Group Passwords and Password Age

As small businesses increase their employee base and branch out to other areas and regions, business owners often falter by implementing group passwords to make IT easier on their employees.

It’s an axiom of good password management that the use of group passwords greatly reduces the security of the overall system. Not only does it significantly increase the probability that a password is lost or stolen, but also creates a lack of accountability when it comes to password management.

The final variable that affects password effectiveness is age. The best passwords are fresh passwords (it’s a little like fruit). The longer a password is in use the more likely it is to be discovered, one way or another, and used to perpetrate a data breach. Larger enterprises often require employees to change their system passwords at least every 90 days.

By combining longer and more variable passwords, requiring the use of different passwords for system and e-mail access, avoiding group passwords and making sure you’re using fresh passwords, you will dramatically decrease the probability of experiencing a significant data breach.

Phillip Dunkelberger President and CEO PGP Corp. Menlo Park, Calif.

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