Cybersecurity Advice for Small Businesses from the NCSC
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is currently highlighting cybersecurity advice for small and medium-sized businesses. Recognizing that many SMBs do not have a budget for a dedicated IT security team, the campaign shares practical recommendations for keeping data secure and preventing unauthorized access. On its SMB security web page, the NCSC notes: “there are some simple steps you can take to ensure you have the basics in place.” Indeed! In fact, the first two recommended actions listed for SMBs are appropriately password-centric:
Action 1: Use a strong and different password for your email using 3 random words
Action 2: Turn on 2-Step Verification (2SV) for your email
The web page goes on to offer a number of resources for SMBs to stay ‘cyber aware’. One of them is a PDF, practical tips for protecting your organization online. Overall, the PDF is very good:
Emphasizes the importance of creating different passwords for each account
Encourages the use of strong passwords
Recommends utilizing two-step verification
Recommends keeping all devices up-to-date
Encourages the backing up of data and key contacts
But, there’s one recommendation worth pausing over: that users should save passwords in their browser. Bitwarden advises individuals and organizations to look beyond their browser and instead prioritize stand-alone password managers. While any password manager is better than no password manager, the security built into third-party password managers is unparalleled. In some cases, browser-based password managers don’t use master passwords to encrypt all logins.
Further, the NCSC should consider recommending password managers directly on its web pages - versus requiring readers to download documents and comb through them. Password managers are a security gamechanger.
National Cyber Security Centre (UK)
Overall Bitwarden Assessment: Good
Calls out importance of strong passwords
Cites need for 2FA/MFA to further support password security
Overall security advice is up-to-date
Could improve overall layout so password security advice is clear, digestible, and easy-to-find
Learn what advice other leading cybersecurity agencies offer, and how they compare, in The State of Password Security Report, released earlier this year.