Enterprise IT Security: The Key to Keeping You Safe

Enterprise IT Security: The Key to Keeping You Safe

Digital threats have been a growing concern for many businesses, especially as more industries embrace remote work. The number of ransomware attacks increased by 92.7% in 2021 compared to the previous year. What started as an uncommon malware for blackmailing smaller dollar amounts, has become one of many disruptive threats. With projected ransomware damages reaching $20 billion, it’s no longer a problem that can be ignored.

Phishing attacks have also continued to see an uptick, making human judgment another vulnerability to businesses. In 2020, 65% of U.S. organizations had at least one successful phishing attack against them. That is 10% higher than the global average. With 96% of phishing attacks coming from emails, even a routine link from a seemingly authentic email may not be safe. Attacks can come in many forms, targeting organizations if unexpected ways. Solutions like enterprise IT security are one the keys to keeping you safe from them.

What Is Enterprise IT Security?

Enterprise IT security is a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity to help protect organizations from threats from many different sources. It includes proactive measures, threat detection, attack response strategies, and staff training. Due to the operational scale of an enterprise, there’s an emphasis on data protection, network security, and web server functions. The human element is always a factor too, making good cybersecurity habits beneficial for all businesses.

Why Is Cybersecurity Important?

Nearly one in five CEOs said cybersecurity risks are their greatest threat to growth. That number almost doubled from when the same group was asked just six months prior. With growth being essential to any enterprise, that upward trend is especially concerning. Threats continue to increase and change their strategies, making a proactive approach to IT security more critical than ever. 

Cybersecurity is also vital to maintaining IT compliance for your industry. Doing so helps safeguard your company and customers, while also helping prevent fines if an incident happens. Data breaches can be especially harmful to a business’s brand and reputation. Even if significant security improvements are made, public perception doesn’t change overnight, and some clients and customers may have already moved on elsewhere. When possible, it’s always best to prevent an incident before it happens rather than act after the damage is already done.

Is Enterprise IT Security Worth the Cost?

There are two sides to this question. Most will agree that the answer is always yes, regardless of industry or business size. Some security is always better than having none whatsoever. However, not all cybersecurity is the same. Every enterprise has different IT needs, business functions, and security risks. Resource utilization is a crucial component of making it worth the expense. Since profitability is needed to operate, an IT risk assessment can discover the biggest threats, give cost estimates, and help businesses get the best use out of its budget.

How Can Enterprise IT Security Help Protect a Business?

With threats coming from so many different sources, enterprise IT security can help protect a business in various ways. Cybersecurity isn’t just a one-size-fits-all approach. It includes multiple layers based on a company’s needs, reducing its overall risks. The best security strategies cater to a business’s highest risk areas, ensuring protection is prioritized in the most effective way. That can be further enhanced by security automation and data encryption. 

When it comes to ransomware, attackers will encrypt valuable data and prevent access to it unless they’re paid a ransom. 80% of victims are attacked a second time if they give the ransom fee. Doing so proves they’re willing to pay, making them a more attractive repeat target. With support from an IT specialist, databases can be frequently backed up and isolated. The backup can restore everything to normal, even if the main database gets attacked, locked, or damaged. By having a data backup, not only can ransoming be avoided, but it also reduces the chance of a second attack since hackers will prioritize organizations that are willing to pay.

There are several types of phishing schemes, all of which share a similar tactic: targeting the user directly. No matter what IT security measures are in place, users can bypass them by simply giving data like login credentials, bank records, or payment information. While email applications can naturally filter out high-risk messages, some phishing emails can still get through. Due to this, enterprise IT security often includes phishing training for staff. That provides them hands-on experience with fake emails, and gives insight into what to watch for and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Closing

When it comes to enterprise IT security, it’s a matter of when, not if, someone tests your business’s cybersecurity. While many owners may be hesitant to purchase protection for something that hasn’t happened yet, the cost of a disaster is far too great to wait for it to happen. Network downtime alone can cost an average of $5,600 per minute. Data breaches can be much more damaging, costing $210 per stolen record or twice that for healthcare. That number doesn’t include other fees, like incident investigation, customer notification, crisis control, legal expenses, and security overhauls.

