Whether you’re running a small business or just creating logins for social media accounts, bank accounts, or other personal matters, there are plenty of reasons why you need a better password management system. How are you managing and storing your passwords now? On a spreadsheet? A sticky note? Google Doc?
Storing passwords in these ways can leave your entire identity at risk. A single breached password can result in personal information or even money being stolen, and small businesses are especially vulnerable. A single data breach can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, and the leading cause of most data breaches is, in fact, one or more compromised passwords.
If you’re not using password management software, it’s time to learn why you should be. Today’s digital world poses plenty of threats, and passwords are almost always your first line of defense against hackers.Here are five reasons you need a better password management system.
1. The Cost of Not Using One
First and foremost, let’s look at what not using a password management system could potentially cost your business or personal finances. A typical data breach can cost anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 for SMBs, and even more for medium to large businesses and corporations. The Target breach of 2013 cost the company about $90 million in damages!
Let’s not forget that your personal finances can be at risk, too. If a hacker gets ahold of your password, the potential for identity theft goes way up. Or, at the very least, the chances you’ll have money stolen increase. If you’re recycling passwords, you’re in an even more precarious situation. Say your Facebook password is stolen, but you’re using the same password for your bank account. Yikes!
The bottom line is that the cost of not using a password management system far outweighs the few dollars per month that most systems cost. There are even free password managers that individuals can use to massively increase their cybersecurity without spending a dime.
2. Better Passwords
Part of the problem with passwords is that we’re not taking them seriously enough. Google estimates that nearly 65% of people recycle passwords, and some of the most widely used passwords of the last ten years are still in use, despite widespread warnings and even data breaches associated with them. (Here’s a list of the most used passwords).
If any of these five most common passwords look familiar, you may need to rethink your password methods:
A good password should not include any of the following:
- Repeating characters
- Dictionary phrases or words
- Self-identifying information
- Addresses or phone numbers
- Only numbers or letters
A good password should include these items:
- Combination of letters, numbers, and symbols
- Upper and lower-case letters
- 2FA or MFA for better security
A password management system should come standard with a password generator. With a click of a button, you can generate better passwords and avoid using passwords you can easily remember. That’s what your password manager is for! With autofill, you’ll never have to manually type a password again, so there’s no need to create memorable passwords with self-identifying information.
3. They’re Affordable
There’s a misconception, especially with SMBs, that password managers are just another expense that small businesses cannot afford. Actually, that couldn’t be further than the truth. Password managers at the enterprise level are more affordable than ever, bringing high-end cybersecurity tools to even the smallest SMBs. They’re also affordable for individuals, and most password managers offer free options for basic password management.
4. Password Sharing
Did you know that password sharing in businesses is something employees don’t seem to take seriously enough? Some businesses even share passwords via a Word or Google Doc! That’s about as dangerous as it gets with password sharing. A hacker can easily jeopardize the entire business by getting a hold of that one document.
How you share passwords within your business should be a prime concern. With a password manager, you don’t have to worry about sharing unsecured documents over email or Google Drive. A password manager is your all-in-one password tool, and you can choose who has access to which password vaults. You can separate passwords by departments or admin access for greater security within individual parts of the business.
5. You’ve Already Been Hacked
There is perhaps no greater indicator that you need a new password management system than having been hacked. A hack can create a lot of doubt and fear, but moving forward, the first thing to do is to improve your overall cybersecurity.
When you have a password breach, you’re going to have a lot of passwords to change. Some password managers can help you change passwords in bulk, and your passwords are always stored securely. Don’t jeopardize your company or personal information by using poor passwords and not taking advantage of the various password management services available today.