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Info Advantage Blog

Info Advantage has been serving the Upstate New York area since 1993 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

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The Cloud is changing the face of business computing. The right hosted solution ensures your company is delivered a secure and efficient computing infrastructure that enables you to focus on your daily operations. It presents solutions for all common business needs; from e-mail, to communications, to a full-scale hosted infrastructure. It enhances productivity anywhere.

With that in mind, Info Advantage has partnered with Zadara, a vendor known to be one of tech’s fastest growing companies according to Deloitte. They are industry leader in Edge Computing, which is an open IT architecture that features decentralized processing power, enabling mobile computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. It allows data to be processed by a device itself or by a local computer or server, rather than being transmitted to a data center.

In just 10 years, Zadara has been able to establish over 300 edge Cloud locations, which provide on-demand, global cloud services. Their fully managed cloud services, which include computing, networking, storage, and more, are designed for service providers and the modern enterprise.

Join Linda Weller, President of Info Advantage, and Doug Jury, VP Partner Services at Zadara, for a quick 45-minute webinar to discover how we can deliver computing and storage options for your business! During the webinar, you will have a chance to participate in poll questions and win a prize. We will also raffle off one Amazon $25 gift card at the end!

Lastly, for anyone that attends the webinar and schedules a meeting within 14 days, they will receive 60 days of no cost for the zCompute or zStorage service – saving you money from the very start! It’s our mission to provide top performance and security, agile and infinite resources, and expert management 24/7/365. Our advantage is simple pricing, no hidden fees, enhanced data security, maximum flexibility, and so much more! We look forward to seeing you there.

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Best Practice For Your Passwords

You hear the ping and see the notification – YOUR PASSWORD WILL EXPIRE –  and that immediate feeling of dread settles in.

How difficult will it be this time to set a password? Which characters can I use? How many old passwords do I have to bypass?

There is a method behind the maddening nature of password resets, no matter how annoying it might end up being.

According to a 2019 Google & Harris Poll, 52% of users say they reuse the same password for multiple (but not all) accounts, while 13% of users reuse the same password for all their accounts. Between January and March 2019, Microsoft’s threat research team scanned all Microsoft user accounts and found that “44 million users were employing usernames and passwords that leaked online following security breaches at other online services.” In 2019, it was also reported that 42% of companies were breached by a bad password. A potential breach could cost you and your companies an unimaginable amount of time and money. Just how much though? We are glad you asked. In 2020, IBM and the Ponemon Institute Report that the average cost of a data breach is 3.86 million dollars.

The IBM & Ponemon study goes on to state that “nearly 40% of the average total cost of a data breach stem from lost business – including increased customer turnover, lost revenue due to system downtime and increased cost of acquiring new business due to diminished reputation.” It can all start with a compromised password – make sure you take that extra few minutes to come up with a new, complex password. Microsoft suggests at least 12 characters, a combination of case sensitive letters with numbers and symbols mixed in.

Shy away from the repeated passwords, names of fictional characters, family, friends. Take the extra step to protect yourself and your company.

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Why Data Backup Has Become Critical


Is there such thing as a, “Pandemic Anniversary?” If so, this month marks a year since COVID-19 was publicly reported across the U.S. and the way we worked changed forever. Hackers are on the rise and businesses are experiencing challenges, both remote or in the office, more than ever before – and that’s where data backup comes into play. Simply put, it’s a copy of all your important information that is taken and stored elsewhere so that it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event.  

Advances in modern technology have only added to the ways in which data loses can occur, which include hard drive failures, human error, physical disasters, physical theft, and ransomware attacks. Having a data backup system in place is proven to provide you with an immediate sense of relief.

Consider these statistics as evidence of how valuable a data backup system is:

At Info Advantage we pride ourselves on customizing all our backup, disaster recovery and business continuity solutions to fit your organizations needs based on your RTO (Recovery Time Objectives) and RPO (Recovery Point Objectives). These two components are the most important items for us to understand about your technologies, and business operations. We will work directly with you and your team to determine the best solutions across a variety of industry tried and true options to accomplish your objective of protecting your business. Whether your requirements are onsite, designing a secondary location or leveraging the cloud, we can help!

