After hearing the recent revelations from a number of MPs that they openly share their passwords with their staff, we couldn’t help but spare a thought for the House of Commons IT support manager…

MP Nadine Dorries defended fellow MP Damian Green after his computer was used to view inappropriate content. Mr Green claimed that someone else had been using his computer, raising questions about security and who has access to MPs’ machines. Nadine Dorries tweeted:


She also tweeted:

"All my staff have my login details. A frequent shout when I manage to sit at my desk myself is, 'what is the password?'"

There should be no reason for someone to have anyone else’s password other than their own. Permissions and access can be granted to other individuals without the need for them to log in on another colleague’s account. With this in mind, here are some basic IT policies you and your team should stick to to help protect your business from data theft and incriminating activity.

Choose A Strong Password

A strong password is at the heart of any decent IT security policy, and you should encourage all members of your team to have a robust and unique password for each of their accounts. Of course it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to remember a dozen different, complex passwords, so you should consider signing your business up to a reputable password manager.

Do Not Share Your Password

We thought this one was pretty self evident, but apparently not. Sharing passwords, or allowing other users to access your account increases the chances of data theft exponentially. Accountability is more difficult to trace when multiple users are active on a single account too, as has been demonstrated by the recent issues experienced by Damian Green.

Lock Your Screen When Away From Your Desk

This prevents anyone else from jumping on your computer when you’re away from your desk. Even if you’re just nipping to the kitchen, or heading over to the other side of the office, this ensures that nobody is able to access your computer without you knowing about it.

At the BirchenallHowden offices, if someone is caught with their screen unlocked, we will quickly jump onto their email account and send an email around the office offering to buy doughnuts for everybody. Doughnutting doesn’t happen often, but it serves as a sugary reminder that anybody can access your important emails and documents if you aren’t careful.

Secure Mobile Devices

If members of your team are out and about using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and mobiles, security is an even bigger concern. For the most part you can keep track of who is present in your office, so if security is breached, you can at least narrow down what happened and why it occurred. Mobile devices are much more tricky to keep tabs on, as they may be used to connect to insecure public Wi-Fi connections, and can easily be lost or stolen if the user is not careful. We have some tips on how to manage your company’s mobile devices on our blog.

If you would like some help or advice on ensuring your business is as secure as it can be, please get in touch. We specialise in disaster recovery plans too, so if the unthinkable does happen, we can help minimise the damage to your business.