Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guide to Choosing Passwords for Your SMB

Guide to Choosing Passwords for Your SMB
Security is becoming more and more important these days, especially when it comes to protecting your business. Good passwords can make or break your computer systems, but how do you know what a good password is? And one you do, what else can you do to take further steps to protect your passwords from hackers, untrustworthy employees, and others who are up to no good? Here are a few easy guidelines that SMB owners can use to protect their companies, employees, and their own personal information:

  • Password Length - According to David Campbell, a security consultant, passwords should be made up of 12 characters. It would cost a criminal approximately $1.5 million of hacking with an application to successfully break a a 12-character password. Some recommend using a mnemonic device so you can easily remember a longer password, even repeating one if need be.

  • Don't Mix Business & Pleasure - You don't want your entire company to know your dog's name is your password for your work email system, as well as your Facebook account. This could cause all sorts of problems. Chances are, no one in your company will ever need to know your passwords, but if they are able to uncover them, do you want them snooping around your personal life, as well as your professional life?

  • Never Write Your Password Down - If you keep a log of all of your passwords at your desk, or the information is stuck on sticky notes all around your cubicle, it wouldn't be hard for a an employee to sneak over and glance at your information. As a matter of fact, most SMBs tend to have employees located in close quarters, making this an easier way for someone to get a hold of your password information.

  • Never Give Your Password to Anyone - No one in your company should ever ask for your password. Administrators should be able to reset your password without knowing what it is. If someone from your IT department asks for your password, no matter how small your company is, something is probably up.

  • Remind your employees - They may get tired of hearing you tell them to "be careful" but ultimately it is your duty to protect your business. Remind your employees of these tips and any others you cant think of, often. One wrong move and it could cost your company thousands of dollars.

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