This post was written in conjunction with our UK partners
The digital shift
The digital shift in the last year amidst the ongoing global situation has demonstrated the remarkable resilience and utility of technology in modern life. Entire organisations pivoted their business models to allow for remote working, with millions of employees logging on from home to help keep everyone safe. Although technology supported businesses’ response to the changing conditions, it has raised some new challenges. Since the rapid shift to work from home, experts have witnessed an alarming rise in cyber-threats in all areas, from federal to individual users. In fact, in early November, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported it dealt with 194 coronavirus-related incidents involving hostile states and criminal gangs, while 1,740 cyber-scams were reported by British businesses during lockdown. Unfortunately, the impact of the pandemic has only emphasised existing problems in the cybersecurity space. Cybercrime costs the UK economy a huge £27bn a year, and those disproportionately affected by attacks are individuals and small businesses. During times of economic crisis this can create a make-or-break situation for many businesses.
Tackling the cybersecurity knowledge gap
One of the main reasons cyber breaches happen in the workplace is down to human error. Online scams have become increasingly sophisticated, making it difficult for employees to spot phishing emails or simply know when to question information requests from what may appear as credible sources. Creating strong unique passwords is also an area where employees are putting organisations at risk. Recent research shows employees are still choosing weak passwords, even in the workplace. However, employees making good password choices can really help protect an organisation from cyber breaches. That being said, employees are tasked with remembering numerous passwords for all the accounts they have access to so it’s little surprise that weak passwords are being chosen. To ward off cyber breaches, passwords need to be secure, complex and unique for every account or app employees have access to. Without big budgets to allocate time and resources to cybersecurity, protecting yourself and your business can seem like a complicated and expensive task. However, the adoption of password managers, alongside traditional security measures, can significantly reduce the occurrence of breaches within organisations.
How can password managers help?
Password managers offer a robust and cost-effective solution that can drastically increase your chances of staying safe online, without requiring high-tech expertise. Password managers allow employees to generate unique and secure passwords for every site they access. This ensures a password is not used more than once, and allows organisations to create password complexity rules to minimise the risk of using weak and vulnerable passwords. Most password managers are easy-to-use and can be integrated into existing workflows with no disruption. They also require minimal training, saving organisations time in the long run. Choosing a password manager that uses two-factor authentication also offers an additional layer of security. There are a number of solutions out there, so when choosing a provider it’s important to think about getting the right balance between convenience and security. Here are a couple of things to consider when evaluating your options.
- Ensuring your password manager enables secure sharing with administrative controls: good password managers are not just about keeping your own password safe, but they also provide a full set of collaboration features that can be rolled out across your organisation.
- Looking for cross-platform coverage: make sure you can access the password vault across multiple platforms and devices, including iOS and Android, Windows, macOS, Linux and beyond. In work-from-home environments, employees are more likely to be using multiple browsers and devices.
- Finding easy, no-risk ways to get started: make the most of free plans so you can try out the products. Trials that give you access to collaboration features will allow you to explore how to share secure information across teams before signing on the dotted line.
- Look for admin controls: pick a password manager that enables an administrator to share and update credentials without having to contact users with updated information through less secure channels. This adds an extra layer of security. Password managers are a strong protective measure against breaches within organisations. By selecting a manager that suits the needs of your company, you can trust that your organisation is securely sharing secrets and passwords, as well as ensuring compliance with password complexity and best practices across your organisation.
Many large companies already recognise the importance of cybersecurity as a top business priority and use a combination of cutting-edge technology and industry best practices to protect their company’s confidential information. As mass remote working continues into 2021, putting a solid strategy in place for managing remote access securely with a password manager will be a key objective for smaller businesses and individuals looking to effectively manage the organisational, cultural and global pressures of the pandemic and protect themselves against cybercrime. Password managers, coupled with continuous education, can act as an essential prerequisite for keeping your organisation cyber secure.
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