Though most will agree passwords are important for security, they're often simply viewed as a burden. As a result many choose a password that's simple and easy to remember, then use it everywhere so they don't have the hassle of remembering multiple passwords.

While this may seem like a good idea on the surface, it exposes you to a major security risk. If someone gains access to even one of your accounts, they now will have access to ALL of your accounts, which may include bank accounts or other sensitive material.

Imagine if all the keys on your keychain were replaced by one key … convenient? Yes, but now if you misplace it or the bad guys get a copy, everything is at risk.

So how can you keep your data safe? Here are three suggestions based on the latest National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) security guidelines.

1. Use passphrases instead of passwords.
A group of simple words is much safer than a single, complicated word. It may seem strange, but it will take a thousand times longer for a bad guy to crack the passphrase “Fluffy puppies are adorable!” than the password x7j7UfE36T

2. Use multi-factor authentication.
There are many variations on this theme - perhaps a website will text a code to your phone in addition to requiring a password. Or maybe you carry a device that generates a random number. The idea is to have something independent of your password that gives added proof that you are who you claim to be.

3. Use a password manager
It is not reasonable to expect us to memorize many passwords, and it defeats the purpose if we write them on sticky notes under our keyboards. So why not automate the process with a password manager? This service safely stores all our passwords and fills them in when needed.

These steps are vital for your security and should not be taken lightly. While you are very capable of handling the first step we invite you to use our services in setting up the other two. Multi-factor authentication and password managers can be overwhelming to configure if you don’t understand it so give us a call at 613-817-1212 and book a free consultation with one or our security experts.

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