– Bill Carey, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Siber Systems, says:

Data center managers and IT support teams, alarmed by news reports about major hacking incidents at companies like eBay, Home Depot, Sony, JPMorgan and Target, are scrambling to find new ways to harden security.  Hackers gain access in a number of ways, so there are many gaps to bridge, but at some companies, users are the weakest link in the security chain.

Poor security practices such as using a single username and password combination for home, mobile and office use have given hackers entre into personal and company accounts: One Russian hacking ring has reportedly stolen more than a billion username and password combinations, some undoubtedly used for both business and personal browsing.

Data center managers and IT support teams should be proactive about addressing user security. It’s a good idea to advise employees to use strong passwords that contain both upper and lowercase letters and numbers as well as symbols. It’s also critical to make sure users change passwords frequently (every 30-60 days) and use a unique password for each site.

These password management best practices can keep users safer online – and reduce the risk of exposure to hackers for the company as well. But it’s a real challenge for even the most conscientious user to remember complex passwords for so many different sites and to keep track of when passwords should be changed. Unfortunately, that can lead to additional security issues, such as users maintaining unencrypted lists of passwords.

So what’s the solution? A secure password management system can be the ideal answer. With a password manager, users only have to remember one password, and the password manager automatically generates secure passwords for every site they visit. Using a password manager makes life simpler and safer for users in the following ways:

  1. Faster log-ins for greater employee efficiency: A password manager allows users to log in at secure sites instantly instead of trying to remember complex passwords for a variety of different sites. Since they can log in more quickly at secure sites with a password manager, users can get more done during their workday while also accessing online accounts safely.
  1. Stronger passwords for superior hacker protection. With a strong password manager, a complex password containing letters, numbers and symbols is automatically generated for each registered site, and the system changes them frequently. That makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to account information or sell stolen data to third parties.
  1. Automatic completion of online forms for greater productivity: The right password manager can make filling out forms a snap. Employees just enter their information one time, and the next time they encounter a form, the password manager automatically fills in the relevant fields instead of the employee having to re-enter the same information.
  1. Loyalty card storage for hassle-free savings: While consumer loyalty programs and membership cards may not specifically deliver value to the organization, easy account storage can be a good selling point to entice employees to use a password manager. The right password manager keeps track of the information so employees don’t have to carry around multiple cards to take advantage of savings offers.
  1. Passwords on the go for mobile workforces. Employees are more mobile than ever before, using a variety of devices and accessing work accounts from multiple locations. With a well-designed password manager, they can take their automatic log-in credentials on the road to use with any device from any location.

With hacking on the rise, data center managers and IT teams worldwide are looking for new ways to improve security. But poor password management practices by users can undermine the most sophisticated security measures. To address that security gap, a good password management system can make it easy for users to use complex passwords and change them frequently, making user accounts – and company data – much safer.

About the Author

Bill Carey is Vice President of Marketing & Business Development at Siber Systems Inc., which offers the top-rated RoboForm Password Manager solution. Find out more about RoboForm at http://www.roboform.com/.