With IT security being key to keeping companies safe, picking the right service provider isn’t always easy. ITonDemand provides fully comprehensive IT services that cover a broad range of business needs. Not only does that cover enterprise IT security, but it also includes managed IT services, assessments, consultations, and more across many industries. Whatever provider choice you make, cybersecurity is well worth the time and cost to implement. Not being prepared is the most expensive risk an enterprise can take.

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How Integrated IT Solutions Can Help Your Business

How Integrated IT Solutions Can Help Your Business

With technology usage shifting, some business owners are struggling to keep up with all the changes. 74% of small to midsize businesses think effective use of technology is vital to growth. However, using technology effectively is not always that simple. IT problems can unexpectedly appear, and it can be challenging to judge the right strategy, prioritization, or solution to fix them.

Some companies still lean on physical documentation to avoid IT issues and trim digital expenses. Yet, this comes with its own cost: time. In an average week, employees in paper-based office settings spend 6 hours weekly searching for documents. They’ll then spend an extra 8 hours compiling reports from them. Hybrid work environments that utilize both digital and physical record-keeping can also be affected.

With time and money being valuable assets to any organization, finding a strategy that caters to both needs can be an ongoing process. As a result, many companies are adopting integrated IT solutions to handle both factors at once. Streamlining a business’s approach to technology can help reduce IT issues and increase productivity through workplace optimization.

Table of Contents

What Are Integrated IT Solutions?

Integrated IT solutions are a combination of software components that integrate with two or more technology functions of an organization. They’re also known as platform, stack, or operational solutions. This type of solution is designed to target multiple needs and processes. By providing an impactful software combination, users can better interact with each element. These also offer more complete datasets since direct interactions are observable, making it easier to analyze and understand data trends.

How Do They Compare to Point Solutions?

Point solutions are often used to fix a single issue or serve one purpose without considering other issues or needs. The advantage of this is a quicker response time because the solution doesn’t have to be integrated elsewhere. That makes it helpful in making focused adjustments. A common example of a point solution is any single-purpose software that doesn’t interact with anything else. While they can be developed in-house, many businesses opt for off-the-shelf solutions to save time and money.

While there are appealing short-term benefits, there are several downsides too. Each point solution must be used and maintained separately. Whether using an in-house team or managed IT services, it can create a greater burden on the IT staff and the users. It can be difficult to make broader changes to workflow or anticipate how new systems may impact the function or necessity of others. Training can also be more expensive. Getting employees caught up on each function takes time and can be hard to communicate in an easy-to-learn manner.

What Are the Main Benefits of Integrated It Solutions?

When developing an organization’s infrastructure, there are a lot of variables to look at. That includes software functions, staff needs, budgetary constraints, data analytics, and overall goals. With integrated IT solutions, benefits come in a variety of forms and can have an impact on multiple areas.

Connectivity between software

One of the primary benefits of integrated IT solutions is the connectivity between software. Microsoft 365 is a common stack solution with tools like Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Teams. All of them are cross-compatible and can fully interact with each other. While some standalone software can be effective, cross-compatibility and ease of use have made integration more valuable.

Less software to maintain

Using and maintaining separate software tools can quickly snowball into a time-consuming task. Every program has different requirements, guidelines, changelogs, and functions within a work environment. If a new need comes up, it may require yet another piece of independent software. That can create new issues or redundancies that are difficult to anticipate. Integrated solutions get around this by using a combined technology stack. That ensures cross-compatibility, better efficiency, and easier maintenance.

Centralized cybersecurity

Managing separate software makes tracking and preventing cybersecurity threats more challenging. With 91% of small to midsize businesses having no cyber liability insurance and 54% having no plan to deal with cyber-attacks, taking a proactive approach is especially important. By using an integrated solution, it narrows down both the strengths and weaknesses into a single technology stack. That makes it easier to watch for, prevent, and counter cyber threats.

