Article Found on INC.COM
Owning a small business means owning data. You’re constantly acquiring new information related to your customers and financial details, as well as all the vendors and contractors with whom you work. However, one cybercriminal or one lucky hack can expose your business to a major blow. From lost trust among your clients to costly lawsuits for the damage done, protecting your company from data theft is among your most important responsibilities.
Much of this risk hinges on one simple choice you make: passwords.
“Overall, passwords still present the biggest challenge for businesses of all sizes,” says Ron Schlecht, founder and managing partner of BTB Security. Businesses hire Schlecht’s company to test their digital security for weak spots. “You can’t imagine how many times we still break in to companies because of a bad password,” he says.
If you want to avoid weak passwords at your business, start by steering clear of the following list. Read on for seven passwords you should never use.
Arguably, this is the number-one and most common bad choice. Also prevalent are variations such as P@ssword and P@55w0rd!. These might be easy to remember, but they’re also among the first options hackers will try.
Easy-to-guess passwords often take root because they’re simple to remember. That’s the story with this hacker-friendly option constructed from the sequence of letters at the top left of the typical computer keyboard.
Or, 98765. Or, 4567. You get the picture–no consecutive numbers (and the same goes for sequential letter combinations). You can only count on passwords such as these to expose your business to digital theft.
If your shop is called Serafina’s Weddings, don’t set your password as SerafinasWeddings1. That would be an easy choice for hackers looking to break into your valuable data.
Skip it entirely, when it comes to passwords. Also avoid trying to mash together similar details, such as your street name and street number–i.e. Main215.
Date of Birth
Thanks to the internet, it doesn’t take much effort to find a person’s date of birth. Birthdays, birthdates, years of birth–all of them make for readily attainable passwords and are poor choices for your company.
Simple Dictionary Words
Skip simple words, especially if they’re related to your business, don’t use them. For example, avoid “baseball,” “football,” or “soccer”for your sporting goods store. Similarly, “muffler,” “tire,” or “sparkplug” are risky for an auto service center.
And so, what should you do when it comes to picking a password?
A key approach starts with thinking of a passphrase. Next, substitute letters, characters, and abbreviations for parts of it. Let’s say your phrase is “my first car was a honda in 1990.” Thatwould be easy enough to remember. Now, change it to my1stc@r=honda90.
Steer clear of the not-so-magnificent seven above, and protect your data with hard-to-guess constructions. With a strong password strategy, you’re well on your way to foiling online attacks.
Next Steps: Are you looking to expand and grow your small business but don’t have time to keep up with the latest trends and technology? We’ve got you covered with the weekly Small Biz Ahead newsletter. Sign up today and start receiving the weekly newsletter chock full of the latest tools and resources to help you run a successful business.
Isler Northwest LLC is a firm of certified public accountants and business advisors based in Portland, Oregon. Our local, regional, and global resources, our expertise, and our emphasis on innovative solutions and continuity create value for our clients. Our service goals at Isler NW is to earn our clients trust as their primary business and financial advisors.
1300 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201