Password Security Concerns
When you consider all the places you need a username and password for your business, such as financial services, professional networks, social media, online shopping, cloud services, transportation, and lodging, it can be overwhelming. Multiply that by the number of employees working within your organization and the need to effectively and securely store credentials becomes very clear. You might be surprised that there are literally hundreds of usernames and passwords required to operate your business on a daily basis.
Another benefit of using a password management system is increased security. The sad truth is that, even in this day and age, most people just use the same password again and over again. If a hacker gets into one account, they may use those credentials to go into countless others. Even if they don’t repeat passwords, the majority of individuals tend to use words, numbers, and combinations that can be guessed easily, such as birth dates, names of pets and children, anniversaries, favorite movies, hobbies, and more. While this makes it easier to remember login credentials, it also creates a security risk. Cybersecurity specialists are certain that every password should be unique and of an acceptable length and setup. To solve this problem, there are password managers.
What is a Password Management System?
If you are not familiar with how this type of system works, a password manager is an encrypted vault that requires its own master password to access. In order to access the passwords saved in the manager, the user must know the master password; other authentication factors, such as a code or biometric input, are sometimes needed. Some organizations will do this in-house with their IT department, while others may rely on a software program or a service provider to take care of it for them more effectively. At Synivate, we offer a wide range of innovative technology solutions for our clients, including the selection and implementation of a password management system.
Some of the features associated with a quality password manager include:
- The ability to securely store credentials for easy recall.
- The capacity to create passwords for employees based on department security requirements and access restrictions.
- Use of passwords that are longer, more difficult to guess, and include a random combination of characters and digits.
- The option to instantly recall and apply passwords to saved websites to prevent keylogging malware from stealing passwords.
- Centalizing login credentials in one secured place to sync data across all authorized devices within the corporate structure, including computers and mobile instruments.
Different Types of Password Managers
Did you know that there are a variety of different types of password management system programs to choose from to protect your business? Centalizing all of your login credentials in one convenient place, password managers can simplify your digital life. There are solutions that are tailored specifically for large organizations, as well as those that are made for individuals, families, and smaller businesses. Working with a professional technology consultant can help organizations to avoid the consumer versions and go for ones that offer corporate functionality as well as the ability to manage all business-related passwords for each user.
Privileged account, service, system, and application credentials can be managed and protected by enterprise-grade technologies. Thus, these tools can distinguish between the various permissions that may exist within an organization, provide additional safeguards for privileged accounts, and mandate company-wide standards for password complexity, length, and format, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Our team can assist you in choosing the best solution based on your company’s needs and any government regulations or industry requirements that may apply.
Hosting Options for Password Control
In addition to there being different types of password management system options with varying degrees of security, there are also options when it comes to installing, implementing, and hosting your new password manager. Advanced password managers can be further subdivided into those that store passwords locally on a device or server and those that store passwords in the cloud, in addition to the distinction between corporate and consumer products. When you work with a professional technology consultant, you have the opportunity to learn all you can about the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
Top Advantages of Cloud Storage:
- When you save your passwords in the cloud, they are automatically synchronized across all of your devices.
- Passwords stored in the cloud are safe from being lost in the event of a computer failure.
- A stolen computer with your locally stored passwords might be used to access all of your online accounts – cloud storage eliminates this risk.
- If you’re concerned about the security risks associated with online storage, you can usually turn off the sync feature of your password manager.
Password Managers vs. Shared Account Password Management
Another thing to consider is whether you would need a traditional password management system or if your company would be better off with a Shared Account Password Management or SAPM system instead. Both of these systems are quite different from each other and provide different services and functions. There are advantages to the SAPM that you simply can’t get with the traditional password manager. For example, you shouldn’t use a password manager to save the credentials for a shared administrator account or any other type of unique account that isn’t specifically assigned to a single individual within your company.
SAPM is developed to manage and regulate shared accounts. Depending on the SAPM product, privileged accounts can be accessed without the user ever needing to know the account’s password because it is revealed at login and reset upon logout. Implementing a SAPM software in addition to a password manager is recommended for big organizations that share privileged accounts, including domain admins, root, etc. By connecting to Active Directory, corporate password management software may centralize users’ login credentials for critical websites and streamline the entire sign-in process.
The purpose of any password manager is to discourage the use of insecure practices, such as reusing passwords across several sites, selecting easily-guessed passwords, and keeping secret passwords in easily-accessible locations like sticky notes, spreadsheets, and word documents. Long, complicated passwords also discourage the dangerous habit of sharing passwords, which can lessen the severity of a data leak.
