Think about the apps and web services you use on a daily basis for both personal and business – Gmail, Twitter, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Scalyr, Stripe, etc. All of those accounts contain valuable personal information, and you want to ensure you’re protecting it in the best way possible. The question is how can you do that without a ton of effort? It doesn’t have to be difficult and once you know the basics, you’re much better off than the average Joe. Simply follow these 4 steps and you’ll be well on your way to secure, safe accounts:
1. Create strong, secure passwords – Don’t simply use your kid’s name and the date of their birthday, or your anniversary. Be creative, or even random. Also, ensure your passwords are a minimum length (8-10 characters) and use uppercase, lowercase, and characters in each one. One surefire way to know if your passwords are secure? Use a password generator.
2. Store them somewhere safe – Use an online password manager that stores and encrypts all your passwords in one central location. When you adopt a password manager, you immediately improve the security on your accounts that store valuable information like account numbers, credit card info, social security numbers, and more. There are a number of password managers to choose from, such as Meldium, which is a cloud-based service that offers great tools for individuals and businesses alike. Whatever you do, don’t write your passwords on sticky notes by your desk.
3. Only share securely – Specifically, don’t write down your passwords on paper or in an email to share them with others. Whether the risk is the wrong person will find that paper in the trash or someone will hack your email, the outcome is all around no good, so keep your passwords to yourself unless you're using a true sharing feature with a password manager, which allows you to share account access but not the password itself. The best of both worlds!
4. Use two-factor authentication – One of the best ways to secure your passwords is to use two-factor authentication, which adds another layer of security. When 2FA is enabled, you’ll be required to validate your account by another method – a 2FA app, text to your phone, email, or some other similar message – and this helps ensure it’s truly you that is accessing your account.
Once you’ve followed these 4 easy steps, your accounts and the information they hold will be much more secure. In addition, if you use a password manager like Meldium, you can store all accounts for both personal and work, which allows you to share accounts (but not the passwords!) like Netflix with family or friends as needed. That’s the kind of sharing we like.