Simplified user interface

Standalone software is often designed with only its internal user interface in mind. Even if it’s intuitive for its independent usage, this becomes a problem because every software has a different UI and workflow. This requires staff to understand information and interact with each software differently. Frequently shifting between too many unconnected applications can cause a decrease in productivity. With integrated solutions, everything is built with a single ecosystem in mind. That makes the knowledge from one area helpful for navigating everything else.

Quicker and cheaper training

The speed and cost of staff training often coincide. The longer it takes to train a new employee, the more expensive it becomes and the longer it’ll take them to reach full productivity. In 2021, the average cost to train a new employee was $1,071. For small businesses though, this number is much higher at $1,433. That suggests differences in process and efficiency based on the scale and resources of an organization. Since integrated solutions streamline the workflow, learning is more accessible, even for small businesses.

Lower long-term costs

When considering a larger purchase, not all companies look at the total cost of ownership (TCO), which is the lifetime cost. Overhauling IT infrastructure can be expensive, especially when transitioning from multiple point solutions to a single integrated solution. However, most of the expense is frontloaded. Maintaining these systems can be much cheaper, factoring in the solution’s lifetime. Point solutions can be more affordable upfront but cost a company much more throughout its lifetime due to inefficiency.

Good scalability

Businesses are rarely static in size or function. There can be periods of growth or times when cutbacks are needed. With integrated solutions, scalability is an often-understated strength. Having an all-in-one IT infrastructure allows organizational changes to be handled much easier and faster through less intensive adjustments. That removes the need for major overhauls or shifts in company processes, which may be required when reliant on point solutions.

When Should a Business Use an Integrated IT Solution?

This is best determined by an IT assessment, which can help diagnose the problem and offer input into the options available to solve it. There is a multitude of factors that go into the assessment process. Some of those are:

  • The size of the issue.
  • Short-term vs. long-term value.
  • What the available budget is.
  • The speed at which a solution is needed.
  • What the company functions are.
  • Anticipated future IT needs.
  • The staff workflow.
  • Training time available.
  • Current IT infrastructure.

An IT specialist will analyze the business and IT structure to better understand what will be most effective and affordable. A smaller company with minor IT needs may benefit more from point solutions since the downsides are less impactful when using simpler architecture. On the flip side, organizations with heavier software usage are more likely to benefit from integrated solutions. Assessments can help determine which approach to use.

Closing

While point solutions are a solid strategy for smaller businesses with lower technology needs, Integrated IT solutions act as an efficient approach for layering multiple types of software. With 85% of American citizens owning a smartphone, cross-compatibility between hardware and devices has become increasingly important too. The more employees a business has, the more critical it is for connectivity between communication, software, devices, and databases.

Every organization is unique and can benefit from a custom mix of software tools and solution types. That is best done through a multi-step process to analyze your infrastructure, discuss your needs, and develop a catered strategy to ensure you get the right fit. Regardless of the type of solution chosen, service providers like ITonDemand can assist you through every step of the way to ensure everything is set up correctly and runs smoothly.

Contact Us for Integrated IT Solutions

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Top 15 Benefits of Managed IT Services

Top 15 Benefits of Managed IT Services

When running a business, information technology (IT) can be complex, time-consuming, and essential. However finding, hiring, and training qualified IT staff members has become more difficult than ever. With long hiring periods due to the specialization of the role, 41% of companies cite a talent shortage as the biggest obstacle to adopting new digital workplace technologies. Globally this skill gap is expected to grow, and by 2030, it may cause around $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues.

With the shortage having no end in sight, organizations attempting to wait it out may have to continue to do so indefinitely. While having a full-time IT specialist on the payroll can be appealing, it’s also expensive to maintain them. A single IT specialist is paid $57,000 annually on average, which can scale up depending on years of experience. As a result, cost justification becomes a factor, as they’ll continue to be paid even on days when everything is going smoothly.

To fill the gap between talent shortage, lengthy hiring periods, and cost justification, managed IT services have become a key component for many companies globally. They provide access to a group of IT specialists who can help on-demand and fill several different roles. Not only can small businesses benefit from using IT service management, but they support organizations of any size across most industries. Here are 15 of the top benefits.

