Data Protection Day – New Year, Same Passwords?

By Sandor Palfy, Chief Technology Officer of Identity and Access Management at LogMeIn

The number of data breaches we saw in 2018 – let alone those we saw in the last couple of weeks – certainly brings a somber mood to this year’s Data Protection Day. Big names, including the likes of British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Facebook made headlines last year for all the wrong reasons, and the fact that it took less than 24 hours for the first data breach of 2019 to make the news only makes things worse.

But there is a silver lining yet. The heightened buzz around data privacy has increased awareness in the critical role businesses play in employing best practices around data protection, and the fact that humans are the weakest link in security strategy.

Passwords have always played an integral role in data security, and most companies rely on them as their go-to method for authentication. But with the average person having over 200 passwords to memorise, many find it too complicated to remember unique credentials for each platform. One employee motivated by convenience and productivity using the same weak password across business and personal platforms is all it takes for a data hack to occur.

Business leaders should take today as an opportunity to educate employees on the importance of healthy password practices. Using a password manager to generate and remember a random string of characters and numbers is a vital step in strengthening account security. As those on the front line, staff should also be given guidance on responding quickly to data hacks. If a business can build a strong defence mechanism combined with trained staff, it will stand a better chance of remaining secure and cyber-ready.

By leveraging tools such as password managers alongside solid cybersecurity processes, we can ensure that data breaches as a result of weak passwords are a thing of the past.

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