The Importance of Password Management

December 3, 2020  •   LPi

computer with a lock over it
These days, keeping your financial information and that of your parishioners safe is as important as ever. Phishing scams, embezzlement opportunities, and simple office mismanagement are all common themes when it comes to common financial issues.

The 2019 State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors Report is a compilation of results from a survey of 1,761 IT and IT security practitioners. In it, they discovered that we’re not alone when it comes to “risky” password behaviors. For example, 51% reuse passwords across their business and personal accounts, and 69% share passwords with colleagues to access common accounts.

In order to keep the door to our financial information secure, we need to make sure our passwords are safe. Here are four common issues and how to solve them.

1. We Have a “Usual” Password

With everything parish offices need to juggle, remembering a password to log into an account shouldn’t be too hard. Unfortunately, with the amount of accounts we have these days, it’s not unusual to have at least 8-10 to remember. So, one common office short-cut is to use the same password over multiple accounts. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most common ways to get hacked not only professionally, but personally.

When a website is compromised, it’s common for hackers to use the information they gain access to across multiple other channels. For example, if someone gets access to your login and password for an online clothing store, they will then use the same info to log into other accounts you might have, such as Facebook or Amazon. If you’re reusing the same password, it’s only a matter of time before they get access.

Solve this issue before it becomes one by creating a unique password for every account you use. Websites like www.lastpass.com and www.my.norton.com have password generators that will help come up with some hard to nearly impossible passwords to crack.

2. Our Passwords Aren’t Stored Safely

Trying to remember your latest password to log in to your computer? Look under the keyboard. Or check the bulletin board above the desk. Have you added the password to your Microsoft Word document you keep saved on your desktop? If you do any of these things, you’re vulnerable to a cyberattack that could cost thousands of dollars and hundreds of employee hours.

There is a way to keep your passwords unique and safe while still being accessible with a password management platform. LastPass, Keeper, 1Password and StickyPassword are just a few programs out there that will keep your passwords safe at no or low-cost.

3. Our Passwords are Saved on an Insecure Computer

It’s so handy, isn’t it, when you create an account, and the browser asks you, “Would you like to save your password?” While it’s incredibly convenient to click yes, it’s one of the biggest ways to make yourself (and your sensitive information) vulnerable. It’s like locking the door to your home but leaving the key in the lock whenever you leave the house.

If you share a computer with other staff members, you need to sacrifice convivence with safety by typing in your unique password each time you need to. In addition, be sure to log out at the end of each day to ensure that only you have access.

4. We’re Sharing Passwords

It’s not uncommon for workplaces to have one account that multiple people use. If that’s where your team is, it’s probably normal to send an email or have a slip of paper circulating with the login and password information. While it’s convenient, it’s a risky habit to have.

If your team needs to share an account due for any reason, make sure that the password again is unique and not easily accessible. Using a password management platform (see above for a list of suggestions) will allow each person to access the account by logging into the platform each time in order to get the credentials. Again, it’s not ideal, but it’s better than the alternative of unsecure information that could easily be compromised.

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