Modern web browsers such as Google Chrome are essential tools that just about everyone uses on a daily basis. In addition to simply allowing you to access the Internet, browsers today offer a variety of additional features, including the ability to store and automatically enter your passwords on the websites and apps that you use. While it is easy to see why this feature is so popular, businesses need to understand the dangers that this type of feature comes with so they can decide if it is a good part of their data security management strategy.
Why Storing Passwords in Your Browser is Not Safe
While browsers do not keep their vaulted passwords in plain text, they are still vulnerable. If an employee has the passwords cached, for example, the password can often be found in an unsecured text file. Even without that risk, there are still some additional vulnerabilities that exist with this type of solution. For example, if an employee logs into their Google account on multiple computers, their saved passwords can follow them. If not set up correctly, this could leave the passwords available for use on an unauthorized device.
Another major risk is that the passwords that are saved on the browser can be entered into websites without any additional authentication. This means if an employee loses a laptop that has passwords saved, the person who finds the laptop could log in to any website or service that has a saved password. This is a significant vulnerability that can easily be exploited.
Alternative Ways to Manage Passwords
It is not enough to just tell your employees that using the password managers in their browsers is not a good idea. You need to take active steps to stop this from occurring within your organization and provide good alternatives that will offer the same benefits. Take the following steps to ensure your company can benefit from the benefits of saved passwords without having to worry about the downside of browser-based options:
- Remove Existing Saved Passwords – If your teams have already been using the password managers built into their browsers, you will want to delete them right away. This can be done either on each individual computer or as part of a policy update if your browsers have corporate management enabled.
- Disable Save Passwords – Have your IT team disable this feature in all your browsers. All major browsers, including Chrome, Edge, and others have the ability to manage settings across an organization, so disabling this feature is fast and easy.
- Use an Approved Password Manager – Just because browser-based password managers are not a good idea does not mean that this type of feature should not be used. Installing an approved password manager will allow users to take advantage of all the benefits of this type of feature without the added risks of having it built into a browser. The best password managers use 256-bit encryption standards to ensure everything is safe.
Some of the best password managers that companies today use include 1Password, Keeper, and LastPass. All of these options follow industry-standard encryption and protection strategies to ensure the passwords are not hacked. In addition, these password vaults do not follow the users across multiple devices and will not enter the password without authorization, so your systems are not vulnerable as they would be with a browser-based solution.
Setting Up an Effective Password Management Solution
Making it so your employees are able to manage their passwords safely is well worth the effort. Having a digital password vault available allows the employees to more easily store their passwords in a way that is safe and secure. This helps them to avoid the temptation to write their password down and can eliminate the risk of people forgetting their passwords. No matter what type of password management solution you want to use, it is also critical that it is set up correctly.
Being able to get help with keeping your passwords secure is an important benefit of working with an experienced IT services provider like GSDSolutions. We provide managed IT services in San Francisco, the greater Bay Area, and Central Valley. our data security management professionals can work with you to determine the best password management approach for your company, and implement it properly for you.
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