When used ineffectively, passwords can do more harm than good.

    The Weakest Link of Any Computer Security System Is the Password

    Every company IT department understands that employees in the workforce simply do not like passwords. Even so, a password is one of the key players in modern-day online security. They are used to protect an individual’s identity while safeguarding confidential information including financial records, emails and credit card numbers. However, are passwords really effective at maintaining a high level of security? 

    The Weak Link

    While we use it to protect some of our most confidential information, the weakest link of any security system appears to be the password. While many companies have strict protocols that demand the employee uses a unique password for every account they have online and off-line, the password alone is not a strong method of security. 

    Many small businesses simply do not have strict guidelines for creating unique passwords for every online account. Instead, employees are left to their own devices. Relying on human nature, they simply develop a single, easy to remember password that they use for every account they have. This puts the confidential information of the company in severe peril, with the risk of being compromised at very high levels. When left to their own devices, humans create terrible passwords. 

    Enforcing Password Management

    In order to combat human error, many large IT departments force their users to create a complex password. This process actually builds problems into the results. Most individuals that have to create a complex password seem to forget it almost as soon as they create it. Anytime a password is forgotten, a password reset is often incorporated into the process which can quickly impact productivity of the employee. 

    Another Alternative

    Relying on a username/password combination to provide the first line of defense actually offers little safeguarding at all. As an alternative, multi-factor or two-factor authentication provides a stronger level of protection. While normal single factor authentication relies on something the user knows (a password), two-factor authentication is based on something they know, as well as something that they have.
     

    There is a substantial amount of reduced risk that is created with the second level of authentication. It minimizes the potential of devastating results from brute force attacks where a hacker has the ability to easily crack or guess a password. Two-factor authentication provides less complexity while maximizing the security against any potential risk to the individual or company.

    Significant Benefits

    There are significant benefits to incorporating two-factor authentication into your company’s security procedures. This includes:

    • Improved Security –Two-factor authentication allows you to enhance your security by requiring your users to verify their identity in more ways than a password.
    • Reduced Information Theft – Two factor authentication gives you the comfort of knowing who is logging in and when. This knowledge is extremely valuable in the case of suspicious activity, and can allow you to sleep with ease knowing that you have complete eyes on your system.
    • Enhanced Productivity – When employees can perform their job from remote locations, they can improve their productivity. Two-factor authentication allows your users to remotely connect to your systems, while still maintaining a high level of security.
    • Compliance – In an industry that requires you to protect confidential information such as health records, two-factor authentication is key to meeting compliacy regulations.

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