Data security should be a top of mind concern for all small business owners. The number of cyber security threats small companies face grows every year. Yet, according to SplashData, many employees still aren't getting the message--and they continue to use passwords that leave themselves and their employers vulnerable.
The Riskiest Passwords of 2014
Passwords represent the initial line of defense against unwanted account access and potential data loss. But it's surprising how many users rely on extremely weak passwords to protect their personal and work accounts.
As reported by Business Insider and other media outlets, SplashData's list of the worst and weakest passwords of 2014 includes:
To compile the list, SplashData evaluated the 3.3 million passwords that were leaked in 2014, resulting in serious risks to individuals and companies.
Small Business Security Threats in 2015
Going forward, the need for improved password protection will be critical for small business workplaces, since the use of account-based technologies is expected to increase significantly in 2015 and subsequent years.
In a recent Business Journals report, John Mason, general manager of IBM's midmarket business, identified several small business trends that will gain traction this year, including a greater use of critical data, social technologies and mobile technology in the workplace--many of which require password-based account access.
According to Mason, 42 percent of small businesses already say that it would be a serious challenge to operate their companies without mobile services and one in three indicate that it would be impossible to operate without mobile.
While the use of mobile apps has the potential to deliver significant productivity gains to small business employees, it also underscores the importance of robust password protection. To improve security, small business owners should educate their workforce about using passwords with eight or more digits, combining letters, numbers and symbols.
Technology planning for small businesses should also encourage workers to use a variety of usernames and passwords for various work and personal accounts, and possibly target the implementation of a password manager to further strengthen IT security.
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