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Security and usability must go hand in hand

 When did you last change your password? Do you use 0000 to log in to your phone or the name of your dog as your WiFi password? Do you have the same password on Netflix as your work computer? Do you struggle to remember the code when the home security alarm goes off and the security company calls you to check what has happened? If so, I totally understand where you are coming from.

How often does it happen? You cannot access a service because you’ve forgotten the password or tried the wrong password too many times. Or you ask for a new password and then discover your computer has saved the old one. Our change password day was back on 20 January and hopefully this was a reminder to check your storeroom of passwords. Or perhaps it felt too irritating or you didn’t have the time right then.

I often experience a clash between usability and security. It is quite simply too difficult to maintain a sufficiently high level of security while at the same time, few of us have been forced to face the reality of what can happen if a password leaks out. Or you also think there is not much you do that needs to be kept confidential. And you cannot imagine that your computer could be irretrievably damaged or become inaccessible.

We really need a digital environment and structure that means it is easy to maintain the highest possible level of security so you don’t even have to think about it.

It is not enough to train users in how to manage their own data security. It is not enough to acquire digital password managers. It is not enough to come up with a solution that is only related to work.

 Our work life and home life are increasingly merging. We need practical security solutions that see the whole picture of IT usage from a user perspective. You should be able to be a secure IT user without having to worry simply about how to log in. Security will never be achieved if we fail to focus on usability as well.