Passwords are a real pain for most people. But imagine what it’s like for a business owner. Companies often have dozens of accounts with vendors and suppliers. They work with accountants, manufacturers, delivery companies—even the guy who brings the water each week. All these represent accounts and for each account, there’s a password. But what is it?

Are Your Passwords A Priority?

As a business owner, these passwords should be a number one priority and yet many of them don’t have any clue who is in charge of passwords, where they’re kept or what they are. This has become a more prevalent problem for several reasons:

  • Employees quit and move on to other opportunities. What if the guy who manages all your passwords doesn’t show up for work one day?
  • Hacking and ransomware are a huge problem for businesses all over the world. Many companies are still not using two-factor authentication. They aren’t even using strong enough passwords. Let’s stop making it so easy for hackers to get in!
  • Industrial espionage is a real thing these days. Companies hire thieves to go to work for other businesses, learn all they can about their technology, then steal it. Imagine if your biggest competitor had the passwords to all your accounts.
  • Saving millions on R&D could give any company the edge. A recent article in Investopedia says that obtaining trade secrets from the energy, biotech, computer, chemical and auto sectors has become a common crime. Sometimes these secrets are used for bribery and blackmail and other times the information is stolen so it can be high jacked by a competitor. This can save a company millions of dollars in research and development. All they have to do is steal or copy some of your valuable documents. And all they need to do this is your passwords.

Password Missteps

What is the number one mistake people make when creating passwords? Believe it or not, people still use commonly known things like their birthdate, their spouse’s birthdate or a combination of their kid’s names. This is sheer madness! We simply make it too easy for crooks to get hold of our online documents. And with the advanced technology that cybercriminals use these days, it only takes them a few moments to crack most passwords. We aren’t even making it difficult for thieves to steal from us.

Too Busy?

Business owners often wear many hats. They have to oversee so much of their daily operations. They may have just lost a valuable employee or released a new product. There’s always something important going on. It’s no wonder that they turn over these seemingly smaller tasks to trusted employees. Often, if you ask a business owner about his passwords, he’ll tell you that the IT department is in charge of all that. But who is the IT department? There may be a few individuals who’ve been with the company for several years. But very often these employees work for a company for a year or so, then move on to greener pastures.

Each time an IT employee who had access to your passwords leaves your company, it should be standard policy to change them all. But this rarely happens. People get busy. They have so many irons in the fire. Maybe the business owner feels he can trust his IT people to do the right thing. But this sets up a scenario where any number of expensive mistakes can happen.

  • An ex-employee might be persuaded to divulge your passwords to a competitor for the right amount of money.
  • An angry ex-employee might want revenge so he could break into files and delete important documents.
  • A careless employee could put your passwords in an easy-to-find digital or physical location.

Employees Can Work For or Against You

For business owners, your employees may be your most valuable asset. But sometimes they can be your weakest link. They get careless, too busy, or they simply want to damage your business because they feel jilted. It’s important to be aware of all these various things that could go wrong. As they say, anything that “could” go wrong will eventually do so.

The bottom line for business owners is to protect what you’ve created. You’ve built a great company that employs dozens of people. You can better provide for your family now. Your employees have obligations too so if something negative happens to your business, it affects a lot of people. Those are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about those all-important passwords. They are the key to your everyday business operations.

A prudent business owner will always know where those passwords are and who has control over them. You should have a strong policy to protect them from outsiders or even your own employees. Anytime someone leaves your company who had access to the passwords, they should all be changed. Yes, this is a hassle, but the alternative is that you lose thousands of dollars or even your business reputation in the marketplace.

Need More Help?

For help with safeguarding your passwords, ask your managed IT service provider to recommend a solid system. This is their area of expertise. They know about all the latest cyber scams. Most managed IT companies have been around the block a few times. They’ve seen and heard it all and their expertise can be a valuable commodity that you should take advantage of.

Published By : Shane Kimbrel   On: 12 May 2019