Certified Legal Nurse Consultants practice in a world of passwords. You use them to access your computer, the NACLNC® Community, your email, research and shopping sites, and just about every worthwhile place you go on the World Wide Web. There are three common mistakes people make with passwords. The first is that they use the same password for just about everything. The second compounds the first – they use simple passwords instead of good, safe “hardened” passwords. The final mistake is that they don’t change their passwords on a regular (or even irregular) basis.
Simple passwords used by most people include names of pets, children or significant others, wedding dates and even words spelled backwards. Computer experts recommend hardened passwords which consist of at least 8 characters, include upper and lower case alphanumeric characters and special characters such as #, $ or +, and that you change your passwords at least every sixty days.
People often complain to me about the difficulty of remembering a hardened password. To them I say “tough.” I also recommend that if they can’t remember something like “iD1oTenT!” or “6Yh$3tZz” they might instead try using a password phrase such as “Vickie_Drives_A_Passat.”
Something else that many legal nurse consultants don’t consider is that at some point we’re all going to shuffle off this mortal coil and pass into the great Permanent CLNC® Retirement Home in the Sky. Soon after, your survivors or executor will need to figure out how to close down your various banking and other accounts, not to mention putting up your final Facebook status update “I’m currently dead” and out-of-office email auto-responder “I passed away on May 9, 2011 and do not expect to return to the office or respond to any further email.”
If you wish to make this process as easy as possible for those who come behind you, I recommend that you write down a list of the usernames and passwords to any and all of your legal nurse consulting business’ (or personal) email accounts, Internet banking, auction, PayPal or other accounts (such as voicemail). This is especially important if they have a credit card or other personal information on file. Store this list in a safe place and remember to update the list when you change passwords.
There are programs and websites that will store your passwords for you, making them instantly available to your web browser. If you don’t wish to trust a third party, many of today’s web browsers such as FireFox and IE8 store logins and passwords. Just remember stored passwords can be accessible to anyone who can get on your computer and open your browser. Is there an easy solution? Not really. At the end of your day, someone will need to get on your computer and find and close all your accounts; make it easy on them (not that they deserve it).
As a final aside, always treat your computer as if you might pass away at any time. You may be beyond being embarrassed (unless you recover from the coma), but imagine how your family would feel (or the sport your fellow employees will have if it’s a company computer).
Keep on techin’,