Thoughts

Security effects the value of your Brand.

Today is World Password Day – the perfect time to invest 5 minutes with this guide to learn about security for your business. Protecting a brand in 2018 is about much more than a great logo and a skilled publicist. Companies likes Yahoo, Uber, and Equifax, have lost market share and brand equity from data breaches and lax security.

 

Three simple rules for a more secure password.

A good password is long, hard to predict, and accessible only to you. It’s important your passwords follow all three rules at once.

  1. A password is considered long when it has 9 or more characters. The longer the password, the longer it will take a hacker to break it. Very long passwords would theoretically take a hacker’s computer a few hundred years of work before breaking.
  2. By “hard to predict” we mean “hard for a computer to predict”. A hacker can try over 500,000,000 password possibilities every second by using fast computers and a huge database of words or phrases loaded into a special app. This means that single words that can be referenced from a dictionary, like “Aardvark”, or terms from popular books, like “Hogwarts”, make bad passwords. Even a short logical sentence like “letmein” can be easily predicted by a computer.
  3. An accessible password is one you can use or memorize easily. Most people think of one password, memorize it, and then use it everywhere they go but re-using login information for multiple accounts runs the risk of one hacker gaining to all your information in a single attack. Others might write their passwords down but that’s less convenient than memorization, can be read by other people, and presents a big risk if your password notebook is ever stolen or destroyed.

 

All three rules in action

Creating a password that follows all three rules can be very tricky, especially when we consider that the average person has 27 different online accounts (Bank, Facebook, Email, etc.) and each of those accounts needs a unique password.

I can’t think of any single words that follow all three rules which is why shifting your thinking away from passwords and towards passphrases will make your business much more secure. Phrases like “A garden is a Zoo for plants” or “Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island” are long, hard to predict, and accessible only to you through memorization.

 

Do things the easy way: Use a password manager.

There are ways other than memorization to make a password easily accessible. Password managers are a type of app that will create very long passwords that are very difficult to predict. These apps can store those passwords and paste them into a login screen automatically as soon as you need them.

Take a look at password manager apps like Dashlane, LastPass, and 1Password. These apps create passwords like “89u3qvBFQ2t*KdzK#4G!” which are hard to remember, but are very easy to access thanks to the password manager app. You can take a look at this demonstration video to see for yourself.

 

Making security a habit in your business.

Good security is a habit that pays big dividends when your entire team is on board. Like most habits, they will take time to build and as you begin that process with your team refer them to this summary:

PasswordIs it long?Is it hard to predict? Can it be accessed easily?
123NoNo (Sequential)Yes
footballNoNo (From a dictionary)Yes
letmeinNoNo (Common phrase)Yes
passwordNoNo (From a dictionary)Yes
q2!5F8NoYesNo
antidisestablishmentarianismYesNo (From a dictionary)No
89u3qvBFQ2t*KdzK#4G!YesYesYes (Password Manager App)
AgardenisaZooforplantsYesYesYes (Memory)
RhodeIslandisneitheraroadnoranislandYesYesYes (Memory)

 

When in doubt, test it out.

Websites like howsecureismypassword.net can tell you quickly if a password is viable or not based on how long it might take a hacker to break it. Generally, you’ll need a password that takes more than 500 years to theoretically break. This is because computers get faster all the time – a password may take 10 years to crack today, but a new computer could hit the market at any moment, cutting that time down from 10 years to 10 seconds. Very tough passwords can often protect you from sudden changes in technology.

If you’d like to know what else you can do to protect your brand, our team is ready to have a conversation with yours.