Passwords: The First Line of Defense
Passwords have historically provided a first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer and personal information. The stronger the password, the more secure your computer or device will be from threat actors. In this blog, we’ll explore why passwords are so important and will discuss tips for creating strong passwords.
Importance of Strong Passwords
Whether you are creating a password for your work or for your personal devices, it’s important to take this task seriously. Unauthorized access to devices, accounts, and documents can lead to significant problems for both organizations and individuals. For organizations, unauthorized access by threat actors can lead to data breaches, stolen intellectual property, operational disruption, and confidential information being leaked into the wrong hands. For individuals, when an unauthorized user gains access to personal devices and accounts, they can be subject to identity theft, fraudulent charges on their credit cards, and loss of money.
Unfortunately, once an unauthorized user gains access to company or personal assets, it’s very difficult to find the culprit, restore what they’ve disrupted, and bring them to justice. Creating a first line of defense is crucial in maintaining a secure environment—at work and at home.
Tips for Creating Passwords
There are key points of password security that everyone must know to reduce the likelihood of a threat actor gaining access to a device or online account. The following are the best practices to follow when creating a password:
- Passwords must be long and complex
- Use a combination of letters, numbers, and other characters (*>&%)
- Use a combination of upper-case and lower-case letters
- Never write down your passwords
- Do not use the same password for more than one device or account
- Do not use your birthday, last name, or anything that would be easily deciphered as a password
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of passwords you must remember, try using a password manager. Password managers are tools that store and protect passwords using an encrypted vault. This vault can only be opened with a master password. Search for a password manager in your device’s app store and keep all your passwords in one place.
Different devices and applications have a capability called multi-factor authentication, which provides an extra layer of security for your data. Multi-factor authentication requires a second piece of information after a password has been entered. For example, some phones have the ability of requiring fingerprint authentication or a PIN for different apps. You can also opt to receive a code through text or email
Multi-factor authentication prevents threat actors from accessing your data by requiring a piece of information that only you would have access to. If your devices have this feature, we recommend adding it to your devices and applications. At SAP, we offer SAP Cloud Identity Services for Identity Authentication. This is a cloud service for authentication, single sign-on, a user management in SAP cloud and on-premise applications. It can act as an identity provider itself or be used as a proxy to integrate within an existing single sign-on infrastructure.
If you haven’t already, review the tips above and take time to update your passwords, get a password manager, and enable multi-factor authentication on your devices. Making this first line of the defense as strong as possible can save you time and money in the future. Remember—if a password is easy for you, it’s easy for a threat actor, too.