1. All-in-one source for IT

Not knowing who to talk to when you have questions or issues can waste time and cause staff delays as they wait for a response. By using a managed service provider (MSP), companies will have an all-in-one source for their IT needs, questions, and troubleshooting. Streamlining into a single point of contact allows problems to be responded to and acted upon more efficiently.

2. Improved cybersecurity

Online functions are a core part of modern organizations, making cybersecurity vital to the safety of employees and customers alike. Digital threats will continue to grow, with DDoS attacks expected to reach 15.4 million annually by 2023. Outsourced network management will help protect you through active encryption and threat detection. MSPs can also implement proactive measures to help prevent hackers from gaining a foothold in the first place. 

3. High return on investment

Most organizations handle a mixture of different expenses. Since funds are limited, it’s important to prioritize areas that provide the most return on investment (ROI). Maintaining a full spectrum of IT staff can be costly, especially during slow periods when they may be left idle. By using managed IT services, businesses can maximize their ROI by outsourcing both the work and the extra expenses to a third party. As a result, you’re only paying for what you need.

4. IT compliance

Meeting and maintaining IT compliance standards takes a lot of technical know-how. Every industry has a unique set of needs, expectations, and requirements to ensure companies and customers alike are kept safe. That covers an array of regulatory standards, such as NIST-800, CMMC, SOC-2, HIPAA, and PCI. These can help keep everything from medical records to credit card information secure.

5. 24/7 IT support

IT problems and security threats are rarely expected, making quick responsiveness pivotal to maintaining business functions. By having access to a help desk support line and a group of specialists with 24/7 availability, IT issues can be tackled quickly and effectively. Whether it’s a routine question or requires more in-depth attention, the faster the response speed, the sooner the problem can be solved.

6. Data backup protection

Data is essential to the function of most businesses globally, making the security and reliability of that information an ongoing concern. Since data management is also subject to IT compliance regulations, it is expensive and difficult to back up and maintain databases. With outsourced IT services, organization data backups are managed and updated with the latest compliance standards.

7. Improved business focus

IT problems and poorly designed infrastructure can be a liability, as it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back on task after being sidetracked. That can make it difficult to focus on day-to-day functions, lowering the overall quality of products, services, and customer experience. All IT matters can be redirected to a third party with managed IT services. This, in turn, frees up the time and resources to focus on what matters most: your business.

8. Cost-cutting strategies

The cost of information technology can get bloated as unnecessary expenses and inefficient software functions are added over time. An MSP can help centralize your software tools, focusing on the essential components that keep your business running. Other cost-cutting strategies can also modify other aspects of the workflow, reducing the number of unneeded software licenses paid for and maintained.

9. Reliable solutions

It can be challenging to know which solutions are most effective for each circumstance since every solution may have different pros and cons connected with them. Managed service providers have experience across many industries. That lets them know what’s practical and the techniques needed to implement new software or hardware properly. Using proven solutions means less risk and shorter downtimes as systems are overhauled.

10. Productivity boost

Maintaining a productive environment helps keep businesses running with a more predictable output. However, software issues, outdated hardware, and inefficient processes can cause that output to drop. MSPs can boost productivity by fixing those software issues, upgrading hardware, and increasing the efficiency of the workflow using modernized solutions.

11. Reduced staff errors

Even tiny interruptions can be detrimental to staff performance. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, a 3-second distraction can double the number of workplace errors. And a 4 1/2 second distraction can triple them. By reducing the number of minor IT issues, staff will have less frequent interruptions and, in turn, have a higher quality of work output.

12. Flexible services

Every business has a unique set of needs, goals, and obstacles in how they function. The importance of IT service management comes from the flexibility to match that, ensuring they can get the services that’ll best support them. Additionally, many providers will have additional offerings such as IT consulting, IT assessments, and project services.

13. Predictable expenses

IT problems can create costs that will spiral out of control, which may require additional IT staff, resources, and troubleshooting. Sudden expenses can damage any business, especially when operating with a tight margin that may not offer the needed leeway. With outsourced managed IT services, the monthly rate isn’t impacted by unexpected events, and they already have the staff on hand to handle issues of any size.

