Passwords- a defensive barrier of critical systems and applications in the organization! Cyber attackers though, see passwords as a weak link to the organization’s security. Some of the most disastrous cyber attacks have taken place because attackers were successful in stealing or exposing the passwords of vital systems.
Cyber attackers are constantly upgrading their attacking techniques to possess passwords of valuable systems. So, in defense, organizations must scale up their security with efficient password management.
We have covered the following aspects of Password Management in this read:
- What is Password Management?
- Enterprise Password Management Best Practices
- What is a Password Manager?
- Why Should You Use a Password Manager?
What is Password Management?
Essentially, password management is a set of practices and protocols that are implemented within an organization with an objective to protect the passwords from being hacked or exposed. Clearly, passwords are cyber attacker’s prime target and given how most of us today have access to multiple applications and accounts, passwords are abundant in every organization.
The IT department and security experts of the organization must formulate enterprise password management strategies to protect passwords from cyber attackers.
We have listed down best practices that help in achieving efficient enterprise password management.
Enterprise Password Management Best Practices
Create long passwords:
The typical norm of creating a password with a minimum of 8-characters, both upper and lower cases, numbers, and special characters is to be ideally followed. Put simply, a short, simple, and easy-to-remember password make as well as the cyber attackers login process to critical business applications easy. Whereas, using a long, complex password keeps the cyber attackers at a bay. It, however, increases your burden of remembering and updating the password each time you need to access an application.
Change passwords frequently:
A best practice that most cybersecurity experts swear by. When an attacker knows you use the same or similar password to secure crucial accounts, he will attack the account not once but multiple times without much ado. So, when you change your passwords frequently, you make the attacker’s endeavor of hacking into the system difficult. By the time he steals the password, decodes it, and is ready to hack, your system has a new password, bringing the attacker back to square one!
Always encrypt passwords:
This is a master stroke in enterprise password management. Encrypting passwords, ideally with 256-bit encryption or often called the military-grade encryption provides maximum protection to passwords. It is said it takes billions of years to decode a 256-bit encrypted password. In this way, even if a cyber attacker manages to steal your password, he will not be able to break into a system with a password that he cannot read or interpret.
Use different passwords for multiple accounts:
If you use the same or similar password for all your accounts and applications. The cyber attacker will operate at ease. He needs to steal only one password and will gain effortless access to all other accounts. It is beneficial to use passwords that are different from one and another for multiple accounts. The passwords for every account, however, should be equally strong and complex. This way, all your accounts and applications remain secure and protected.
The above-mentioned best practices will, of course, help in strengthening the password management system of your organization. However, this becomes a daunting process full of glitches when implemented manually.
Today, as organizations embrace technology and digitalization, it is best if the password management system is supported by a password manager for business.
What is a Password Manager?
A password manager is a password management software. It essentially stores all the credentials in an encrypted form. A master password is generated, using which, the user can get access to all the credentials in one go.
Users today have access to multiple accounts. But taking the task of securing and managing so many passwords upon oneself may result in reduced productivity and low security of essential systems and applications.
Cybersecurity professionals highly recommend using the best password manager for the business. Organizations today may choose the best cloud-based password manager or on-premise password manager depending on the security requirements.
Now that you have a fair understanding of password managers, let’s now tell you about the benefits of a password manager for business.
Why Should You Use a Password Manager?
Choosing a password manager is the first step to achieving the best password protection as you avail the following benefits:
Easy Complex Password Generation:
As a standard practice, while creating a password, one must ensure the password is as complex as possible. Creating a complex password may be simple but remembering it each time you want to access an application is frustrating. A password manager auto generates a password. It meets the standard requirements of password complexity and is encrypted. The best part is you don’t have to remember this password at all! The password auto-generates different passwords each time you access an application. The cyber attackers certainly find it difficult to hack a password that is generated by a password manager.
One password for multiple accounts:
As mentioned above, using different passwords for different applications or accounts is a rather safe practice. However, it’s just too much effort. Creating multiple passwords, updating or changing them frequently, increased helpdesk dependency for reset, etc. It is convenient to use password for multiple accounts but isn’t safe when done manually. So, with a complex, auto-generated password you may use one single password to login to multiple accounts at once.
Seamless Log in:
Accessing multiple applications, with each of them having different passwords is a hassle. It is a time-consuming process and the login attempts are generally high; not a very suitable security technique in the modern cyber landscape laden with a large number of sophisticated cyber-attacks. A password manager acts as a repository to all your applications and you can, at once, login into multiple accounts, using only one strong, encrypted password. This makes the login process to multiple applications seamless and secure.
Security of shared accounts:
It’s about time you move over an excel full of passwords and begin efficient password management in network security. A password manager lets you safely share passwords. Passwords generated by a password manager are secure and the chance of it being stolen is grim. You also know who accesses the password and have control to allow or restrict the same.
Passwords are essentially a barrier between a critical application and an unauthorized intrusion. However, with cyber-attacks becoming technologically advanced, hacking or stealing passwords is something attackers today can do with the utmost ease.
So, with a sense of urgency, it is best to either inculcate enterprise password management best practices or best still, use the best password manager for business.
Your passwords should ensure security of your applications and never become a gateway to disruptive cyber-attacks.