Accounting: Passwords

10 Tips for Better Password Protection

It doesn’t matter what controls you have in place or how tough your firewall is: if your passwords are compromised, all of your information is at risk.

Of course, just about everything from your voicemail to your 401(k) requires a password these days. That makes it tempting to craft one or two all-purpose passwords to simplify your life.  This is a big mistake because if someone cracks that code, they have access to everything. Below are 10 dos & don’ts for protecting access to your data.


The “DOs” to make you more secure:

  1. Use unique passwords for everyone and every program
  2. Change your passwords regularly (at least quarterly)
  3. Use at least eight characters if you’re allowed to determine your own length
  4. Include at least one numeral by substituting 5 for S, 8 for B, etc.
  5. Mix upper & lower cases & if the system allows, use non-alpha-numeric characters (like % & #)
  6. Choose the “initials” of a song or other memorable phrase to make the password easier to remember. For example, “Save It For A Rainy Day,” could be written as Si4aRd

The “Don’ts” that could leave you vulnerable:

  1. Avoid using the same password for multiple machines or programs.
  2. Don’t “update” a password by simply adding a digit or capitalizing, such as changing “apfile” to “apfile1”.
  3. Try not to use words that appear in the dictionary, even if you run them together into one word, like “vendorchecks.”
  4. Don’t use a variation of the account name or program you’re working in

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