is to alert users of weak password choices — or to even blacklist these choices altogether, in order to encourage stronger password creation. Another measure is even simpler — avoiding passwords where possible in favor of other security options, like 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) or SSO (Single Sign-On). With passwords reserved for accounts that require the utmost security or multiple verification methods, you’re able to mitigate the amount of risk related to password weakness and breach. You can also establish and communicate certain standards that doubly encourage password strength, such as patterns that have been proven effective by cybersecurity experts. In addition to all this, you should also look for and eliminate accounts that are out of use, along with their passwords — which should be altogether removed from use as well.
While there are users that don’t utilize security best practices in their everyday routine, many do. In fact, there have emerged in the past decade several “rules of thumb” that should be propagated among users as common sense in today’s online environment. One of these is the fact that websites that aren’t accredited with encryption security certificates are considered security risks. Secure sites will have a little symbol that looks like a lock at the far left of your browser’s address bar, at the beginning of the site URL — and if you look in the same place to find one missing, then as a user, you should refrain from inputting information on that site. Yet another common-sense rule, one that’s much older and (hopefully) far more commonplace as of now, is the idea that users should lock their computers when away. The goal of this practice is, of course, to keep unauthorized personnel from accessing and/or changing the information on your computer — or from seeing information that’s sensitive enough to protect from passersby.
Get Checked Out
Consider the elements of any data security regulation, and audit your company accordingly. Your corporation can prove itself in its ability to maintain the security standards of high-level sensitivity data (think HIPAA, FINRA, or GDPR); if you ascertain that you’re following these standards in an audit that allows you to handle sensitive data, you’ll know that you’re performing some of the best possible practices for keeping your company’s passwords secure as well.
You have to look at your company as a fortress — and with each password comes a key, and a window into that protected structure. Without ensuring the right handling of each key, of each specific window into your enterprise, you’re allowing the endangerment of your assets and those of your clients, to boot. In the same way, keeping best practices in place for password security means that your security admins (and you) are given a smaller workload to deal with. By looking at your assets in this way, and by lightening the load on the admins who handle your enterprise security, you’ll find yourself in a better place for password management altogether.