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Protecting Your Small Business

Business Owners: Are Your Passwords Secure?

Online security is important, but let’s face it: It can be hard to keep track of all our passwords.  Brandon Abbey, chief executive of Burstorm, in San Carlos, Calif., was forced to email himself passwords in order to keep track of the data.  The leader of the computer storage and network cloud services provider knew this wasn’t the most effective and safest way to remember passwords, but it worked. Finally he stumbled across password manager SplashData and he no longer worries about his passwords getting lost or stolen.

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“It saves us a tremendous amount of time,” said Abbey. “The best part it’s extremely easy to do.”

Despite the fact they serve as protection to sensitive data online, the importance of  strong passwords and logins is often overlooked by small businesses.

“People don’t always follow the best password practices, “said Moran Slain, chief executive of SplashData of Los Gatos, Calif. “People don’t realize the risk and use the same passwords over and over again and share passwords with colleagues.” What’s worse, many workers jot down passwords and leave them on sticky notes on their computer.

Recent breaches in corporate networks which resulted in hackers publishing customers’ logons and passwords, underscores the vulnerability of weak passwords and slack protections. According to Slain, many people create passwords that have a simple repetition based on the keyboard, which is easy to remember--but leaves the door wide open to hackers.

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“People need to use longer passwords with letters and special characters,” advised Slain, noting that an easy way to create a strong password is to string together words with spaces, special characters or hyphens in between. He also recommended small business owners never use the same password at different websites or applications. If the password is compromised, the hacker would be limited to what information can be accessed.

But this advice means small business owners and employees have to remember numerous long and convoluted passwords. Enter SplashData: which creates consumer and business applications to manage passwords, digital photos, financial accounts and more.

SplashData offers consumers its mobile and desktop versions, which carry a price tag of $10 and $20, respectively, and make it so users only have to remember one master password that unlocks the vault to all the other passwords.

Keep in mind that if the customer forgets the master password he or she won’t be able to access the data; even SplashData employees wouldn’t have access.

“It’s a safe for the digital age with one combination lock,” says Slain, noting that customers can store logons, password and any digital information they need to keep secure. On the consumer version, data is stored locally on the customer’s computer hard drive or smartphone hard drive.  The password manager is encrypted by two layers of security that ensure that even if the device is stolen, the data will still be inaccessible.

SplashData just launched a corporate version that gives IT administrators the ability to maintain and control the deployment of passwords and change passwords. With the product, companies can assign passwords to groups and departments ensuring that data remains safe even as co-workers share information.  The corporate version costs $5 per month, per user. The more users. the steeper the discount, said Slain.

While many of SplashData’s small business customers use the consumer version, Slain said the company expects many to migrate to the corporate version as their businesses grows and opens up new offices.

“More and more small businesses are using the web for work, and just for surfing,” said Slain. “They need a way to maintain all their user names and passwords.”

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