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Data Security is a Team Sport

For businesses of any size – and even for families, good security practices are no longer solely individual efforts. It takes a team working together to make sure the weakest link in any security chain is strong enough to challenge any hacker trying to breach a system.

When we visit our business and nonprofit clients, we frequently talk with employees about their tech problems. Employees remembering their passwords is still the biggest problem we face, and we try to get them to try a system that creates a long password that’s easy to remember. It usually involves their name and something that rhymes with it – plus some numbers and special characters. For example, HannahfromMontana can be the core of the password with some numbers and characters either at the beginning or end or in the middle.

Something like that is unique and personal, and an employee has a much better shot at remembering the password. It’s a big improvement over what we usually see when we’re in offices. We see passwords taped to monitors, where they are easy for anyone to see as they walk through the space.

We continually emphasize to employers and managers that it’s their responsibility to keep their employees’ passwords safe; it’s part of running the operation.

You can also improve security in the office by using a VPN (virtual private network). It’s an encrypted private connection between two machines. When you use a VPN, your PC or other smart device connects to another server and uses that server’s information to browse the internet rather than its true network information. Any site tracking user data would then see the VPN server’s information instead of your device’s information.

They’re especially good for workplaces and remote work setups because employees can use secure connections to their workplace PCs and company applications and files, no matter where they are. This ensures that valuable customer and company data is as safe as it can be, even when working from home.

On the minus side, they tend to run at slower internet speeds, but this is gradually becoming less of an issue though, because VPN services are getting better. Most large VPN providers boast a minimal loss of connection speeds.

Another option to consider is setting up a password manager for your employees. We have had some success with these apps for our business clients. One downside is that all password manager apps require setup and some maintenance, but overall, we find them to be a good alternative to bad human password managing.

We can’t make passwords disappear, but we can help you determine the best options that work within your budget and your tolerance for risk. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to discuss your needs.