These days, one of the biggest risks facing small businesses in general is the prospect of having some or even all of their accounts hacked. And while many owners might envision this happening as a result of an advanced attack on their systems, the fact of the matter is that many employees – and potentially the entrepreneurs themselves – may actually be rolling out the red carpet for criminals on their own.
One of the biggest causes of data breach incidents comes not because a virus got into a system or someone came up with an ingenious hacking scheme, but rather that people who have access to companies’ most sensitive information don’t do enough to protect themselves with high-quality passwords, according to a report from New York Newsday. Often, people don’t want to go to the trouble of remembering advanced passwords that include numbers, letters, and symbols, and therefore rely on far simpler ones that are easier to remember – and for outsiders, guess – such as “password” or “123456.”
“It’s human nature to create less work for ourselves,” Morgan Slain, chief executive officer of Los Gatos, Calif.-based SplashData, told the newspaper. “As much as we try to educate people and enforce stronger password policies, this list has remained fairly unchanged for three years.”
What other mistakes do people make?
Often, even when people have passwords that aren’t always easy to guess, they tend to use the same one for all their accounts, including online banking, email, and more, the report said. This can put people at risk, simply because if one of their accounts is cracked, they can all fall relatively quickly. In addition, people can also have passwords that are relatively unique – their children’s birth dates, pets’ names, etc. – but these, too, can be easily guessed by enterprising hackers. Some people might even write down their passwords on little pieces of paper and leave them around their homes or offices, which further puts their accounts at risk.
Owners worried about the potential impact of security breaches that could take a major toll on their companies might want to think about the ways in which they can better protect themselves, such as with a type of small business insurance coverage known as tech insurance. This can help to mitigate the potentially huge costs of a data breach, which can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars or more.