Strong passwords are a must to maintain security for your medical practice. Whether it’s social media, a website, online patient portals or other electronic networks, strong passwords are your first line of defense. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help boost your security.
Do’s for Developing Strong Passwords
- Choose the first letters of a phrase that you can remember. For example:
- My First Grade Teacher’s Name Was Mrs. Campbell, which would be a password of mfgtnwmc
- Choose at least 8 letters for your password. Longer passwords with random characters are stronger. Note that some sites don’t allow passwords to exceed 8 characters.
- Create a “new” word that you can pronounce if you prefer that rather than generating a security phrase. For example, bleekshir isn’t a word, but you can pronounce it.
- Use a mix of upper/lower case letters, symbols and numbers. For example, mFgt@nW!mc. Now we’re seeing a stronger password that is more difficult to crack.
- Changing your passwords on a regular basis boosts your security. A good rule of thumb is changing passwords every 90 days. If you don’t do that, at least make an annual change.
Don’ts for Developing Strong Passwords
- Don’t use your initials, name, name of child or spouse or other words in the dictionary
- Avoid altering regular words with symbols with symbols and/or numbers. (It doesn’t add much strength)
- Stay away from creating one that is very similar to you existing password when changing your password
- Don’t use the same password for every site. If hackers crack a password that is used to access multiple sites, there’s the potential for them to access more information and do more damage.
- Avoid features that remember your password on your computer. It’s convenient, but it’s also easy for someone to access.
Choosing Symbols for Strong Passwords
- Some sites don’t allow symbols in passwords. Other sites limit the use of symbols in passwords. Typically, @ ! # and $ are acceptable where symbols are allowed. Using symbols that are most often allowed means that you don’t have to alter your password.
We’ve talked about password security and strong passwords, but don’t forget the need for physical security for your computer and network. Accept updates to software because many of the updates provide extra security against computer viruses. In addition, you need to have antivirus protection that prevents viruses from entering your computer.
Need a little more help in transitioning your medical practice to be the more efficient and best that it can be? Call PUMC. Our experts have extensive experience management and marketing for plastic surgery practices and medical spas. We here to lend help where you need it so you put your best foot forward in 2015.