If the statistics above weren’t enough evidence that a data backup system is a worthwhile investment for your business remind yourself of the benefit in having confidence in your safety despite the rise of malicious threats. We believe that if your company doesn’t have a data backup solution, then you need one. You deserve a smart and affordable way to protect your data; we make it simple and effective too!

You can click here to learn more about our Backup and Disaster Recovery solution, or schedule a free consultation with us and we’ll give you trusted data backup advice with absolutely zero obligation.

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Microsoft Exchange Security Vulnerability

Microsoft recently dropped a bombshell – four zero-day bugs were discovered in “early” January.

What does this mean for everyone else? A giant security vulnerability.

According to a recent article on ZDNet, “approximately 30,000 organizations in the United States have been attacked so far. Bloomberg estimates put this figure closer to 60,000, as of March 8. Palo Alto Networks suggests there are at least 125,000 unpatched servers worldwide.”

In a nutshell, Microsoft says that “attackers secure access to an Exchange Server either through these bugs or stolen credentials and they can then create a web shell to hijack the system and execute commands remotely." As of March 12, Microsoft has estimated that “at least 82,000 servers remain unpatched."

New cumulative updates are being rolled out by Microsoft, which are being created to help patch up any remaining vulnerabilities.

We at Info Advantage are on top of this devastating vulnerability. Thanks to tireless work from our network engineers, we have been able to patch multiple systems for companies we support. With that being said, we want to make you aware that we are here for you!

If you believe that your Microsoft Exchange server might have been compromised or is in need of patching, please do not hesitate to reach out and give us a call at 585-458-4636.

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Top Benefits of The Cloud

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Businesses of all sizes and industries are turning to Cloud services if they haven’t already. Some of the most common solutions revolve around computing, data storage, virtual desktop infrastructure, and critical communication tools like hosted email or phone systems. But what top benefits do they all share?

  • Efficiency & Cost Reduction: You can avoid spending large amounts of money on purchasing and maintaining equipment when you migrate to the Cloud. The average small business saves 30-50% overall by moving their applications to the Cloud when compared to traditional methods.
  • Additional Security Layers: Having control over sensitive data is vital to any business. You never know what can happen if a document gets into the wrong hands, even if it’s just the hands of an untrained employee. Cloud enables you to have complete visibility and security over your data.
  • Scalability: No more investing in hardware, facilities, utilities, or building out a large data center to grow your business. We understand different businesses have different IT needs. The Cloud enables you to efficiently – and quickly – scale your unique business model according to demand.

Migration to the Cloud is on the rise every year, and it doesn’t take long to see why, especially with all of the workplace challenges caused from a global pandemic. Today’s workers just need more from their computing platforms whether they are remote or in the office. Info Advantage understands that.

We prevent a lot of problems that plague organizations that heavily rely on on-premises infrastructure. You can click here to learn all about our Cloud solutions. Or perhaps you understand the need for Cloud but don’t know where to start? Schedule a free consultation with us and we’ll give trusted advice with no obligation. Leveraging the right solution saves you money and increases efficiency. We want that for you!

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How can you avoid work-from-home burnout?

Over the past twelve months, Covid has changed how we work. Jobs that once found themselves rooted in office life are now strictly running a work-from-home situation. Working from the comfort of your home has its benefits. You can roll out of bed and onto your laptop minutes before your day begins. You have no commute. You have unlimited snacking options. Despite the perks of working from home, the rumblings have begun to reach the surface. The fear has become work-from-home induced burnout. How can you avoid it?