14. Knowledgeable staff

With experience across a variety of industries, managed service providers have experience and insight that spans well beyond the reach of any individual business. Combined with a larger staff size, MSPs have specialists on board who have seen and handled nearly every type of problem. That gives them an advantage over in-house IT staff, who commonly have a limited scope of knowledge and understanding.

15. Scaling IT services

No two companies are perfect copies of each other. They have differences in clientele, employees, work environment, software flow, growth rate, and other factors. With this, every IT situation is different and is continually changing at different speeds. With a larger pool of staff and knowledge to draw from, managed IT services can scale with the size and costs of a business. Whether a small start-up company or an established corporation, MSPs can match different needs and circumstances.

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9 Habits to Improve Your Cybersecurity

9 Habits to Improve Your Cybersecurity

Online threats are at an all-time high, making healthy cybersecurity habits more important than ever. According to a report by Risk Based Security, there were 28,695 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2021. They noted that even with resource prioritization, patching all those in one year is unrealistic. This makes it an ongoing threat to remote workers and office employees alike.

Not only are vulnerabilities more frequent, but APWG’s Q4 report showed that phishing attacks have tripled compared to early 2020. Threats can come from a variety of directions, making defense a difficult task when only using a single strategy. Cybersecurity solutions can go a long way to help, but there are also several things a user can do to help counter these hazards.

1. Avoid clicking unknown links

Whether it’s an unexpected email, an internet pop-up, or a random link in chat, be careful clicking anything out of the ordinary. Some links may lead you to rogue downloads. Others may copy real websites and prompt you for your login details to steal them.

While there are many ways for your devices to get attacked, emails are a common entry point. Round Robin suggested over 75% of cyber-attacks start with an email. Never install something unplanned. And with phishing links, you may not even know your information was stolen until the damage is already done. For important accounts, log in from the website directly. Don’t follow a link to it from elsewhere.

2. Keep your antivirus up to date

Even if you’re careful with the links you click, it’s important to keep your antivirus updated. This allows it to do its job better by knowing the latest threats. To make this easier, most antivirus software has the option to update in the background.

3. Make sure your wi-fi is secure

Make sure your wi-fi network has WPA2 or WPA3 encryption enabled. Setting strong wi-fi and network admin passwords is important too because the default ones are commonly easy to guess. Don’t access accounts with sensitive data on unsecured public wi-fi, as it’s vulnerable to hackers.

With the surge in the at-home workforce over the past few years, home wi-fi has become a notable factor in cybersecurity. If you’re having trouble checking or improving your wi-fi network security, services like ITonDemand can help.

4. Always use a firewall

Modern computers will often communicate when there’s a firewall issue, making it easy to take for granted. They’re vital to your computer’s security by filtering out a variety of threat sources. Make sure it’s active before doing anything while you’re connected to the internet.

5. Maintain backups of your data

Lost data can be severely damaging, but redundancy will lessen the impact of unexpected events. It’s beneficial to have multiple types of backups, including one that ransomware can’t access. Keep backups as secure as the rest of your data.

6. Protect your accounts

There are a lot of useful methods to help protect your accounts. This includes multi-factor authentication, strong passwords, and even the security questions you choose. It’s always worth taking those extra steps.

7. Be careful sending text messages

Not all phones or messaging apps are secure. SMS texts are not end-to-end encrypted, meaning your cellular provider can view the contents. Some apps may similarly view and store private messages. iPhones have encrypted text messaging, but their iCloud backups aren’t and are viewable by anyone with access to your account.

8. Limit personal details on social media

Social media is a great way to interact with others online, but it’s also viewable by those with malicious intent. Things like name, phone number, address, place of work, and other data may be searchable. Because of this, limit how many personal details you share. This data is often used to guess the security questions that help protect your accounts.

9. Don’t leave devices unattended

When out in public, be careful about leaving your devices alone. While most cybersecurity threats are virtual, a stolen device gives a thief unique physical access. If you lose one, report it and log out of all active account sessions from a different device. Some services allow you to mark it as missing to help with this.

