Business

Password and Authentication Security: What Your Business Needs to Know

We are all aware of the importance of workplace network security. More and more workplaces are becoming digital and inter-connected. Most employees now need access to the enterprise’s network to perform their tasks. Thus, it is essential to have a strong password and authentication framework in place to ensure that your enterprise is protected from cyber threats. 

Let’s have a look at both in detail.

Password Security

Every employee has to login into the enterprises’ network with a user id and password. Staff logins prove to be a vulnerability and are the cause of most security breaches. As per this report, 81% of breaches happen due to weak or stolen passwords. Thus, a good way to buckle up security is to improve password management. Here’s what you need to know about password security and how you can improve it.

Default Credentials

Every device comes with a default set of usernames and passwords. Most businesses often overlook default credentials and forget to change them. This can prove to be costly as these default credentials can be obtained by a cyber-criminal. Thus, make sure to change the default password as you remove the device out of the box.

Establish Access Levels

Privileged accounts have access to business-critical information. Thus, they pose significant security risks if they are not protected properly. So, take extra protection with these accounts. Restrict their access to only authorized employees. Moreover, keep re-evaluating their access permissions on a regular basis.

Password Audits

Just because there is a password policy in place doesn’t mean that every employee is following it. Thus, have regular password audits conducted at the workplace. These audits should track password activities across the organization.

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For example, the audit should include data about which account was accessed and on which device. Similarly, the audits should also include details such as password strength and length used by the employees. It should also find out whether the passwords are in compliance with the set policies.

Train Employees

Your security is only as strong as your weakest and least-informed employee, no matter how robust your set policies are. Therefore, it is equally important to train your employees regarding good password practices. Educate them why they need strong passwords, how they can create strong passwords, how to use password managers, why it is important not to share passwords and other aspects regarding password security. 

Additionally, train employees about other network security practices like using a viable residential proxy, robust firewall, strong antivirus software, and secure wifi for work purposes. In this case, using a proxy will help them hide their identity when connected to the internet, and thus improve network and data security.

It may take time to educate employees about passwords and other associated network security practices. However, it is worth it, and you’ll reap the benefits in the long run.

Password Changes

Generally, passwords are created once and are then used forever by employees. Additionally, the same password is used for multiple accounts and logins. As per Google research, about sixty-five percent of people use the same passwords across different, if not all, accounts. However, using the same password for a long time and for different accounts is a risky business. If the password gets compromised, all the accounts are put at risk.

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Thus, ask your employees to frequently keep changing their passwords and use different passwords for different accounts to increase security. Have a policy in place that requires employees to change their critical passwords every few months.

Password Managers

There are various password managers available that help you store multiple passwords securely without having the need to remember each one. There are three categories of password managers to choose from. They are:

  • Local: The passwords are stored on the device’s local drive.
  • Cloud-based: The passwords are stored online in the cloud.
  • Browser-based: They are similar to local password managers where the password is stored on the local drive. The only difference is that they are built-in to web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Each type of password manager has its own set of pros and cons. For instance, local passwords are accessible only on the device they are stored on. However, if a mechanical failure happens, the passwords cannot be accessed. Therefore, consider the usability and security provided by each before you choose one.

Now that we have looked at password security, we move to authentication security and what your business needs to know about it.

Authentication Security

Authentication is the process of verifying an employee or a device. Password security is a subset of authentication security. Along with passwords, there are other methods that can be used to authenticate a user or device. Let’s have an in-depth look at authentication security and how you can improve it.

Types of Authentication

There are three types of authentication. They are:

  1. Something that the user knows – ID, passwords, PIN codes, etc.
  2. Something that the user possesses – smartphones, RFID chips, etc.
  3. Something that the user is – biometric data like fingerprints or facial recognition.
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Businesses can use any one or a combination of the three above-mentioned types of authentication to improve security at the workplace. Currently, biometric security is widely used as the authentication method at workplaces as they provide better security than the other two. However, it is advised to use a combination of authentication methods to keep the security at the highest level.

In addition to these, authentication can also be classified into different levels.

Levels of Authentication

There are three levels of authentication. They are:

  1. Single authentication- Authentication is done using only a single method. For example, using a password to log in to a Facebook account.
  2. Two-factor authentication- In this, the identity needs to be verified using two methods. For example, Facebook sends a verification code to a recognized device, even after entering the username and password.
  3. Multi-level authentication- This is similar to two-factor authentication. In this, more than two methods are used to verify identity. For example, a laptop requires a username, password, and fingerprint to verify the user’s identity.

Two-factor and multi-factor authentication provides a high level of security and, thus, should be adopted at the enterprise.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the type of business you run, it is essential that you have a robust password and authentication security framework in place as security breaches get more common. We hope that this blog helped you in determining the policies you need to implement to create a safe and secure work environment.

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