What Working With Nerds Has Taught Me
By: Jess, HawkPoint's Digital Marketing Manager
Though I am a tech-savvy millennial, here at HawkPoint I am the proverbial old person in the office. I ask a lot of questions, I can never get my computer to project to the larger screens, and I don’t understand why USB plugs keep changing—how does anyone keep up with that?
I only understand storage measurements by how many songs it can hold, and I seem to submit more IT support tickets than the rest of the crew.
My background is marketing, digital marketing in fact, and yet among these amazing programmers and IT professionals I get lost. They use an awful lot of acronyms (RAM, SSD, CPU, DC, AV, DHCP), and throw around terms like “toasters” and “spaghetti code”, but none of this is food-related and I’m left hungry and confused.
Technology is still magic to me, but this team really has an intimate understanding of the technologies we work with and are always happy to translate for me the same way they do for our customers.
And even though they’re all real nice to me, I often find myself making fun of our IT manager, Mike, for being too paranoid. But, the joke is on me, because I have no choice but to comply to the hurdles he sets up. He sure makes it difficult for us to get logged in to our programs just to start our day. He enforces insane password policies. Remember the good ol’ days when you could just use password123 for all your accounts?
Some of my responses to his passwords policies have included:
- I’ll never remember this one!
- Didn’t I just change it?
- Ugh, not 2FA, please not 2FA!
I’m sure you can relate. The inconveniences seem endless, and I complain often about the great lengths I must go through just to work. Poor Mike sits right next to me, so he usually hears my grumbles directly.
However, I have recently changed my tune about Paranoid Mike and his crazy password obstacle course.
It all started with a dark web scan we ran for our domain, and guess what… I was the only one with a compromised account. Now, to be fair, it was with Canva, and they had a known security breach. Plus, I’m the only one here with a Canva account, so I feel the odds were already against me. But, lesson learned: Bad guys are bad, and we live in a world where paranoia is a requirement.
So, I decided to take a proactive approach and change all my passwords for all my accounts. Oh boy, what a chore. I started by making a list of all the accounts I could think of, and came up with 39. This seems like a lot to me, and I have a nagging feeling that I’m missing some. One by one, I logged in, reset my password and saved it to my new password management system.
I was left wondering, what is the average number of accounts owned per person? I came across a 2017 McAfee survey that says the average is 23, but this 2018 Digital Guardian infographic says one email is associated with an average of 130 online accounts! This is exactly why I would rather be lazy than vigilant. That is A LOT of time spent maintaining strong passwords.
So come clean—how strong are your passwords, and how well are they maintained?
Think about it objectively, because we can’t afford to be lazy with our passwords. The passwords are the gatekeeper to all our information.
How much do you trust your colleagues’ password policies? It only takes one breach to gain access to sensitive information such as financials, paychecks, bank accounts, social security numbers, credit cards… the list can go on. I admit, I’m beginning to sound like Paranoid Mike.
How many people in your organization have a strong password for each individual account they own? Just because your password is strong, doesn’t mean the rest of your team is maintaining their passwords. It’s definitely a team effort.
Tips from a non-tech:
- Enforce a password policy that requires a strong password that is changed frequently
- Keep work and personal accounts separate
- Teach employees how to spot phishing tactics
- Regularly communicate password best practices and safety tips as friendly reminders
It probably goes without saying, but you can always reach out to us if you need help with anything, want to sign up for our dark web monitoring service or engage in our phishing campaigns, which teach your team how to identify scams.
By the way, don’t worry about Mike and me. We get along great. And, every now and then we connect on a nerd-level that surprises even me.
Meet the Author
My career began with social media marketing and content creation, which sparked an interest in all things digital, and eventually I expanded my skill set across the digital marketing spectrum. I learned front-end website maintenance, Google analytics, Google ads, lead-capture programs, and even some e-commerce experience. I can’t wait to see what I learn next.