Closing

Not all threats can be easily discovered or addressed. With technology advancing, everything from appliances to smartwatches may connect to the internet. A Kaspersky report detected 1.5 billion Internet of Things (IoT) attacks in the first half of 2021. These target a wide array of internet-capable devices. Poor cybersecurity habits can contribute to this risk.

According to a 2019 Harris Poll coordinated with Google, only 37% of people use two-factor authentication. 66% of the surveyed group use the same password for more than one account, and just 45% would change their password after a data breach. ITonDemand can help provide protection, but good individual habits will further boost your security.

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What Is Social Engineering and How Do You Stop It?

What Is Social Engineering and How Do You Stop It?

Social engineering has been gaining awareness in recent years, leaving many people wondering how to stop it. According to Purplesec’s 2021 Cyber Security report, an alarming 98% of cyber attacks rely on social engineering. 71% of attacks involve malware, most of those happening by email. It’s a standard method of attack that has affected most industries and has continued to grow in recent years.

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is a type of attack that uses human behavior to steal sensitive information. Rather than acquiring it by force, the goal is to get people to freely provide it. By establishing trust, they set up the target in a way where their requests seem reasonable.

How is social engineering done?

Social engineering is usually a multi-step process. The attacker will start by profiling the target and choosing the method of attack. The next step is getting in contact and establishing themselves as trustworthy. Once they have the desired information, they take it and cut off communication.

Why is it dangerous?

Unlike external threats, social engineering is dangerous because it targets people directly. The human factor is an ever-present vulnerability with cybersecurity. They can give information upfront or allow the attacker to bypass protection.

What are some types of social engineering?

There are many types of social engineering that should be watched for.

    • Pretexting: Creating a believable scenario that establishes authority, need, and trust. Pretexting could be as upfront as someone claiming they need access to data or hardware for routine maintenance.
    • Phishing: Impersonating a well-known company through chat, email, or online ads. Phishing can involve linking to a fake landing page that imitates the actual website. From there, they may prompt the target to download a file with malware or to give their login details.
    • Vishing: Like phishing but done over the phone. The attacker may spoof their phone number to make it appear to be coming from an official support center. Vishing can involve asking for remote access to the target’s computer or account credentials.
    • Spam Emails: Most spam emails get filtered, but well-written ones can bypass that. They can involve other strategies, such as phishing. These emails usually encourage people to download malware or provide personal details.
    • Baiting: Something that’s tempting and easy to find. Baiting can be physical, such as a USB stick with a company logo. It can also be digital, such as a famous movie download. These may use malware that infects both the device, and anything connected via a network.

How can you spot a social engineering attack?

It’s difficult to spot a social engineering attack because it can appear legitimate. Since these attacks use human factors like trust and authority, they often claim to be from credible entities. It’s a red flag when they ask for information already on file, or you get prompted to download an unexpected file.

Not all social engineering attacks have immediate consequences either. Backdoors are the second most used type of malware, which infects devices without your knowledge. After a while passes, it will activate.

Can cybersecurity help with social engineering?

Cybersecurity can help with some aspects of social engineering. Using multi-factor authentication will make leaked login credentials safer. Antivirus and anti-malware software will decrease the chance of your devices getting harmed. While there are many ways it protects you, it can’t always stop information or access already given.

How can you protect yourself from social engineering?

Protecting yourself from social engineering requires extra caution. While there are a lot of forms of social engineering, good email habits will prevent many attacks. A study by Social-Engineer suggests that 67% of people will give out their social security number, birth date, or employee count. Don’t give out sensitive data without validating the requester.

Based on ESET’s report, 74% of phishing emails include a Microsoft Windows executable file. They can disguise malware as routine documents such as Word, Excel, or PDF. If you download a file by accident, don’t click it, immediately delete it, then run an antivirus and malware scan.

Double-check links sent to you before clicking them, especially if the source is unverified. You can do this by hovering over the link text to see whether it leads you to the location claimed. When in doubt, type the website address rather than following a link.

