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Many companies invest lots of money into cybersecurity only to resort to basic passwords. Strengthening your passwords can help you to fend off hackers – all in all preventing your data from falling into the wrong hands. Below are just some of the ways that you can strengthen passwords.

Keep passwords complex but memorable

The strongest passwords tend to be random jumbles of numbers and letters with a symbol or two thrown in. The problem with these passwords is that they are often difficult to remember. You may have to keep notes of such passwords or constantly remind employees of passwords, which could increase the risk of a password being leaked.

The key is to create a password that’s complex but memorable. One popular option is to take a phrase, movie title or song and condense it into initials while trying to incorporate a number in (for example, the famous Shakespeare quote ‘to be or not to be: that is the question’ could be condensed into ‘2bon2btitq’). Another option is to create a long password made up of multiple unrelated words like ‘GiraffeSpatulaPortugal’ and then put a memorable number at the end – long passwords are much harder to guess than short ones.

Be careful how you share and store password information

Many companies keep password lists. It’s important that this password information isn’t stored somewhere where it can be easily accessed by the wrong people. You could consider using a password manager or you could keep a paper copy that is stored somewhere hidden and out of view (don’t pin up a password list on the wall in your office lobby).

Be careful when sharing information on passwords. When giving passwords to new employees, give individual passwords rather than handing them the entire password list. If there are customers or members of the public within earshot, find a way to discreetly share the password such as writing it on a note and handing it to them.

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Introduce multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is part of the Essential 8 cyber security protocol. It involves creating multiple barriers of entry. This could include setting two separate passwords in order to get into an account or sensitive file. Alternatively, you could use a standard password and a form of biometric authorisation such as facial recognition, a fingerprint or voice recognition. The latter has become more popular recently now that the technology has become easier to implement. 

Regularly update passwords

It’s worth also regularly changing passwords. This ensures that if a password does end up in the wrong hands, it won’t be of much use to that person for long. 

When should you change your passwords? Some companies do it every year, while others change their passwords every month. If you have a larger company, the threat of a password leaking is greater so you should change passwords more regularly. If a staff member with access to passwords leaves on bad terms, it could also be worth changing passwords. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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