  • Utilize Video Conferencing / Instant Messaging Platforms For Face-To-Face Interaction:
    Over the past year, Zoom went from being a program that might have been used once-in-awhile to becoming an everyday necessity for employees working from home. While some fear the dreaded “Zoom fatigue," Pew Research reported in December 2020 that, “teleworkers are relying heavily on video conferencing services to keep in touch with co-workers, and there’s no evidence of widespread Zoom fatigue.” One of the more popular platforms used by our customers is Microsoft Teams.
  • Turn Your Commute Time Into Prep Time:
    Driving to and from work can be a cathartic time for some people. Whether you find yourself listening to podcasts, music or just the sounds of the road, the time between home and work is very important to allow that work and home separation. When working from home, clearly you lose that separation. Try to wake up and work out before taking a seat at in your designated office area. If that is not your thing, you can always try reading a few pages in a book to get your brain warmed up. Worst case scenario, fire up the music and treat your morning exactly like you would if you were in the car. Do whatever it takes to gain that work balance.
  • Maintain Perspective:
    As Forbes points out, it is always important to maintain perspective – especially in times like these. “Why are we doing all this? Let's not forget that the restrictions are crucial measures to prevent the spread of a serious disease,” Astrid Pocklington points out. Working from home is you doing a small part. Can it be tough? Sure. Will it get better? At some point, yes. Maintaining perspective is always important, especially in a time like this.


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Technology for Modern Business

Tech Modern

In the last two decades, technology has changed the way we interact, the way we shop, the way we do research, and the way businesses operate. Today, technology is central to the success of most businesses.

Since the role of IT is so prominent in business of all sizes, Info Advantage has created a suite of services that gives you the complete array of the tools needed to stay productive and protected in today’s world. iaGaurdian is a powerful suite of cloud-based technology solutions tailored to support YOUR business.

How did we come up with this solution? We listened to the needs of our clients. Here are some ways the tech industry has changed the face of modern business and how it drove us to create the iaGuardian Suite.

  • Effective Workplace Communication: Technology simplifies the way people communicate and it has become a real necessity for internal and external communication. Telecommunications, Hosted PBX, VoIP, and Video Conferencing are just some of the leading tactics. We are here to help you get away from old, costly traditional models and enhance overall human connection.
  • Planning The Inevitable: No one can avoid natural disasters, however having a Disaster Recovery plan paired with the right technology will minimize any potential damage, quickly get things back up and running, and most importantly prevent some disasters from happening in the first place. Offsite Backup, Computing Systems, and Data Centers are leading solutions to keep you running.
  • Maximizing Managed Services: Perhaps some of the most common needs for technology in business include Remote Support, Onsite Support, Help desk, Routine Maintenance, and Reporting. Bundling these core fundamentals at an affordable price is something we promise at Info Advantage. Our MSP framework provides a wide range of services to help your business grow.

Want to see for yourself how leveraging the right technology can save you time and money? We’ll give you 2 free hours of our iaGuardian service to show you IT support doesn’t need to be expensive or frustrating. You also get peace of mind knowing your business is keeping up with regulatory compliance. 

Let us show you how we can help – and we’ll all cheer when your profits go up and expenses go down.

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Who We Are.


Many of us have heard the term “Managed Service Provider” but how does Info Advantage define being an MSP and how can it bring you value? We just want to give you the facts so you can make the most informed decisions when it comes to your IT needs – and we can help get rid of any headaches too.

If you depend on technology to maximize the efficiency of your business you are sure to have experienced a time when that technology let you down. Whether it be downtime brought on by computer or network problems, or you simply don’t like how much your organization is paying to keep your IT running, Info Advantage is here to help. We have dependable services that catch most problems before they even occur and we have predictable IT budgeting with a flat-rate service plan. But how do we really promise success?

It starts with who we are. Our core values are what drive us to provide expert guidance centered around proven best practices and business methods. We truly have a dedication to resolving your problems.


Core Values Video Image    Passion: We enjoy the work we do and the business we are in.

    Nimble: We are always learning, evolving, and adapting.

    Relentless Perseverance: We never quit and always find a resolution.

    Teamwork: We work together and always do the right thing.

    Human: We show respect and maintain a sense of humor.


Have you seen this video?

IT doesn’t need to be frustrating or costly. It’s our personal goal to change the way you think about IT. We are a woman owned business with a team of experts that become a true extension of your team. Curious on where to start your journey with us? In today’s digital landscape we are seeing how vital it is for organizations to bolster their security, so we encourage an IT Assessment to show where your current risks are so we can help you focus resources on continually eliminating the biggest threats out there.

