The Importance of Password Management and Best Practices for Password Security
Password security is one of the most crucial aspects of every business or organization.
Your password is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your sensitive data, systems, and applications against hacking attempts.
And with cyber threats becoming more sophisticated and prevalent, adopting effective password management tools and practices is the need of the hour.
According to the latest Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, around 50% of data breaches occur due to stolen passwords.
Even worse, a single data breach can cost $4.35 million dollars to organizations.
That’s why it's critical for organizations to keep their passwords secure and protect against rising cybercrimes around the world. After all, one of the tried and tested ways an organization can protect itself from rising cyber attacks is password management.
In this article, we will discuss the importance and best practices for password management to stay one step ahead of hackers & cyber criminals.
What is Password Management?
Password management refers to the set of sustainable practices for securely storing, organizing, and controlling access to passwords used to access various online accounts and services.
It involves using tools and techniques to create and manage strong, unique passwords for each account, as well as strategies for safely sharing and changing passwords as needed.
With proper password management, individuals and organizations can safeguard their credentials and keep hackers from gaining unauthorized access.
Importance of Password Management
Effective password management helps to create a protective barrier between your data and hackers and oftentimes is the only thing stopping a cybercriminal.
Proper password management can not only help in protecting sensitive data but also prevent potential security breaches.
On the other hand, poor password management can jeopardize all other cybersecurity efforts even if you’re using comprehensive cybersecurity solutions like CSPM in your organization.
Specifically, here are the top five reasons why password management is important in cybersecurity:
- Simplifies Password Management — With the increasing number of online accounts and services, it can be difficult to keep track of all the passwords. Password management tools can help simplify this process by storing passwords securely in one place and helping to generate strong passwords for new accounts.
- Avoids Password Reuse — Many individuals use the same password for multiple accounts, which can be a serious security risk. But, password management can help them generate and store unique passwords for each account.
- Prevents Identity Theft — Identity theft is a common cybersecurity risk in today's digital age. By using strong passwords and regularly changing them, individuals can help protect their personal information from being stolen.
- Protects Against Hacking and Data Breaches — Strong passwords are essential to protect private & sensitive information and prevent cybercriminals from gaining unauthorized access. If a password is weak or easily guessable, a hacker can easily gain access to personal or corporate data. But, password management helps to ensure that every password that is created is strong enough and cannot be easily cracked.
- Enhances Overall Security — Good password management is an important part of an overall security strategy. By implementing strong passwords, regularly changing them, and avoiding common mistakes, individuals and organizations can enhance their overall security posture and protect themselves from cyber threats.
Password Security Best Practices
Now that you have learned about the importance of proper password management, let’s discuss the five best practices to enhance password security that every organization should implement.
Create Complex & Lengthy Passwords
Creating complex and lengthy passwords is one of the first steps you can take to prevent hackers from stealing your passwords & obtaining unauthorized access.
This is because long passwords are not just difficult to guess or crack. Ideally, every password must be at least 12 characters long, consisting of a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
This will make it extremely tough for hackers to crack the password and break into your organization’s systems. However, make sure to avoid using common words or phrases because hackers can easily figure them out using brute force attacks or other hacker password-cracking algorithms.
Instead, use a combination of random words or phrases that are easy to remember but difficult for hackers to guess.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
When it comes to password security, even the most complex and lengthiest passwords can get cracked by hackers. That’s why using multi-factor authentication is highly recommended.
It helps to add an additional protection layer apart from your credentials. Usually, the additional layer of security is either an OTP or a mobile app that requests authentication confirmation to ensure that it is really you who is trying to log in to the system.
So, even if a hacker figures out or cracks your complex password, it will not be enough to gain access to your system or account.
Create Unique Passwords for Each Account
When it comes to creating passwords, many people make the mistake of using the same password for every account without realizing that it can easily lead to a domino effect if even just one account is compromised.
To elaborate, if a hacker cracks your password for one account and figures out that you’ve used the same password as your other accounts as well, they’re highly likely to use that password to gain access to your other accounts as well. This, in turn, can increase the chances of a successful data breach.
Therefore, it's essential to use a unique password for each account you have. Using a password manager can help you create and store unique passwords for each account.
Change Passwords Whenever an Employee is Relieved
If an employee has access to your company's accounts or systems and is relieved of their duties, it's essential to change all passwords associated with those accounts or systems.
This ensures that the former employee no longer has access to sensitive information, reducing the risk of data breaches.
Use a Password Manager
Password managers like 1Password or LastPass are an effective and efficient way to store, organize, and manage your passwords.
For the uninitiated, a password manager is a tool that helps you create, store, and manage all of your passwords in one secure location. It can generate complex and unique passwords for each account and store them in an encrypted database, eliminating the need to remember all your passwords.
And you just need to remember one password, as your password manager will store your different account passwords, allowing you to sign in quickly. That means whenever you visit a website where you’ve created an account, you just need to pull up your password manager, copy the password, and you’re signed in.
Besides this, a password manager can even help in identifying weak passwords and notify you of any potential security risks.
Passwords are an essential part of our daily lives, and it's crucial to take the necessary steps to ensure they are secure.
By following the above-mentioned password security best practices, you can reduce the risk of data breaches and protect your sensitive information in your organization.
Always remember, a little effort in creating complex & unique passwords can go a long way in keeping your organization safe from potential hacking attempts and other forms of cyber attacks.