You’ve got one for every site and every application you use--e-mail, online banking, social media sites, and your CRM system, just to name a few. With so many password protected sites to keep track of, the inclination is to always use the same password for every site or to make it so easy you can’t possibly forget it (like using Password123). Unfortunately, this compromises all of your data and makes it easy for cyber-attackers to steal sensitive, confidential information.

Studies have shown that password security is still the weakest link in keeping data safe. There are some simple things you can remember when creating a password that can help protect your information.

Here are 7 tips to consider:

  1. Use special characters and numbers.
  2. Mix up upper case and lower case letters.
  3. Make sure your password is a minimum of 10 characters.
  4. Be sure it’s not something that can be guessed easily (zip code, phone number, birthdate, your name).
  5. Randomly replace letters with numbers, e.g. shake becomes $h@ke.
  6. Pick a sentence or phrase, and reduce it to first letters of each word only, e.g. “A Golden Key Can Open Any Door” becomes AGKCOAD.
  7. Reverse the spelling of a word, e.g. partnership becomes pihsrentrap.

Not all cyber-attacks can be avoided, but don’t make it too easy for them. Be proactive and update all of your passwords so they meet the above criteria.