In the end it really is about staying proactive, not reactive – and Info Advantage is made to help with that.

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Even During a Pandemic, Technology Never Sleeps


As we see ourselves rolling comfortably through what is often referred to as the “Dog Days of Summer”, we are able take a quick moment and reflect before the fall and winter inevitably arrive.

The year 2020 has been incredibly rough for all of humanity all across the planet Earth. Uncertainties within the health care industry, finances and throughout the workforce, most people have just not been able to catch a break.

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Why (and How) SMBs Should Strategically Adopt Technology


There is no question that a small business can benefit from technology, as has been proven time and time again. However, an issue can arise if a business bites off more than it can chew, so to speak, and ultimately creates a spike in costs. A responsible business owner will resist this temptation and prioritize the solutions they need over the ones they want - building profitability and generating capital needed to make other improvements.

In this blog, we’ll examine some of the implementations that can deliver a good return on investment to a small business.

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Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?


The cloud has proven to be an extremely useful tool for the modern business. Not only does it provide anywhere-anytime access to applications, processing, storage, et al; it also delivers those products as a service, allowing you to budget for recurring costs rather than major upfront ones. This provides your organization with functional, supported, and secure computing environments that eliminate a lot of the support costs that traditional computing environments require. It sounds like a perfect scenario for small and large businesses alike, but things aren’t always what they seem, as a lot of cloud users have found that they have incurred several hidden costs by using cloud platforms. Today, we take a look at these hidden costs.

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How to Avoid Becoming the Next Data Security Cautionary Tale


Data security isn’t a matter to be taken lightly, as too many businesses have found out the hard way. Unfortunately, there are far too many simple ways to correct common security issues - enough that it’s foolish not to do so. We’ll review a few ways to fix security issues, after discussing one of, if not the, most egregious security failings in modern history.

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4 Ways a Managed Service Provider Can Help Your Business


How much does your business rely on technology to keep your organization running forward? As business technology becomes more complex, it’s becoming increasingly popular for organizations to have their own internal IT departments to manage and maintain it. Yet, small businesses don’t often have the necessary funds for such a feat. How can your company afford quality IT service? You can start by pursuing managed IT solutions from a managed service provider.

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Knowing, and Planning For, Your Organization’s Compliance Burden


Despite what detractors say, regulations are in place for good reason. They typically protect individuals from organizational malfeasance. Many of these regulations are actual laws passed by a governing body and cover the entire spectrum of the issue, not just the data involved. The ones that have data protection regulations written into them mostly deal with the handling and protection of sensitive information. For organizations that work in industries covered by these regulations there are very visible costs that go into compliance. Today, we look at the costs incurred by these organizations as a result of these regulations, and how to ascertain how they affect your business.

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A Look at Business Computing Costs: Cloud vs. On Premise


Profitability is less the measure of being able to turn a profit, and more the measure of how much profit you can make. For the successful small business, the integration of technology can dictate what kind of annual margins you are looking at. For the new company, however, it can be something even more critical: the difference between setting a course for success, or wallowing in failure. Today we analyze the cost difference between hosting your IT in-house, or choosing to host it in the cloud.

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Is Data a Commodity? Maybe Not, but It Is an Asset


The late American author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.” Written in the 20th century, it has been put in practice by 21st century businesses. As the Internet has grown, the amount of companies expanded, and the amount of data that those companies collect has grown exponentially, especially now that there is a market for such data.

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Image 'Snapshot' Data Backup Might Be the Best Method

Image 'Snapshot' Data Backup Might Be the Best Method

Is your business still using tape as its primary method of data backup? If so, you could be missing out on a more reliable, less time-consuming alternative. Image-based, or “snapshot” backup solutions continue to be the optimal way to guarantee the continuity of your organization’s data infrastructure, and we’ll explain why.

But first, let’s talk about why tape backup isn’t good enough in today’s business environment. Storing data backups on magnetic tape reels has long been a standard procedure, but compared to more modern data backup practices, tape has fallen short of today’s expectations. Tape backups are resource-intensive, and as such, they need to be performed at the end of the workday to avoid slowing down the network. Furthermore, due to how resource-intensive tape backups are, they can only be taken once--meaning that you could potentially lose up to a day’s worth of productivity and accumulated data.