Closing

Preparing for a social engineering attack is difficult. Some services can help you find vulnerabilities and areas to improve your security. ITonDemand’s Managed Security provides a variety of cybersecurity solutions and includes simulated phishing training. Combining knowledge with practice can help protect you from social engineering attacks.

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10 Tips for Creating a Strong Password

10 Tips for Creating a Strong Password

A password is often the first line of defense for your accounts. Creating a strong one provides greater security and will help protect your data by making it more difficult for others to access. This is especially important for remote work, as home offices are often more vulnerable. While it is encouraged to use multiple types of authentication, that may not always be doable for some. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help improve the strength of your passwords.

1. Make your password long

A long password should be at least 12 characters. Some even recommend going up to 14 or 16 characters to better future-proof it. The longer the password, the exponentially more difficult it will be to crack it.

According to LMG Security, even a strong 8-character password on a well-encrypted network may only take 7 days to uncover. At 10 characters, this becomes 188 years. And with 12 characters, it jumps to 1.735 million years. While many elements go into a unique password, length is one of the most important.

2. Use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols

To improve password strength regardless of length, use a mixture of distinct characters. Many accounts require at least one of each: a lowercase letter, an uppercase letter, a number, and a symbol.

    3. Avoid using common words

    Whether it’s a food, sports team, or favorite color, avoid using common words without modifying them. Some attackers will target words in the dictionary, with minor consideration for anything else. By avoiding common words, you’re already a step ahead.

    4. Don’t use easy-to-find personal information

    Be careful about using easy-to-find personal information, such as the name of your pet, family member, or company you work for. Like security questions, any private content shouldn’t be readily known or guessed.

      5. Make it easy to remember

      Passwords don’t have to be an unrecognizable jumble of letters, numbers, and symbols. When creating a unique password, there are a lot of creative ways to make it easier to remember.

        • Write a memorable sentence and use only the first letters.
        • Remove all the vowels from your favorite movie quote.
        • Add a date that’s important to you. Avoid using your birthday.
        • Type the same password twice in a row, with a slight variation the second time.
        • Substitute specific letters with a random number or symbol.

      Different methods may work better for each person. You can be creative with the process. The goal is to make it something you can personally remember, while also being difficult for anyone else to guess.

      6. Be careful writing your password down

      While there are many ways to make passwords more memorable, some may struggle with it. Writing your passwords down will let you increase their difficulty while only requiring you to know their location. Just be careful where you store them because if it’s easy for you, it’ll be quick for someone else too.

      7. Check the strength of your password

      After creating your password, use a third-party strength checker like the one available at Security.org. Keep in mind even if the password is strong, attackers may steal one of any length or complexity if there’s a data breach.

      8. Don’t reuse passwords

      Using the same password on more than one account may save time but can add risk. In 2021, Verizon DBIR observed 5,250 confirmed data breaches. This is up from 3,950 breaches the previous year. If your password is leaked, that same one can be checked against every other account you have.

      9. Use password management software

      Password management software is a great way to create stronger passwords by removing the need to memorize them. You only need to remember one master password for the software itself, and it’ll fill in details for any connected account. Cybersecurity solutions like 1password allow you to share them amongst multiple users too.

      10. Try a password generator

      While being memorable can go a long way, password managers remove that requirement. Password generators can put together a random password based on conditions such as length, symbols, characters, capital letters, and more.

      Closing

      Many aspects go into creating a strong password. It’s not just about the complexity of it, but also your ability to remember it. PC Magazine said that 70% of survey respondents use the same one for at least one other account. Google noted that only 26% of their check-up extension users changed passwords that were flagged as risky. These numbers represent several underlying problems.

      Some may underestimate the vulnerability of their passwords. Some might struggle to keep up with the ever-growing list of accounts that require separate logins. And others simply don’t have the time or energy to put much thought into it.

      Password managers can reduce some of those challenges, and managed IT services like ITonDemand can help set that up. Whatever strategy a person takes, having a strong password will make your accounts more secure.

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