Hybrid working is now firmly embedded in business culture and working practices. The resulting impact on cyber security extends far beyond protocols and policies. In this post, we review the effect of password behaviours on business security and how password management solutions are the answer to eradicating IT systems anxiety.
Password Security in 2021
The pandemic disrupted workplaces and working practices worldwide. Physical offices were closed and many people had to transition from working in the office to working from home. With nowhere to go, they spent more time online, unknowingly putting both themselves and their businesses at more risk.
“71% of employees worked solely or partly remote during 2020-2021.”
“70% of employees spent more time online for personal entertainment and work.”
The landscape in 2020 and 2021 allowed cybercriminals to adapt their strategies to focus on the individual as a means to attack the business with 85% of data breaches involving a human element; phishing, stolen credentials or human error.
This alarming rise in cyber security threats specifically aimed at individuals prompted our partners over at LastPass to undertake a survey to better understand current password security behaviours. Conducted across six countries and consisting of 3750 professionals, they asked respondents about their feelings and behaviours regarding online security.
- “79% of people agree that compromised passwords are concerning yet 51% still rely on their memory to keep track of passwords”
- “92% know that using the same password or a variation is a substantial risk but 65% always or mostly use the same password or variation”
- “Online accounts have increased by 50% from 2020 to 2021″
- “20% shared photos of their pets online with their names, then used their names in passwords”
- “27% shared photos of the house or neighbourhood”
Fueled by a sense of disconnection in daily life, our digital lives expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic with people connecting online more than ever before. This ultimately resulted in more accounts being created which led to more personal information being shared online.
The report found that the majority of users (92%) create passwords that leverage personal information like birthdays, pets names and home addresses; information that is easily attainable from social networking sites. Cybercriminals use this socially shared information to attack personal accounts, which gives them a foothold when attacking business information over a shared WiFi connection.
Conclusion: People Engage in Bad Password Behaviours
People pick and choose what information they think is worth protecting, knowingly engaging in risky password behaviours, even when spending an unprecedented amount of time online for work and entertainment. The majority of users (83%) would not know whether their information was on the dark web, yet armed with this information, behaviours have remained the same.
The ever-expanding digital life and lack of cyber security support, combined with bad habits, emotions and lack of urgency keep people from changing their online behaviours.
Less than 50% of remote work employees changed their online security habits or strengthened their passwords when working from home. IT admins must pay attention, the presence of risk may change the protocols at the IT level but as the research shows, it does not inherently motivate employees to adopt better security behaviours.
What’s The Answer?
The best solution is one that accounts for bad behaviours and removes them with strategies that improve password hygiene and security. Here are our top tips:
- Implement Single Sign-On (SSO)
- Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
- Invest in a Password Management Solution
LastPass is a password management solution that is easy to manage and effortless to use – so easy that I even use it for my passwords outside of work.
LastPass Enterprise is the leading password management solution that increases control and visibility for IT departments. The solution empowers businesses to generate, secure and share credentials seamlessly, whilst ensuring protection through zero-knowledge security infrastructure.
The solution helps keep your business protected by taking away the need to rely on employees to have good password behaviour. Whatever cyber criminals throw at your business, you’ll know that you’re protected with a solution that’s secure, scalable and easy to use.
To find out more about a password management solution for your business or if you’re interested in a cyber security review, call us on 0800 032 8274 or book a discovery call here.
Marlin is an award-winning, leading provider of Unified Communications & collaboration solutions including voice, data, mobile, video, network security and contact centre technology for businesses of 50 – 5,000 staff.
We have clients across the south of England and in Europe and our own, on-premises, 1,000 ft² Technology Suite at our Bath office, where we host regular events and showcase technology solutions for our clients. Contact us for your free comms audit or product demo.
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