The Difference
Image-based backup is vastly more efficient and more manageable than traditional tape backup. Image-based backup lets your business take a “snapshot” of your organization’s data, which is then sent to several locations either on or off-site for safe, secure storage. These snapshots record data that’s been changed recently rather than take a whole backup like how tape would work; these smaller backup sessions are less resource-intensive and can be performed more frequently during the day--even as often as every 15 minutes.

Perhaps the greatest boon of using an image-based backup system is the fact that it’s automatic and relies less on users to be effective. Your team doesn’t need to set and run the backup at the end of each workday; you can set them to run automatically. Of course, you still have to check the backups and make sure that they work properly, but the fact remains that you have backups taken and ready to go.

When it comes to backup and disaster recovery, your business can’t cut any corners, and doing so could become a problem down the road. Even the slightest disaster like a power outage could lead to major data loss. That’s not to mention other common disasters that could cost your business capital in more ways than just data loss. Hardware failure, floods, and fires could lead to not just data loss, but expensive hardware replacements and damage to your IT budget. The damage caused by the resulting downtime is also a major problem, and one which absolutely cannot be ignored.

Info Advantage can equip your business with a backup and disaster recovery solution that’s specifically designed to work for your organization. Depending on your needs, you can back up your data to several off-site locations, including a secure data center and in the cloud for rapid data recovery. Furthermore, in the event of a disaster, you can restore your backups directly to the BDR device, and it can act as a temporary server while you work out the finer details of replacing your hardware. All in all, it’s the ideal solution for a small business that relies on data to keep operations going.

To learn more, reach out to us at (585) 254-8710.

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New ATM Scam is Able to Fool Even Chip Based Cards

Stealing data ATM

If we told you that automated teller machines, or ATMs, were susceptible to hacking attacks, would you believe us? You should; there are a plethora of ways for hackers to infiltrate and steal money from ATMs, with the latest being so dangerous that even the Secret Service has issued warnings about it.

ATMs in Connecticut and Pennsylvania have recently become complicit in identity theft schemes issued by hackers. The machines themselves have been found to be equipped with periscope skimmer devices attached inside, particularly in machines which have openable lids that provide easy access to their inner workings. The device is installed so that it can probe the magnetic strip on the card as the machine reads it. Users might only need to withdraw $20, but they have so much more to lose.

It’s estimated that the device’s battery can last for up to 14 days per charge and that it has enough storage capacity to steal 32,000 card numbers. The one good thing about this device is that it doesn’t seem to collect PIN numbers. Instead, this scam may be part of a preparation for a real heist.

There may not be a PIN collection device on this version of the skimmers, but it’s still a good habit to cover the PIN pad with your free hand while you plug in your code. You never know who could be watching. Scammers are crafty and may have hidden cameras on the device to steal information, or they have hacked into the native camera remotely to spy on you while you input your credentials. Even if you don’t suspect that you’re being watched, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

What’s worse is that those chip cards that your bank replaced your old cards with probably won’t be of much use, as most ATMs still need magnetic strips in order to accept and process the card as legitimate.

These skimmers can’t usually be identified by sight, as they’re often installed internally to avoid the prying eyes of cautious users. The most practical advice for avoiding ATM scams is to consider the thought process of a criminal who may try to exploit one of these machines. Consider its location--if the ATM is surrounded by people at all times, like those that are found in supermarkets or public places, chances are that it won’t become a target. Now, if it were located in a secluded rural gas station tucked away in the back hallway, it’s more likely that someone would tamper with it. Consider if it’s top-accessible, allowing cybercriminals access to its innards. These are all variables that you should be on the lookout for.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you use only ATMs that are placed in high-traffic areas where there are plenty of witnesses who might notice if someone tampered with the machine. It’s also important to avoid ATMs that are easily accessible; rather, just use one which is embedded into the wall, like the one in your bank’s drive-thru. These are great for multiple reasons: 1) They’re well-lit, 2) They are high-surveillance zones, and 3) Hackers have a hard time getting into them.

