For many people, one of the most annoying things about technology is that you have to have a password for everything. While password verification is vital in keeping your data safe, it can be hard to keep track of all the different passwords.

You and your employees might try to keep things simpler by having passwords that you can easily remember. This can leave your data at risk. All it takes is one predictable guess for a hacker to take your business down.

Many small businesses don’t recover after a data breach, so it’s important to avoid these most common password mistakes. Read on to find out what they are and how you can keep your passwords safe in the long run.

Mistake #1 – Using Commonly Used Passwords

If you were to guess what the most common password is, what would you say? Would you be surprised to learn that it’s 12345? You would think that people would learn that this password is a perfect target for fraud and hacking, but they haven’t. Don’t make the same mistake. Make sure that your passwords aren’t obvious words that are vulnerable to hackers.

Mistake #2 – Your Company Lacks Password Policies

Most small businesses leave password creation up to their employees. The problem with that is that you’re leaving too much to chance. They may not be aware that they’re making a mistake with their password.

A strong password policy for your business is one way to ensure that your employees are held accountable for keeping their passwords strong and secure. If your employees bring their own devices to work, you should have some kind of policy to ensure that their systems are secure and don’t corrupt your network.

Mistake #3 – Using The Same Password For Everything

Another big mistake that we see from a lot of people in that they use the same password for literally everything. Sure, it’s easy to remember. However, all it takes is just one data breach to access all of your data, banking data included.

You want to make sure that you use different passwords for everything and change them regularly. There’s a good chance that password from 10 years ago is floating around the dark web somewhere.

Mistake #4 – Not Storing Passwords Properly

You want to make sure that you can remember your passwords. You may keep a text file on your computer that has the complete list of all your passwords. If your device is infected with ransomware and a hacker gets that data, your price of ransom just went way up. That’s if the hacker doesn’t take it upon themselves to browse through those sites.

Mistake #5 – Using Numbers For Letters

One of the ways that people have created passwords that they can remember and strong is that they use numbers for letters. For example, instead of the user choosing the word “tree”, they’ll use “tr33” instead.

Don’t do this, this is predictable for hackers that have access to a lot of information about you. They can easily guess what your favorite word is and try to crack that code.

What To Do Instead – Best Password Practices

When you’re setting up a new password for something, you want to make sure it’s extremely tough to remember. The best passwords are passwords that not even you can remember. This includes choosing a password that’s filled with a bunch of random letters, numbers and symbols.

In fact, if whatever platform you’re making a password for has a password generator, use it! The passwords that a generator will come up with are great because they’re very random and they’re the types of passwords you want.

If the platform you’re using doesn’t have a password generator, use a free online password generator.

Now let’s talk about storing your passwords properly.

How To Safely Store Your Passwords

After you’ve generated some better passwords, where do you plan on storing them? If your answer is on a spreadsheet that’s saved on your desktop, you might want to think again.

Hackers can access these places easier than you might think. If you want to follow some of the best practices for safely storing your passwords, it’s best to use a password manager such as LastPass.

Password managers are great because they store your passwords with optimal security in mind. In order to access your account to see all of your passwords, you will need to confirm it’s you when you login. This is usually done by the Google Authenticator app or some other form of 2-factor authentication.

Avoid The Most Common Password Mistakes

Whether you’re responsible for data, you need to be absolutely sure that it’s protected. There’s too much at stake, and you can’t afford to have your system breached. The easiest way to protect your data is to avoid the most common password mistakes.

Make sure that you use strong passwords, change them regularly, and have a password policy set in place.