A strong password is the first step to online safety
We exist in the dawn of a fast-changing digital era, where technology is the backbone of most businesses. Unfortunately, data theft has become widespread. As a freelancer or entrepreneur, it’s crucial to prioritize cybersecurity and implement a robust policy regarding passwords to safeguard your business and your client’s sensitive data.
How widespread is the problem? Cybercrime Magazine predicts that malicious actors will cost the world approximately $10.5 trillion by 2025. Not a billion. Trillion.
What Are the Prevalent Types of Hacks?
Various hacking techniques compromise the security of small businesses and their client data. Current hacks include the following:
- Phishing attacks are the most frequent type of cybercrime, where hackers send emails or messages disguised as legitimate organizations to steal sensitive information.
- Ransomware attacks are a cybercrime where hackers encrypt a user’s data and demand a ransom to release it.
- Social engineering attacks involve manipulating users to reveal sensitive information or login credentials.
- Brute-force attacks involve using automated tools to crack passwords by trying various combinations until they break the code. It is why short passwords leave you incredibly vulnerable.
The first line of defense against such malicious behavior: is a strong password. Is that the only security measure you must make? Of course not, but it is the first and most straightforward layer of protection to control.
Weak Passwords Can Wreak Havoc on a Solopreneur or Freelancer
Compromising client data is detrimental to any business. The data that can be compromised includes customer lists, sensitive data, access to client data, and financial documents. The loss of sensitive information leads to reputational damage, loss of customer trust, financial loss, legal implications, and, in some cases, even the closure of the business.
As a freelancer or small business owner, holding yourself accountable for implementing solid passwords and ensuring your team follows suit is essential. It’s also crucial to stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and implement necessary security measures.
10 Password Policies to Implement Today
- Use a random (but memorable) combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Use long passwords with at least 12 characters.
- Avoid using personal information, including your name, birth date, or phone number in your password.
- Use unique passwords for each account.
- Avoid using easy-to-guess passwords like “123456” or “password.”
- Change your password every three months. Set a reminder on your calendar and do it when the time comes.
- Use a password manager app to store your passwords securely.
- Enable two-factor authentication for added security.
- Try a passphrase instead of a password, using a sentence or a combination of words.
- Train your employees, sub-contractors, or team members on the importance of strong passwords and cybersecurity. Never assume that they realize the implications of weak cyber safety measures.
What if You Have Already Suffered a Data Breach?
In a data breach, acting fast and following a protocol to recover is crucial.
- The first step is to contain the breach by isolating the affected systems and identifying the extent of the damage.
- The second step is to notify your customers and relevant authorities per legal requirements. Ignoring it or trying to hide it from impacted clients is not a legal option.
- The third step is to investigate the cause of the breach and implement necessary security measures to prevent it from happening again.
Summing It Up: Passwords Should Be Lengthy and Changed Often; That Is the First Step When Considering Online Security
Data breaches and hacking are ever-rising crimes; strong passwords are the first defense against them. As a freelancer or entrepreneur, it’s your ethical obligation to protect your client’s sensitive data and safeguard your business from cyber threats. By implementing strong passwords and following the best cybersecurity practices, you can minimize the risk of cybercrime and protect your business. Follow us on Facebook to stay updated on best practices for freelancers and small businesses.