If you’re dealing with your business’s finances, it’s probably best that you handle your financial services through the tellers that aren’t automated. Another option is to go about your business online, shielded by the safeguards that Info Advantage can prepare for your organization. To learn more about our cybersecurity services, reach out to us at (585) 254-8710.

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Browsers Will Soon Support Fingerprint Sign-Ins

biometric authentication

Just a few years ago, we’d only see fingerprint locks on the movie screens as action stars tried to deftly trick the high-security sensors. But these days, biometric authentication processes can be found on a variety of different devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. But soon we may be seeing them in our browsers, according to announcements front Google, Microsoft, And Mozilla.

According to a report on WC3 browsers such as Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox will soon support biometric authentication, including fingerprint scanners, voice and facial recognition without the need of any additional hardware. Here’s a little more about how biometric authentication will work with these popular browsers.

Using a Mobile Device

Operating systems such as Windows, and MacOS, Chrome OS and Android are in the process of creating new features to allow users to securely log in using biometric identification. Authentication will be verified using USB, Bluetooth, and NFC devices connected to their mobile devices. This two-step verification method helps keep sign-ins secure.

Better Alternative for Passwords

Passwords can be tricky. Make a password too easy, you’re subject to a hack. Make a password too difficult, and you might have trouble remembering it. Biometric authentication methods make it more difficult for a hacker to break in, while also making it easier for you to sign in.

Spend Money Online Securely

With traditional forms of verification, there’s only one thing keeping a cyber-criminal from stealing your information; your password. With biometric verification, there’s an added layer of security keeping your account from getting broken into. Biometric verification authentication will soon be found on websites where you can purchase goods or services, stream videos, access the cloud, and more.

With technology constantly advancing, it can be easy to be left behind. Missing even just one update could be the difference between a secured network and a vulnerable one. Info Advantage can help you keep up to date on your security updates and ensure your business is safe and running efficiently. Call us today at (585) 254-8710 for more information.

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Think Frequently Changing Your Password is Secure? Think Again.

You’ve heard it said that it’s a best security practice to routinely change your passwords. The idea here is that, if a password were stolen, then it would lose its value when the user goes to change it. While this sounds like solid logic, new research shows that it may actually be better NOT to change your passwords.

This may be a hard pill to swallow for IT administrators who have always required users to change their passwords every few months or so. However, seeing as this practice could make accounts less secure, it’s worth considering.

The idea behind this theory is that, whenever a user goes to change their password, they’re often rushed or annoyed and end up creating a new password that’s less secure. The Washington Post puts it like this: “Forcing people to keep changing their passwords can result in workers coming up with, well, bad passwords.”

Think about it, how often have you changed your password, only to change it from a complex password to one that’s easier to remember? Or, have you ever kept the same password and just added a number at the end of your new password? This covert move will do little to deter a hacker. Carnegie Mellon University researched this topic and found that users who felt annoyed by having to change their password created new passwords that were 46 percent less secure.

Plus, let’s consider the hypothetical situation of a hacker actually stealing your password. Truth be told, once they’ve gotten a hold of your login credentials, they’ll try to exploit the password as soon as they can. If they’re successful, they’ll pose as you and change the account’s password, thus locking you out of it. In an all-too-common situation like this, the fact that you’re scheduled to change your password at the end of the month won’t change anything.

Additionally, ZDNet points out yet another way that regularly changing passwords can make matters worse: “Regularly changed passwords are more likely to be written down or forgotten.” Basically, having a password written down on a scrap piece of paper is a bad security move because it adds another way for the credentials to be lost or stolen.

Whether you do or don’t ask employees to change their passwords is your prerogative. However, moving forward it would be in everybody’s best interest to focus on additional ways to secure your network, instead of relying solely on passwords. This can be done by implementing multi-factor authentication, which can include SMS messaging, phone calls, emails, and even biometrics with passwords. With additional security measures like these in place, it won’t matter much if a hacker stole your password because they would need additional forms of identification to make it work.

To maximize your company’s network security efforts, contact Info Advantage at (585) 254-8710.

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