Managing Passwords—What a Small Business Can Do to Minimize Risk

By 04/10/2021 May 3rd, 2021 Data Protection, Security
Managing-Passwords-What-a-Small-Business-Can-Do-to-Minimize-Risk

A network that is not adequately protected may be vulnerable to unauthorized access from competitors, government entities, and other malicious players. After someone gains access to your company’s network, that person could potentially use the information obtained to undermine your trade secrets. There is also a chance that malware, ransomware, or other dangerous software will be uploaded to a vulnerable server. Your organization must take network security seriously.

How Easy Is It to Hack Systems Protected By Weak Passwords?

The biggest problem with quality passwords is that they are hard to remember. Your employees may choose to create codes that they won’t forget, such as 123456, password, or birthdates. Unfortunately, most hackers know the weak passwords typically used to secure corporate servers, and they may be able to access your firm’s network without the need for fancy software.

It’s important to note that a hacker might gain access to a server through any device that connects to it. So, it’s essential that company smartphones, tablets, and computers have strong passwords.

What Can Small Businesses Do to Safeguard Their Networks?

Any passwords used to protect your company’s network should have a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols. This practice makes it harder for passcode-cracking software to guess the sequence of characters needed to access a server. Plus, it is a good idea to change a passcode at least once every 30 days.

In addition to strong passwords, businesses can take other steps to prevent unauthorized access to their networks. For instance, it may be a good idea to require separate passcodes to access especially sensitive data such as customer data or trade secrets. These passcodes would only be given to top executives, certain classes of shareholders, and others who have a right to view this information.

It will also help to create server restart points every few minutes to ensure that information isn’t lost in the event of a ransomware attack. If such a scenario were to occur, you could take the server offline, find the breach’s source, and then roll the server back to the last secure restore point. It can also be worthwhile to create multiple virtual copies of your server’s data to ensure that it can’t be lost, damaged, or stolen.

Ideally, you’ll keep a physical server in a secure room that can only be accessed by members of your IT team. A server room may be secured by a lock that only opens if it recognizes a person’s fingerprint, retina, or other unique identifiers. Additionally, your firm should have a log of all the people who enter or exit the server room. If a security breach occurs, the log can be used to identify the person who may have gone rogue quickly.

How Can Employees Help?

There are several easy actions that employees can take to prevent a data breach from occurring. For instance, workers should refrain from using personal devices while on company property. Although a corporate network may be adequately protected from viruses, malware, or other exploits, personal devices secured by weak passwords may create a vulnerability that a hacker could exploit.

It’s also crucial for employees to refrain from using a company phone, tablet, or computer at home since their networks may not be as secure as those they use while on the job. This difference makes it possible for devices that were healthy when they left the office to return with viruses or malware.

Employees are also encouraged to follow best practices for creating strong passwords for any devices they use to complete work tasks. It also helps to use a password management program designed to create strong protection against those who may try to access their devices.

How Do Authentication Protocols Work?

Authentication programs require those who are attempting to access your company’s network to enter a one-time code in addition to the typical passcode that protects it. This code will be sent to a user’s smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device in most cases. If the unique code is not entered within a specified period of time, the person trying to access the server will not do so.

The Potential Consequences of a Data Breach

If customer information is obtained because of a data breach, a company may be held liable for any damages those individuals incur. It isn’t uncommon for thieves to use this data to commit identity theft, destroy a person’s reputation online, or otherwise cause long-term harm.

A data breach caused by an insufficient network security plan may also cause customers, investors, and others to lose confidence in your brand. This loss of trust could result in lost revenue, a significant decrease in your company’s share price, and other problems that might harm its ability to operate efficiently.

Depending on the circumstances of a given incident, there is a chance that members of your organization might face criminal charges after a breach occurs. This consequence may be especially true if a leak puts someone in danger of physical harm.

Now Is the Time to Create an Action Plan

If your company doesn’t have a network security plan, it’s essential to create one as quickly as possible. First, you’ll want to develop policies that ensure that your workers will create strong passwords, only use approved devices at work and follow other security best practices.

Next, you’ll want to provide training to your employees to ensure they understand these policies’ importance. These training sessions should go over the basics of what makes a strong passcode and why they need to be changed regularly. They should also introduce password management programs, authentication tools, and other technology that your employees may need to interact with regularly.

It’s generally a good idea to have refresher courses every few months to ensure that your employees comply with these rules. These courses can also be helpful because new threats are constantly emerging, which means that you’ll likely have to update your policies every few months.

Finally, you’ll need a system that measures how well employees comply with the rules you have implemented. For example, those who are seen using their personal devices might be given a written warning. Conversely, those who are seen adhering to the new protocols should be given bonuses, time off, or other rewards.

Strong passwords can be the foundation of a network security plan that keeps your business safe from sensitive data breaches. An IT professional will help you better understand the importance of implementing such a plan and how to do so correctly.

and resistance to cyberattacks.