Passwords: the weak link in company security
According to a report for 2019 from the password manager LastPass, businesses are still finding it hard to keep a secure grip on the way their IT systems are accessed. This is due in particular to bad habits perpetuated among employees when it comes to passwords.
The main risk – and this is no surprise – comes from employees using the same password for different kinds of access. In fact the average is up to 13 times. This bad habit is especially common in small and medium-sized enterprises, where the number of passwords per employee can be as high as 85 (compared with 25 in a large company). And, on average, Belgian employees really seem have drawn the short straw, because they have to juggle with an astonishing 112 passwords – a rather sad world record!
Multi-factor authentication on the rise
At the same time, more and more businesses (57% in 2019 compared with 45% in 2018) are using multi-factor authentication, which adds an additional layer of security to passwords: users have to prove in several ways that it really is them who want to connect. For example, in addition to a password, they also have to enter a code generated by an application such as Google or Microsoft Authenticator.
All of which helps create better security, particularly in the Netherlands, which leads the way in the LastPass rankings thanks to the widespread use of multi-factor authentication by Dutch businesses. From this point of view, at least, Belgium appears to have been paying attention, because multiple-factor authentication is used by 36% of companies there.
However, the LastPass report puts this overall improvement in security methods into perspective by stating that this method is less commonly used in small businesses, which are the target of 43% of all cyber-attacks. And, unfortunately, these attacks tend to be fatal in 60% of cases.