So you’ve taken the plunge. You’ve gotten yourself a tool that helps to manage your passwords, and now your small business feels more secure — right? Well, that may depend on the platform you’re using. Not all password managers are made to handle everything a small business encounters, and it’s imperative that you know what to look for when settling on a security product of any kind. So, whether it’s the way your passwords are stored, or whether it’s the lack of features specific to your type of business, there are a few situations that may mean you’ll need to revisit your password manager choices.
You’re Only Using A Browser Password Manager
Commonly appearing among browsers, especially the popular ones like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, is a feature that allows you to save your passwords and easily apply them when cued. Most sites that you have to log into on your browser can bring up this tool automatically, which seems convenient. But here’s the pesky truth: Anyone who uses your browser can easily utilize this information. While some of the sensitive data your browser can store (such as credit card details) needs validation before it’s applied into a form, passwords have no such protection — but small business password management tools are a little more complex. When you have a password manager like this, you’re required to enter your master password before use. This means that long before you visit any sites, your password manager will have verified your identity, eliminating the problem of unauthorized access via your browser!
Your Current Software Doesn’t Share Securely
As a small business, you might have a team behind you that helps you get the job done. While they are there to ensure your success, it’s important that you keep your business secure — which is why you don’t share your passwords. However, you might desire for your teammates to have access to particular tools at your disposal, or to handle some work on your behalf as part of delegation. Whatever the reason, you’ll find that certain password management tools are perfect for this, as they include access controls and secure sharing that makes it easy to bring users into the fold without compromising your credentials. Additionally, you can look out for platforms that allow you to manage access to accounts based on roles, assigning permissions to users in respect to the job they have in your company. At any rate, all of this means you have options for secure delegation. If this sounds like a need you have, and your current password manager doesn’t offer such features, you may consider looking elsewhere.
You Want Usable Encrypted Storage
In the use of top-tier password management software, your passwords get stowed away in an encrypted vault — visible only to you, as your client-side software holds the decryption key. However, with some managers, this is all you get: saving only passwords and login credentials, as opposed to the number of other things that can be kept securely within encrypted storage. Is your password manager one that offers such storage for other sensitive data? Does it securely store other things, such as documents and media files? This kind of storage, and these kinds of assets, are all a part of business today, and without assurance of such security, it’s hard to know that you’re doing the best you can for your company. However, by keeping your assets safe within an encrypted storage system, you’re keeping both your business and your clients’ data in mind. After all, that’s the whole idea behind cyber security of any kind.
You Don’t Have The Most Secure Features
Here’s where some password management gets tricky: while many password managers boast a zero-knowledge architecture or host-proof hosting, this isn’t the case every time. If you’re using a software that doesn’t make this clear when looking at the features, then you might be in trouble. In the same way, it’s standard for a password manager to use 2FA (two-factor authentication) for logging in, but if you find yourself using a platform that doesn’t do this, you’re not dealing with the most secure tools available. Past host-proof hosting and 2FA, there are other criteria that every good password manager needs in order to be appropriately secure: your encryption should be significantly sophisticated, you should have the ability to audit the security level of your current passwords, and you should take comfort in knowing that the password management tool you use is vetted for the highest compliance standards, such as HIPAA, GDPR, and so on. Small business password management of any variety is a step in the right direction, but it’s only at its best when features like the above are included — so be sure to look out for each one.
You have a business to run, and that means you’re responsible for your own security to a degree. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have help. With a run-of-the-mill password manager, you will be getting some help — but you should ask yourself if it’s meeting all the needs it could be. If not, you need to look at other options, and start rethinking the password management software your company uses daily. You’ll likely find that between the storage features, access controls, and other various benefits, a top-tier password manager is worth the search, and makes your business security far easier to maintain.