Password Security Policies – Part 2 – Go Beyond Basics

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that struggle with information security because of resource constraints have particular reason to pay attention: Smart password practices require next to no budget. They don’t need to take up much time, either, especially once your policies and procedures are in place. Here is the second part of this series – going beyond the basics.

4. Double-down on email accounts. Too many SMBs get lazy with their email passwords, leading to larger-scale problems. Those are the holy grail for thieves particularly for online applications that use the ubiquitous “Forgot Password” feature. When a hacker gains control of employee email credentials, it can turn into an all-you-can-eat data buffet–particular if that those credentials were re-used across other systems. Email breaches can also lead to increased spear phishing and social engineering risks. Treat email with a similar level of caution as bank and other high-risk accounts.

5. Restrict application settings. Particularly for online and mobile applications, it’s a good idea to modify security and privacy settings to the most locked-down options. Be leery of new applications and consider using a secondary email address outside of the corporate system when testing or signing up for new online tools.

6. Consider a password wallet. One password pitfall common inside SMB offices is found in password sharing among workgroups and team members. This can lead to weak security habits, both of the analog (Post-it Notes on the monitor, yelling passwords over the cubicle wall) and digital variety (passwords shared via email, IM, and related means). A password manager or wallet application built specifically for teams can automate and secure credentials for systems that require multi-party access. That way it’s easy to organize all of your different corporate passwords, keep them changed, and make sure everyone knows what those changes are.

next up – Manage the Mobile Morass

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