Data breaches happen every year, leading to thousands of account usernames and passwords being leaked into the web, and one way companies can prevent them is by working with IT professionals.

One interesting side effect of that phenomenon is that we can check that leaked data to see what the most commonly used passwords in the world are. In 2012, the most common password in the world was “password,” but things have improved since then. In 2019, “password” was only the fourth most used. It came behind “qwerty,” “123456789”, and “123456” — the latter has been the most used password in the world for the last six years.

As the last paragraph indicates, human error is the most common cause of cybersecurity breaches, not technical issues. And while there are some very technical ways in which you can boost your company’s cybersecurity, you should start by getting rid of the simple human mistakes found in this list.

1 – Back up your data

It’s important to have data backups isolated from your main data pool. Not only to preserve that data, but to help protect you from ransomware attacks.

Just think of what would happen if all your company’s data was gone overnight. A ransomware attack happens when a hacker steals all your data and then charges you to have the data returned safely. You can protect against those by having updated backups.

Regularly make backups in physical disks or different accounts. That way, if your main data pool gets breached, you’ll have access to updated data to keep your business going.

2 – Change your passwords

The information released through data breaches often makes their way into the public domain. It’s a good idea to check online for tools that let you know if a data breach has compromised your email or personal information.

You can also mitigate the effect of data breaches by changing your passwords regularly, and by having your employees do the same. Or you can avoid that hassle by using a password manager.

3 – Make password managers mandatory

Password managers can significantly simplify your online life while also making it more secure. The premise behind them is simple: your password manager will generate new, secure passwords whenever needed, and it will remember the password for each site.

As a result, you’ll never repeat passwords, you will never forget them, and you’ll always use incredibly secure passwords. Some managers will even remind you when to change the password of important accounts so that they will be protected against data breaches.

Of course, you will still need to remember the password for the password manager itself. And if that account gets compromised, hackers will have access to your entire online life.

4 – Enable two-factor authentication

Another simple security tool comes in the form of two-factor authentication. This makes it much harder for hackers to break into an account by requiring more than just a password to log in. Two-factor authentication using email or a phone token are the most common types.

Going through the motions of two-factor authentication every time you log into an account can be a bit annoying. But depending on the value of the account, the extra hassle will be worth it.

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