The Functions of an Enterprise Password Manager
Enterprise password managers lessen the dangers of credential compromise by centrally storing and protecting user passwords and other authentication credentials like Secure Shell keys. Live session management allows IT or security administrators to strictly regulate user access to systems and applications. Administrators are then able to monitor, identify, record, lock and document suspicious conduct. They may also end a user’s session if suspicious activity is identified, thanks to enterprise-grade password management technologies.
Automation and monitoring tools inside password managers maintain track of the passwords in use and give the ability to enforce strong password regulations for both people and robots. The system may send out automated messages to remind users, and it has policing functions to ensure compliance with, policies such as requiring specific accounts to change their passwords monthly or quarterly. Again, when you work with a professional technology consultant, you can pick and choose the types of services and options that you want to securely store credentials for your business.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Password Manager
The ability to require strong, long, and randomly complicated passwords from all users is arguably the greatest advantage of using a password manager. While consumer-grade password management software has a major downside in that they are potential weak spots in an otherwise secure system, there are stronger, more diverse options available to businesses. Password managers have several advantages.
- They provide the regulation of safe password practices.
- Passwords that are extremely difficult to crack using brute force methods.
- Complex passwords may be too much for certain users to manage on their own.
- A number of security elements may be integrated into password managers.
- Additional authentication procedures might be required of users.
Enterprise-level password managers with advanced security features tend to be the most costly. For this reason, a free password manager is likely to be severely limited in features and functionality. You shouldn’t count on much in the way of safety, either. Our team at Synivate can help you to find the best credentials solution based on your unique demands, including budget and security requirements.
The Best Password Manager for Your Business
Password managers for regular users are plenty. They are wonderful for single people, families, and companies of any size. However, enterprise-grade management features, such as the ability to enforce compliance for password length and configuration and the requirement to change passwords at predetermined intervals, are not available in consumer password managers. Thus, enterprise-class tools will cost more than those designed for regular consumers.
Security – Many different layers of protection can be applied by suppliers to their password systems. These features include the capacity to identify suspicious behavior and shut down computers, as well as multi-factor authentication, encryption, and SSH keys. Password management software can provide zero, one, or even all of these features. The level of protection available affects the cost. Additional security features and choices may be priced separately by some providers. Some providers include safety measures in their quoted fee.
Analytics and Artificial Intelligence – AI has taken the globe by storm. Distributors of password-protection software have taken note. They are enhancing their tools using AI in order to spot unusual activities that might suggest a hacking effort. Users’ actions are tracked so that recommendations for policy changes, mandatory training, and password enforcement may be made. Features involving artificial intelligence and data analytics are often premium add-ons. However, some retailers already include in the cost of shipping and handling.
Confidentiality of Information – The security and ownership of one’s data are now trending themes. Transmission of data outside of a country’s or region’s authority is illegal in many places, and can result in substantial fines. Therefore, password managers ought to include capabilities that allow them to conform to the requirements of applicable privacy and sovereignty legislation.
Innovative Technology Solutions
You might be wondering whether password managers are safe to use for your business. One of the most widely used and reliable password managers, known as AES-256, is even used by the United States government for classified data transmission. There are, however, available technologies that either don’t encrypt data at all or force the user to handle encryption themselves. If a hacker were to target your smartphone and obtain information from your password manager software, the chances of them being able to decode that information are extremely low. A security architect determined that it would take a billion years to brute-force crack AES-256 encryption.
The time gap, however, has shortened significantly and is continuing to do so as hackers exploit the processing power of contemporary GPUs and harness AI in their malicious endeavors. Hence, passwords are growing longer and more complicated to thwart even the greatest hackers. Be careful to select password managers that enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) as an added layer of protection, since the time it takes someone to break a password drops to zero if the hacker has your master password and you’re not utilizing two-factor authentication.
Is Password Management Technology 100% Hack-Proof?
As with any technology, nothing is failsafe. It is very probable that hackers will once again breach password management company databases and steal user information. It’s not the occurrences that have breached user security that are noteworthy, but rather the absence thereof. Passwords saved in a browser are vulnerable to hacking. If a hacker gains access to your computer, they will be able to access your password-protected bank accounts and other personal information.
When it comes to managing your many online accounts, password managers are your best bet. You won’t find a better approach to preserve your information, even with some perceived drawbacks. The risk of compromise is greatly reduced by using a password manager that provides multi-factor authentication, encrypted storage, and other security measures. The good news is that you may choose from a wide variety of high-quality business password managers. They include several safety measures and support the enterprise-grade functionality that businesses require.
If you would like to learn more about Synivate and all of the services that we provide to our customers in the Greater Boston area and beyond, give us a call at 617-517-0704. We are happy to answer any questions you might have and can schedule a one-on-one appointment with one of our professional technology consultant team members to discuss your needs for a password management system.