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Strong passwords: the first line of defense in cybersecurity

Employees and owners alike use passwords every day to access services like email, payroll, and internal company systems. Unfortunately, hackers can ruin a business just by guessing passwords to one or more of these systems. It’s crucial to create strong passwords and protect them, to in turn, protect the company. And while creating, updating, and protecting these passwords can be cumbersome, it’s a best practice for defending against cybercriminals. Here are some effective password procedures to consider implementing:

Create strong passwords
It’s quick and easy for hackers to write a software program that can guess millions of passwords per second. Even passwords that combine numbers, letters, and special characters can be guessed. As an alternative, randomly generated passwords or a long passphrase are better options that are a recommended practice when creating or changing passwords.

Change passwords regularly
There’s a reason why some software systems require a new password every 90 or 180 days. It’s a good habit to get into, especially for accounts that contain sensitive data or personal information. Also, if any account information was leaked in a data breach, those passwords should be changed immediately.

Don’t reuse passwords
People commonly use the same exact password for multiple different services, from their social media accounts to their bank accounts. Hackers are very aware of this and know that if they can hack into one service, they can likely use the same password to get to additional sensitive information as well.

Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
MFA is a way to enhance security for accounts beyond just a username and password. Multi-factor authentication verifies identification through a trusted device like a smartphone or through biometrics like a fingerprint scan.

All of these password procedures take time and effort. However, with the increase in cyber attacks and data breaches, the extra security is well worth the investment of time and energy. Remember, strong passwords are the first line of defense in cybersecurity!

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