New Year, New Passwords!

 

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With a New Year comes the thought of new goals and fresh starts.  But we also get a lot of looking back – the best movies, most popular songs, biggest games. You name it, there’s probably a “Best of 2019” list for it. 

Most of these lists probably aren’t that helpful outside of keeping up with popular culture. However, there is one that deserves our attention each year. Only, it’s not so much a “Best of”, but more a “Worst of”. 

The “Worst Passwords of 2019” shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. With such creative entries as “123456”, “password” and “qwerty” taking spots in the top 5.  Of course, pop culture references like “starwars”, and “dragon” also make the list this year. 

While password security isn’t a new topic for the RMS blog, it always deserves a quick refresh. Especially given the 2017 study that identified employee negligence as the leading cause of data breaches for small to medium size businesses. 

Here are some tips to operate with a secure and compliant password policy in 2020: 

Biometrics – Biometric login is one of the easiest ways to avoid password troubles. It ensures secure, unique logins and makes it impossible for employees to share passwords. Best of all, it’s easier and faster than typing in a strong password every time you want to access your point-of-sale application. 

Strong passwords are a must – When you can’t use biometrics, make sure you have a policy that requires a strong password. Basically, this means that your password cannot be easily guessed and is composed of an appropriate number and combination of characters. Here are some guidelines for strong password creation:

No personal information – Don’t use birthdays, anniversaries, kid names, pet names or other personal information. This type of data can be easily obtained through social media, public records, or even a discarded piece of mail.

Adhere to strong password guidelines – Strong passwords should be a minimum of 12 characters including upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Instead of a single word, try a passphrase. This can make it easier for you to remember your password but difficult for anyone else to guess. 

No pop culture references – Pop culture references in passwords aren’t secure. It’s easy for a potential hacker to guess passwords based off of a social media post that you’ve been to see the new Star Wars movie and loved it, or that you’re a big Harry Potter fan. 

Change passwords often – The longer you use a password, the higher the risk of compromise. Stolen passwords often aren’t used immediately so changing it up regularly can help to mitigate risk. 

Use different passwords for different applications – It’s bad enough to have one password compromised. But what if that password could access all of your accounts? So instead of just having your email account hacked, all of your accounts are now at risk. Each application should have a separate unique password. 

Don’t write passwords down- It’s hard to keep all of the different passwords you have straight. Just one more thing to remember that you don’t really want to deal with. But while that little piece of paper under the keyboard may seem harmless, all it takes is one moment for someone to take a peek, snap a photo, and walk away with access to your pharmacy. You can use an application like keepersecurity.com to manage and store your passwords.

Creating and maintaining a secure password policy in your pharmacy will help to ensure that your pharmacy has a successful 2020 and keep your pharmacy from becoming a data breach statistic.  RMS customers can use their point-of-sale application to help manage and control access for pharmacy employees. 

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