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Tech Tip: Tamper Proofing Passwords for Child Care Centers

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Data security is another challenge that childcare center managers face

Are you surprised? Another week, another round of high profile password hacks followed by new articles saying this is a “wake up call” This one was on the satirical news site “The Onion” so we hope that there was little harm done by the attack.

You might be amused by this, but I think there is a lesson for child care managers in the mistakes of these companies. “After all”, one could think, “we are a child care center not a national organization.” But I think child care organizations, not matter how small, need to use good practices when securing sensitive information systems. Especially when they contain precious vital information.

Also, we have been blogging a series about moving your Childcare Management Software applications to the cloud, and putting personal information for you preschool needs to be accompanied by good security practices.

Here are our tips for making better passwords and securing your Childcare center:

Easy to remember and hard to guess – You guessed it: “itsasecret” no “123456” or “elephant“, are easy to guess. Actually, research shows that common combinations like busybeesknees are very difficult to guess but easy to remember.

DRY (Don’t repeat yourself) Passwords – Use a different password on each site instead of the same one over and over again. To remSee password keepers below.

Never give your password to someone or any website who contacts you first – This is how the hack on The Onion started. Someone sent an irresistable link to a staff member there and they clicked on it and entered their Gmail credentials. Only give out your password, social security number, child care center key number when you initiate the action. In other words you made the first contact, not vice versa. Don’t click on links from emails and then enter your password. Type the web address yourself or

Use a different Password for each Site – Ever wonder why you get an email from everyone in a Facebook friends address book? This is often because the hackers attack a weaker site and then try that password on other more secure sites with the same public email address. And it’s no surprise it works. If you have a lot of passwords to remember, see the next tip.

Use Acronyms – This could be derived a phrase that only you would remember. Something like: “I ate a whole jar of Nutella in one day” could be i8@wjoni1d (Please don’t ask …)

Undeniably, childcare management and administrators wear a lot of hats and that includes computer software security.

Use a password keeper – My favorites are LastPass and KeePass for Windows. You can even have them create passwords for you and then copy paste them into the windows. A side benefit: if you cannot remember your Facebook password this will slow you down as well as hackers.


Use 2-factor authentication – Say what? This is becoming more common so you might see more websites enable it. Twitter and Google now use it. It basically requires a person to have two pieces of “identifcation” to reset a password. Like your mobile phone and your password. That makes it hard to replicate “you”.

Undeniably, childcare management and administrators wear a lot of hats and that includes computer software security.

Additional Sources:
Google’s Tips
Microsoft Password Checker

Please enter your email password in the comments below (I will not approve your password in the comments! It was just a test to see if you were paying attention. :o) )

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Jeff is the Director of Marketing and Co-founder of BumbleBee Childcare Software. He lives in Cambridge, MA, in the United States. You can hear more from Jeff on Twitter and Google +.
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