A Quick Guide To Password Managers
Is the cybersecurity of your enterprise up to snuff?
Are you sure?
All of the controls, systems, and processes put in place to preserve your organization from the actions of today’s savvy cybercriminals can’t help you if your teams are using simple, easy-to-guess passwords for your corporate applications.
Poor password hygiene is a leading cause of security breaches and hacks—so much so, in fact, that it is estimated to be responsible for roughly 80% of all cybercrime-related activities.
Before you go running off to enforce stronger passwords across your organization, consider the easier, much more effective approach—password managers.
As simple and intuitive as they sound, password managers are software applications that are used to store, generate, and manage passwords for individuals or groups. It might sound too good to be true, but we assure you that this is one exception that proves the rule.
Today, we’ll take a quick look at the features and functionality that make password managers so essential to modern businesses.
How Password Managers Keep You Safe
In the simplest terms, password managers are software applications that generate and store passwords for individual websites, applications, and web services on a central keychain. Consumer versions of this include Apple’s iCloud Keychain or Google’s Password Manager, but there exist plenty of third-party or enterprise applications suitable for corporate use.
In essence, these password managers all work similarly. When a user is prompted to create a password, the password manager, either through an application or web-based integration, generates a string of random characters, including numbers, letters, and special symbols. These are typically 16 characters long, and, most importantly, are completely unique each time they’re generated.
This means that whether an employee has just one account or ten, they can use a password manager to generate unique, highly secure passwords that they won’t need to write down or remember.
In order to keep these passwords safe, the manager stores them in an encrypted location. Desktop-based password managers do this on the device in question, while cloud-based passwords are stored on the service provider’s network.
In either case, the security of passwords stored on a manager is extremely high. In the case of cloud-based password managers, passwords are centrally stored in a server with high-end encryption—typically military grade—that makes it extremely difficult to breach.
Quick Tips for Password Manager Success
If you’re ready to commit to the use of a password manager to secure your corporate accounts, here are a few helpful tips to get you started.
Don’t treat password managers as a one-size-fits-all solution. Password managers are incredible tools for enhancing security, but they work best when paired with other tools. For example, SSO—single-sign on—solutions work excellently in conjunction with password managers. Similarly, multi-factor authentication can add that extra layer of security to give you complete peace of mind.
Don’t make the mistake of opting for a free solution. It might be tempting, especially for smaller businesses, but free password managers often suffer from sub-standard encryption, as well as a lack of essential features. If your business is processing any sensitive data, always go the extra mile with a paid solution to ensure that your data is in safe hands.
Enforce a strong password policy. Password managers still need the user to provide a master password in order to unlock their accounts, so it’s essential that this password is highly secure. Work with your IT team to build a password policy that enforces resilience and security by eliminating short, easy-to-guess words and phrases.
The Final Word on Password Managers
In today’s day and age, it’s important to use the tools you have available to ensure that your business and its assets are safe from harm. Password managers have proven themselves to be extremely effective at preserving password integrity, so there’s really no excuse not to be using one to your advantage. We hope that this article has convinced you, and that you’re ready to take the necessary next step in enhancing your corporate security.