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5 Small Business Security Breakdowns a Password Manager Can Prevent

Password management is a critical cybersecurity measure, but it’s also one of the most common weak points hackers can exploit to steal a small business’s data.  

It only takes one employee to inadvertently leak their credentials to jeopardize your entire network. Thats why more companies now use password managers (e.g., LastPass) to help prevent various security breakdowns. 

What Is a Password Manager? 

A password manager is a software program that stores and manages login credentials for local applications and online services (e.g., social media, cloud services, etc.) It can also generate strong, unique passwords that are unlikely to be cracked by brute force attacks.  

The software stores login credentials in an encrypted database, which users can access with a master password — so you only have to memorize one set of credentials. When you visit a site where you have created an account, the software will automatically populate the login screens to streamline the sign-in process. 

Password Manager Use Cases for Small Businesses 

How can a password manager help you strengthen security? Here are some real-life security breakdown scenarios it can help prevent: 

1. Phishing Attacks

Security breakdown  

An employee received an email claiming to be from your cloud accounting app, saying their account was suspended. The message asked the user to click on a link to sign in and reactivate access. The URL directed the employee to log into a spoof website where criminals took the credentials to access the real site and steal your company’s financial and customer data. 

How a password manager can help 

It’s a red flag when the employee lands on the fake site and the username/password fields don’t automatically populate — indicating that the URL doesn’t match the one in the password manager. By not requiring users to type in passwords, a password manager also prevents other scenarios where hackers trick people into entering their credentials into spoof websites. 

2. Weak Passwords

Security breakdown 

Did you know that most people have 70 to 80 passwords? Without a systematic and automated way to navigate the credential jungle, many default to a handful of easy-to-remember passwords for all their accounts. Hackers can easily crack these passwords through brute force attacks. If an employee reuses credentials stolen and sold on the dark web, breaching your network could become a low-hanging fruit.  

How a password manager can help 

A password manager automatically generates unique and complex passwords, stores them in a vault, and populates the corresponding fields when users visit the matching URLs. It removes the friction for employees to use strong passwords for work-related accounts. It also prevents them from reusing passwords associated with their personal accounts, which might be compromised without their knowledge. 

3. Shared Accounts

Security breakdown 

Employees may need to share passwords to access company accounts, but sharing credentials on sticky notes or via emails is far from secure. Plus, you wont know who has viewed, edited, or downloaded sensitive data if you dont have a way to track access — making it challenging if you need to investigate a data leak or hold employees accountable for their actions. 

How a password manager can help 

You can use a password manager to store credentials for shared company accounts and allow access only to personnel that needs the information to do their job. You can also control who can use a shared account by changing the password manager settings — which beats changing the password and then manually updating 10, 20, or 30 people about it! 

4. Lost or Stolen Devices

Security breakdown 

An employee followed your password guidelines and created a strong, unique password for every site. But they store the information in the browser locally or in a document on their device. It’s all fine and dandy until the smartphone or laptop is lost or stolen — it’s essentially handing all the URLs and the login credentials over to criminals on a silver platter! 

How a password manager can help 

A password manager doesnt store the credentials locally, so bad actors cant see the information even if they hack into a stolen device. Moreover, the software uses modern hashing algorithms, making it virtually impossible for hackers to crack the encryption with brute force. 

5. Employee Turnover

Security breakdown 

Employees may take accounts containing company data with them or retain access to shared accounts when they leave their job. You cant protect your digital assets if you dont have complete visibility into where your data resides and who has access to it. This oversight can turn into a compliance nightmare, especially if youre in a regulated industry. 

How a password manager can help 

A password manager provides a centralized location where you can control access to all company accounts. You can see who has access to what information and when to gain control over your data and streamline compliance audits. You can also revoke access when an employee leaves without resetting access to a shared account and disrupting workflows. 

Make Password Management Part of Your Security Protocol

A password manager offers a simple and effective way to help employees adhere to your password policy while giving you more control over company applications and data.  

Working with a reputable managed service provider (MSP) like MicroTech can help ensure that all the links in your security chain are as strong as possible. Learn more about our cybersecurity services and get in touch to see how we can help. 

Download the Checklist: A Small Business Resource for Detecting HR-Related Security Issues