Running a small to medium-sized company involves making intentional decisions to protect your business at every step. Cybersecurity is one of the key areas that IT managers and business owners need to factor into their operations. Today, many SMB breaches are due to leaked or stolen passwords from employees – 81% to be precise. But, there is a solution to this cyber threat: password managers.
Many business leaders are still questioning whether they should use a password manager within their organization. This article explains everything you need to know about password managers, why they’re important, and how they protect your company against data breaches.
What is a Business Password Manager?
In the workplace and in our personal lives, the number of password-protected accounts we interact with has proliferated in recent years. With a multitude of sites requiring a username/email and password to access, we can struggle to remember the relevant credentials, which leads to two significant problems.
First, many people will settle by reusing a single password across many accounts. In one Google survey, 52% of respondents said they were using a single password across multiple accounts. The second concern is that employees are likely to create weak, easy-to-remember passwords or write them down somewhere accessible (e.g. in sticky notes or unprotected documents). This makes it easy for malicious actors to steal them. A password manager solves these two issues, among other benefits to businesses and employees.
A password manager is a tool that stores and manages login credentials in one place for an easy, secure sign-in experience. Most password managers can also auto-generate strong and unique passwords during the account sign-up stage. Typically, a password manager features a vault where individuals, employees, or teams can lock their login credentials and access them using a master password. Therefore, instead of having to remember all of your passwords, you only have the master password to recall.
Why are Business Password Managers Important?
As cybersecurity incidents targeting small-medium businesses continue to soar, password managers are an important line of defense. A password management strategy at your organization enables your staff to protect their credentials against theft and phishing threats. This strategy should incorporate a company-wide password policy as well as the implementation of a password manager.
Businesses that use password managers ensure robust and difficult-to-guess passwords. Another vital feature of a business password manager is the fact that security across devices can be monitored in one place. This makes it easy to mitigate cybersecurity risks and quarantine potentially compromised devices early.
Should You Use a Business Password Manager?
No matter the size of your business, you should use a password manager as part of your cybersecurity strategy. Security breaches are extremely costly for SMBs, and can topple your business in a matter of minutes. One report shows that almost 60% of small businesses close their doors within half a year of being hit by a cybersecurity attack. This is usually due to the associated downtime and recovery costs that can easily overwhelm the business. A password manager can substantially reduce the possibility of such a breach.
The 8 Reasons to Use a Business Password Manager
If you’re still undecided, here are eight reasons why your business should implement a password manager as soon as possible:
1. Ease Password Overload
Employees don’t need to remember every password or reuse one password across multiple business tools. Besides, cloud-based password managers provide the convenience of accessing the password across any device, now that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is increasingly commonplace.
2. No More Weak Passwords
A strong password is considered to be at least eight characters with a mixture of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters. But, how many employees are likely to create such a combination? Password managers can effortlessly generate long, random, and very strong passwords that hackers will struggle to penetrate.
3. Operational Efficiency
Having your IT help desk waste time resolving employee password reset requests is inefficient and wastes business resources. On the other hand, employees are unlikely to be able to work until their password reset request is resolved. A password manager eliminates these issues and improves employee productivity.
4. Protection Against Phishing and Identity Theft
If a worker unwittingly clicks a phishing link in an email, the password manager will not autofill the fake form. It will recognize the domain as fake. Some can even alert the security team when there is such an instance. Password managers also make it harder for criminals to steal identities as auto-generated passwords are not tied to the user’s identity and do not feature personal details such as birthdays, pets’ names, etc.
5. Eliminates the Data Breach Domino Effect
Suppose a cybercriminal accesses one user password. If that password has been used in other accounts, all the other applications are also automatically compromised. A password manager generates a unique password for each application, eliminating a data breach domino effect when a single account is compromised.
6. Password Changes Can be Monitored
Policies alone are not enough to protect your business. If you encourage employees to change passwords frequently to secure your network, you can monitor how often this is adhered to and ensure the use of strong passwords when employees are updating their logins.
7. 2-FA Authentication
Single-factor authentication isn’t enough to ensure security. Most business password managers add another layer of protection by enforcing 2-FA authentication for users before they can access your company portal or applications.
8. Greater Security than Browser Password Management
A common trend for users with no password manager is to use the modern browser feature of saving a password in the browser memory and auto-filling the details when logging in. This is not safe for your business. If the browser or the user’s device is compromised, it means that the passwords can be stolen. With a password manager, the user has to have a master password to unlock the vault.
Business Password Management is Critical to Business Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is more than just having a password manager. However, using a password manager within your business IT environment is a critical part of your cybersecurity strategy. While many free password managers are on the market, they’re only suitable for personal use. For advanced security and features, you should choose a paid password manager which is less vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks.
With the growth of remote and hybrid workplaces, a password manager can ensure that your teams are less susceptible to data breaches. Your work-from-home employees can access the company network securely while at home, and your IT support team can monitor your IT security status and revoke access from a central application whenever needed. If you need help improving your cybersecurity, contact Electric for proactive IT support from the experts.