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IT Security & Cybersecurity

The Importance of Password Managers

Password Management is Your First Line of Defense Against Cybercriminals  

Managing passwords can be a cumbersome task. We all know how frustrating it is to forget your password. You may often ask yourself, what type of system do I have in place to keep track of my critical account credentials? You may keep an Excel file on your desktop or perhaps you have sticky notes all over your monitor.  

This may have been a reasonable system back in the day. However, as technology advances, your digital hygiene must evolve too. Cybercriminals are now more dangerous than ever. The fastest way for them to hack into your system is through an “easy to guess” password.  

Imagine for a moment that you just moved into a new house. You have no neighbors, so you leave your door unlocked. Over time, the neighborhood starts to populate and there are reports of high crime in the area. Your neighbors start getting robbed. Would you start locking your door?  

The neighborhood analogy highlights what we are all experiencing in our online lives. The internet is no longer a safe place where you can let your guard down. Effective password management is your first line of defense against cybercriminals.   

The popular CRM (Customer Relationship Management), Zoho, defines password management as a “set of principles and best practices to be followed by users while storing and managing passwords in an efficient manner to prevent unauthorized access.”  

Like many elements of business, password management is only as strong as the process behind it. Thankfully, there is a way to automate this process through password managers. Let us explore the benefits of a password manager and break down how they work.  

Benefits of Password Managers  

A password manager is an application that securely stores all your passwords under one roof. Most passwords managers have a web extension that you can install. This means that every time you visit a website that you have logged into your password manager, your login information automatically generates.   

Many people believe that using a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane raises a security concern. They worry that housing all of their passwords in one place is like putting all of their eggs in one basket. What if the password manager gets hacked?  

First, it is important to understand that password management tools take the most extreme measures to protect your data. In fact, LastPass experienced a breach in 2015 but the hackers walked away with no information. The reason is that all data is encrypted. Since then, they have tightened their security efforts even further.  

Password managers are not only beneficial for their own security reasons, they also heighten the online security of their users. A password manager can design complex passwords for you and automatically generate a new password on a regular basis, making it nearly impossible for hackers to guess.   

Another major benefit of a password manager is that a trusted loved one can access all of your accounts. If you do any kind of estate planning, then leaving your master password in your will could seriously lighten the burden of your death. A loved one can use your master password to access bank accounts and other important digital assets.  

LastPass 

Here at NOYNIM IT (Information Technology) Solutions, we recommend LastPass. We are not affiliated with them directly, but we like to help our clients by recommending specific applications that we test & even utilize here at NOYNIM. Let us explore how LastPass works. 

If you are new to LastPass, the first thing you will want to do is to create a free account. Then, download & install the LastPass web-based plugin to your browser toolbar of preference. The extension works for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and other popular web browsers.  

Now it is time to create your master password. This is (literally) the only password you will ever need to remember if you wind up utilizing LastPass. Let’s always ensure this master password is completely secure & easy to remember! A good rule of thumb is to use a passphrase like soexcitedtoStartCollege!thisfall or MutzyAteMyWoolSocksAgain23 

A passphrase is fairly simple concept. But, by stringing together a few words, you create a password that is longer in character length and harder to hack. Make this password about 20 to 30 characters. Add numbers and/or special characters. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe or try logging in a few times to perfect the muscle memory of your new master password. 

Next, it is time to add your accounts. You will gain access to something known as your password vault. Start by populating it with your most critical accounts. If you decide to install the web-browser plugin LastPass will also capture those accounts automatically as you browse the web so your vault will start to auto-populate itself. 

The free version of LastPass is a great start to creating a more secure online world for yourself, friends & beloved family. If you feel inclined to take it one step further, you can upgrade to their $3/month premium version and enjoy LastPass on any device you own whereas the free version limits you to just one device.  

With a premium account, you also receive a security score. LastPass analyzes your account credentials cached on your frequently visited websites and grades you on a scale of 1-100. The security score is a combined rating of how strong your passwords are – meaning their overall complexity and length. 

You can raise your security score by changing the passwords that are weak. Admittedly, this can be a time-consuming process. However, LastPass makes it easy by showing you which passwords need to be changed in a dashboard and auto-generating secure passwords for you to instantly utilize.  


NOYNIM IT Solutions  

If you are really serious about beefing up your security efforts, password management is just the tip of the iceberg. Business leaders require a robust cybersecurity plan to keep their critical data secure and network up.  

At NOYNIM, we can help you identify which cybersecurity services are necessary for your business, given IT security & cybersecurity services vary in scope depending on client requirements. The best security strategy for your business will leverage all relevant services to create multi-layered protection against ransomware & other cyberthreats. 

To learn more, we encourage you to read our post Should Your Company Consider Managed Cybersecurity ServicesIn short, engaging with a managed cybersecurity provider is a wise investment for savvy business leaders. At NOYNIM, our staff is comprised of seasoned IT professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines. 

We recruit IT engineers with strong technical expertise, many of whom were previously employed at Fortune 500 companies. Our team has experience managing a wide variety of IT environments. From IT for small businesses to complex large corporations, we offer custom IT solutions that align with your business goals. We can also help develop a Business Continuity Plan in case your business does encounter a disaster. 

Our clients experience friendly interactions, deep expertise, superior response times, and reliable service from our expert-level certified team of engineers. We understand that outsourcing your IT is a big decision. That is why we focus on establishing a highly personalized, responsive & collaborative partnership. Together, we create an IT strategy that fuels your business goals with an emphasis on keeping your network secure. 

Follow our blog and LinkedIn for more relevant cybersecurity tips and cybersecurity best practices.  

 

Date Published: October 6, 2021

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