Category: Data Security

The Perfect Password: 5 Easy Tips

What steps are you taking to protect data—both personal and work-related—more efficiently? One of the best ways to put cybersecurity first is by developing strong passwords and better security habits. Your passwords are your first and best defense against threat actors. Here are some tips you can implement today!

1. Status: It is Complicated

Think of your favorite heist movie. For this piece, we are thinking of The Italian Job. In it, Charlize Theron plays the team’s safecracker. She used several tools and skills to guess the combination to the safe, switching and turning the dial until she found the right sequence of numbers to get inside. Our passwords are like the combination on a safe. The more complicated the combination, the longer it will take Charlize Theron to get in, or in this case, a threat actor. Check out the chart below.

It looks like a lot, but we are here to break it all down for you!

A simple password may be easy to remember, but it also shortens the time it takes to guess the right “combination.” If you can use more than just numbers, such as varying letter cases and characters, it will take longer for threat actors to crack the code. So, that is your first tip: keep it complicated, not simple.

2. Case by Case

If you find it hard to keep track of numbers for your passwords, consider using upper- and lowercase letters. This is not a foolproof plan, but it can make the threat actors’ efforts more challenging. Regardless, you should update your passwords regularly. Just a heads up: relying on upper- and lowercase letters alone may require you to do so more often.

3. The Numbers do not Lie

If you have started adding upper- and lowercase letters to your passwords, rethink how you can use numbers, too. Try to avoid any numbers that are important to you, like adding your birthday or an anniversary at the end of your password.

4. A Character’s Good Reputation

Now that you have a few security boosters in your passwords, consider using more characters, such as @, #, $, %, !, and more. They are all waiting at the top of your keyboard to add an extra layer of defense to your passwords. Special characters are powerhouses when it comes to building strong passwords.

5. Phrasing!

Finally, bring all these strategies together. You can use any combination of letter cases, numbers, and special characters to spell out one word, or you can get really creative and create a “passphrase.” A passphrase is a short sentence comprised of all the elements covered above. Phrases such as 13@kEm0re8reaD or j0G1m!le are examples of passphrases. They can be reminders, goals, or items from your to-do list. While passphrases stand above the rest, make sure they are not too obvious or relevant to your personal life, such as specific hobbies, favorite movies, or loved ones.


By creating strong passwords, you are going the extra mile to put cybersecurity best practices first. The more complicated the better—just make sure you leave no physical reminders behind, and that you update your passwords regularly. Multi-factor authentication (or MFA) is another excellent feature you can apply to your devices. When you start implementing safe and modern password best practices into your day-to-day life, you protect your organization, your data, and yourself!

You can learn more about cybersecurity practices and management by checking out our cybersecurity awareness program! 

Tips to Protect Data When You Travel

Getting ready to take a trip? As you prepare your packing list, take a minute to add one more crucial item that you simply can’t leave home without data security.

According to experts, holidays and long weekends are prime times for threat actors to execute all kinds of malware attacks—everything from ransomware to social engineering, phishing, and beyond. That’s because long weekends and holidays give hackers more time to corrupt files and devices before anyone can respond, or even notice.  Here are some tips to help keep your personal and professional data safe as you plan your next getaway.

1. “Password Protected”

Be sure your mobile devices are safe and secure. Disable lock screen notifications and enable multi-factor authentication so that you—and only you!—have access to your data. You can also apply these authentication measures to your more sensitive accounts like banking and travel booking websites. If you must bring work on the road, consider asking your organization to provide a loaner device for travel, especially if you’re concerned about data security. Don’t leave home without outfitting your devices with remote-wipe features. That way, if you do bring your personal device, you’ll have a backup plan in case it’s stolen or compromised.

2. “You Are an Island”

It may take a few extra steps, but bringing backup power supplies for your batteries and devices means you can depend on yourself, not your surroundings, to keep your devices going. This also means your belongings are always close to you, instead of plugged into a wall at the airport or the quirky coffee shop you found. If you don’t have backup power supplies, research where you’re going and find secure spots along the way. Make sure all your devices are charged before you leave and only use them when necessary. Don’t connect your devices to other unknown devices, such as that free USB drive you picked up at the airport kiosk—this is an easy way for threat actors to send malware to you.

3. “The Public Eye”

While you’re traveling, you may be tempted to visit the business center of your hotel to check your emails or log in to the Wi-Fi connection at the bookstore you found. Most of these connections are generally secure but watch out for the word “public” when it comes to Wi-Fi channels. A public connection is always a security red flag because everyone can access it, which means the wrong person in the business center at the right time could really sabotage your trip. Try to avoid these kinds of connections altogether or take the necessary steps and use extreme caution if you decide to use them.

4. “Home Sweet Home”

Traveling is great, but it also can be a rush to come home. You want to share your adventures and relive the journey you just experienced. Naturally, you want to get online and start posting pictures and seeing friends. But wait—now that you are home, take a few minutes to change those PINs and passwords. Even if you took good care of your data and devices while you were away, there’s a chance someone picked up your login information. It never hurts to give yourself that extra layer of protection.

Everyone deserves time away to relax and rejuvenate. Let’s use it as a launching pad for a day at the beach, not a data breach!