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Smart businesses are secure online

Online Security For BusinessesIn today’s world everything your business does online requires a password. If created properly these passwords keep everything safe, but if not, they can open the door to the fastest growing crime in today’s society: cyber theft. According to figures released by the UK government, cybercrime costs British businesses £21bn a year. Strong passwords are an important weapon in the battle against this crime. Here are some very important guidelines to increase the safety of your data.

1) Create a secure password

Choosing a good password is the first important choice a user should make. The basic principle of mixing digits and letters in a password that is nine characters or more is still a reasonably safe way to go. However, it can be difficult to remember an alphanumeric password and criminals are becoming more and more savvy and aware of this technique. Research done by technology expert Thomas Baekdal offers a simple alternative. The study found easily constructed multi-word phrases to be more secure than complex alphanumeric ones. For example it showed "this_is_fun" to be ten times more secure as a password than "J4fS<2."

2) Change your password regularly

National Change Your Password day was on February 1st, but most experts would recommend you change your password more often than just once a year. The main reason for regular password changes is to limit an account's exposure to misuse. Every time you type in your password it is at risk of compromise - by someone looking over your shoulder, through interception as it travels across the network, and so on. Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Detica, the firm who compiled a government review looking into cyber-theft, said, ‘The cost of cyber crime is twice as big as the cost to business of traditional physical attack.’ Making your information as secure as possible by changing passwords every 90 days is highly recommended.

3) Don’t have the same password for everything.

A study by Trusteer, an online security firm, reports that 73% of us use the same password for online banking as we do for email or some other login. Out of that 73% many use the same password for everything. An even more dangerous statistic is 47% of us use not just the same password, but the same username as well. If you’re one of these people and an unscrupulous person gets a hold of your email login or you’re registered to a forum or some other site that does not hold itself to high security standards you could be in trouble. This is even more important if you run a company. The login details for your email, bank accounts and whatever else you do online could be unsafe.

4) If you have many passwords consider password management tools.

Password managers are services that allow you to securely save all your passwords and keep them safe using one master password. Password managers use the master password given by the user to form a key for encrypting the login. There are many free as well as paid services so do your research carefully before deciding which one you want to use. Check which platforms the software is available on and make sure it works with what you use. If you only use Apple products, make sure there is an OS X and iOS app available.

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