Despite the Risks, Half of Employees Don’t Change Passwords Regularly

Hacks Are Costly, Yet Most Remain Unconcerned

TORONTO, June 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Despite constant warnings about online security, a new survey from Express Employment Professionals found that half of respondents change their work passwords only if prompted. This represents a serious risk for businesses, as compromised passwords have been linked to up to 80% of hacking-related security breaches, creating significant costs and customer relations nightmares.

Respondents were asked, “How often do you change the passwords for your work devices?”

Half of respondents, 49%, said they only change their passwords when told or prompted to do so; whereas a smaller number, 24%, change them quarterly; 12% change them monthly; while 5% change them every six months. Four percent admit to never changing their passwords, while 3% will change only when and if their accounts are “hacked” or comprised.

Respondents were also asked whether they had ever had a password-protected work account “hacked,” with 1 in 4, 24%, responding they have, while 76% say they have not.

Despite the risk and cost for both employees and employers from “hacked” accounts, the survey’s finding indicates the message on cybersafety isn’t getting across for many and points to the need for improved employee training. A recent report by CIRA found that only 53% of the Canadian companies surveyed offer cybersecurity training, and even then, it is usually only to some, not all, employees.

Bruce Hein, an Express Employment Professionals franchise owner in Sarnia, Ontario, believes that people underestimate the important of password security.

“Cybersecurity should be a concern whether you are a large multinational company or a small business,” Hein said. “Cybersecurity should be discussed regularly in the workplace because, not only is it an inconvenience when something goes wrong, it can also be a legal and public relations nightmare, depending on the situation.”

Jessica Culo, an Express franchise owner in Edmonton, Alberta, agrees that cybersecurity is important.

“Business owners have a lot of different things to deal with, so cybersecurity may not always be top of mind, but it should be,” Culo said. “Ask any business owner who has had their computer system hacked and they will tell you that it’s much easier to take a bit of extra time to make sure your system is secure than having to spend a lot of time and resources to deal with a hack.”

Express experts point to some common tips for employers to enhance cybersecurity for passwords in their workplace.

“The easiest and most proactive approach is to prompt employees to change passwords every 30 to 60 days and enable multi-factor authentication,” Hein advised.

“Every company should look at implementing basic cybersecurity training for all employees, not just some,” Culo recommended. “For example, employees should be informed that their passwords cannot contain names of loved ones or dates of special occasions. Passwords should be lengthy and contain a combination of numbers, letters and characters.”

According to Bill Stoller, CEO of Express, few things keep business leaders up at night like cybersecurity.

“We can all do a better job protecting ourselves online, whether it’s using strong passwords and two-factor authentication or staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends,” he said. “Everyone is at risk—especially if they don’t realize it.”

The survey of 335 business leaders, decision makers and job seekers was conducted in May 2019 through the Express Refresh Leadership and Job Journey blogs.

If you would like to arrange for an interview to discuss this topic, please contact Ana Curic at (613) 858-2622 or email ana@mapleleafstrategies.com.

About Bill Stoller
William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 800 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Since its inception, Express has put more than 7.7 million people to work worldwide.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.56 billion in sales and employed a record 566,000 people in 2018. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit ExpressPros.com.

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