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Making An Informed Decision To Protect Your Network

Humans are very predictable and unless we see our company’s name plastered across every news channel and online search engine due to a data breach, we will probably assume our company’s network is safe and we are doing a decent job protecting it. Companies may slide by for years and not be on a hacker’s radar; but truth be told, if you are not taking precautions to secure your company’s network, you should be counting down the days until your network is hacked. That’s the bottom line.

As we all know, everyone has their own priorities of what he or she thinks is the “right” way to approach an objective. The IT Administrator or Network Manager will have their own ideas of what is the best way to protect the company’s network. Meanwhile, the CISO might have a different idea of the best way to protect the company’s network. Here are a few common ideas that your CISO, or even yourself, will think are appropriate solutions to preventing data breaches due to weak passwords:

  • Purchasing a Password Vault
  • Educating/Training Employees on Password Security and Internet Safety
  • Using USB Drives as Passwords
  • Purchasing a Password Filter

All of the previous ideas seem like great solutions. However, from an IT professional in the industry, let me shine some light on each solution. The best thing you can do when making a decision is to make an informed decision.

  • A password vault is a great idea and concept. It stores all of your passwords and all you have to do is remember the one passwords that “unlocks the vault.” However, if there is no password policy enforced when creating the master password, then you just made the hacker’s job easier for them by only having to crack one password.
  • Educating and training company employees through seminars is a great way to inform employees of the dangers that are associated with using bad passwords. However, all the seminar actually did for the employees was give them a day off of work. Once the seminar is completed, there is still nothing in place to make sure that they are not using passwords that are easily hacked. Read this study that shows how password education training has no impact on a user’s password choice.
  • Using USB drives and enterprise cards as passwords is a unique idea. The user must have the additional piece of technology to access their computer. However, do you know how easy it is to lose a USB drive? According to ComputerWorld.com, in one year alone, 25,000 USB drives were left in UK and NYC taxis. You might be thinking, well the hacker only has the USB drive and they will still need the password. If there is no password policy in place, a rainbow table can crack any Windows password that is 14 characters or less in under 28 minutes.
  • Purchasing a password filter is the most effective way to increase network security and prevent the use of weak passwords. The nFront Password Filter is a guaranteed method to make sure the written password policy you created is actually enforced. One feature that a password filter has as opposed to a password vault, employee education, or USB drives is dictionary checking. With dictionary checking, each password will be checked against a list of commonly used passwords. This list is fully customizable to the company and can include words like summer, password, winter, January, and even your company name.

With the insight I provided, there should be enough information to make an informed decision on how to protect your company’s network. Be sure to check out the nFront Password Filter for more information.

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