How Often Should I Change My Passwords at Work?

News and insights for job seekers and hiring managers.

How Often Should I Change My Passwords at Work?

The threat of cyber-attacks and hackers is as big as ever, especially with more employees working from home. A hacker can gain access to sensitive information. Because the looming threat is so large, it is important to be informed on good security practices and how often you should change your passwords.   

Why You Should Change Your Passwords 

It is important to change your passwords at work, and elsewhere, on a regular basis. Keystrokes on your computer can be collected by hackers over time. This means if your computer is hacked or you are in shared network space, your passwords could be stolen.  

If you are working from home right now or working on company computers, password security is even more important. In some cases, personal and financial information may be breached if passwords are not treated with care. Simply changing the passcodes you use can help prevent these things from happening. Therefore, it is important to stick to a good policy when it comes to how often you perform the task.  

Check Your Company’s Security Policies Regarding Passwords 

Check with human resources or leadership within your company to see what their specific policies are regarding password security. Some businesses will require password changes quarterly. Others will have a less rigid schedule or will only require password changes in the event of a breach.  

You can always alter your passwords more often than is suggested by your company. It is important to consider that you will have to remember the new passcodes, however. So, don’t switch them too often.  

It is also important to take note of the passwords that you will need to change. For instance, if you have access to a company email, company project management programs, and bookkeeping, you may have more than one password to change and remember. Have a list of account passwords you need to manage.  

Choosing a Secure Password 

It is important that your passwords are both memorable and secure. Over time, the effort to randomize passwords has only made it easier for computers to guess what they are. Some websites and systems will have strict password security requirements. However, when it can be permitted, try to use something you can easily remember without writing down or otherwise recording it.  

Research the latest recommended password requirements. More recently, tech experts have suggested dropping the special character requirement from many password-protected programs and sites. They do not provide any additional security and make it more difficult to recall when it comes time to enter it.  

Instead, incorporate longer passwords into the mix. Include multiple words, create a hint, and set up two-step verification if possible, or consider using a passphrase like workingfromhomenow. Additionally, don’t store your passwords in non-secure formats such as computer files or sticky notes. This will make you more vulnerable to being hacked or your accounts being breached.  

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