Best practices for password security is always evolving. This article provides suggestions to improve the strength of your passwords. It also introduces new types of authentication that are beginning to replace the written password.

1. For your network password, consider using a multi-word phrase that you can easily remember. The phrase should also include numbers and symbols. Avoid using a famous quote or a common phrase. It should be a unique phrase that means something to you. A nonsensical passphrase is the best, such “The ra@1n f@lls upward!”

2. Be aware that a is space is an accepted character in a password.

3. For online accounts, consider using a password generating tool. Many tools are free and can be accessed online. Generate a 20-character, random password consisting of letters, numbers and symbols. You won’t be able to memorize the generated password, so you’ll need to copy and paste. Even better, use a password management application, such as LastPass.

4. If you own a device with a fingerprint reader, that’s a great way to adopt a 20-character random password. Facial and voice recognition are also becoming available as an alternative to entering a password using characters.

5. Do not write your passwords on a piece of paper and then leave that paper in an easily accessible place. Do not share your password with colleagues.

6. Never use the same password for network access that you also use for personal email or social media sites.

7. Enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible. This is a security feature that enforces a second level of verification during the authentication process. Typically, a 6-digital number is texted to your mobile device. You must then enter the number online in addition to entering your username and password. Another option to use a password authentication app on your phone. The app displays a number that changes periodically. Instead of authenticating using a number texted to your phone, you enter the number currently being displayed in the app.

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