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Wyoming Business Tips for July 3-9


June 27, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Debbie Gorski, Wyoming Entrepreneur social media community manager

"I have trouble remembering passwords and use the same password for all of my online accounts. I know this isn't good, but what else can I do?" Tammi, Newcastle

Using the same password for all online accounts is not a good or safe practice. If somebody figures out your username and password on one site, they can access all others as well.

Another thing to remember: Do not use names or numbers that a hacker can guess or can easily find the information (i.e. your children's names, pet names, addresses, birthdates, etc). Do not make it easy for someone to access all your "secure" online sites.

What are you doing now? Do you remember all those passwords and do you keep a little book with all the information written down? This also is not a great idea. You can lose your book or leave it where someone can peek and copy the information. Maybe you have a file on the computer hard drive where hours were spent constructing a table listing each account and the respective username and password. Not a good idea either, especially if the computer is shared at work, at home or if it is stolen.

I would encourage using password management software.  A few popular sites include Roboform, 1Password and KeePass. The software when downloaded is stored on the computer or on a USB and in some cases a server. You can either purchase software or try free software.

Basically, what these services provide are encrypted database templates to safely store information. Other common features include password generators and automatic log-in to your account URLs. You only need to remember one master password, but make sure it is a really strong password. Check out this article from Microsoft on creating strong passwords: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Tips-for-creating-a-strong-password.

Don't know where to start? Ask friends what they are using or check reviews. I usually Google keywords and go from there. In this case, I Googled "password management reviews."  I also checked recommendations from sites I trust such as Mashable.com. If you currently are using a password management tool, share your experience.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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