Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication are no joke.

By Neal Bellamy, IT Director at Kenton Brothers

If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you know that Kenton Brothers is all about your physical security. Today, I’d like to talk a little about a different kind of security… your digital security.

Strong Passwords

Over the past decade you should have got the message to use strong passwords. (Probably too many reminders… but are you still using the same, easy to remember password for all your accounts?)

Passwords like “JackAndJill” and “123456” are fairly easy to hack with brute force methods. Also, as more and more data breaches occur, hackers gets access to lists of usernames and passwords. So even if you did come up with the “un-hackable” password and it got leaked, it’s now compromised.

Is your password on a list somewhere?

Kenton Brothers: Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor AuthenticationDid you know there is a website that can show you how many times your password has been recorded in data breaches? The website is haveibeenpwned.com. You can go there to see if your email or password has shown up on hacked lists. By the way, there is no such thing as an unhackable password. Given enough time, with enough resources, any password can be cracked. It seems pretty dire, doesn’t it? However, there are even better ways to protect yourself.

Passphrases

One way to help protect yourself is to use stronger passwords. Better yet, use passphrases. A passphrase is generally longer than a password, which makes it harder to guess, but easier for you to remember. Think of phrases that you use around your family and work-family and use those phrases as passwords.

For example, my family is pretty sarcastic. So when talking to my daughters about getting asked out on a date, my suggested response for them is “HaHaHaYouInsignificantFool”. Throw in a couple of numbers and special characters and you’ve got an easy to remember, secure password. Just remember… not only is it important to have strong passwords, but you’ve got to change them somewhat frequently.

Password Managers: A Unique Password for Every Website

Another way to protect yourself is to use a unique password for each system or website that you use. Unfortunately, this strategy is harder to implement than it seems. I probably have 100+ unique systems and websites that I would need to remember the unique password for. My brain just doesn’t have that kind of storage. That’s where password managers come into play.

A password manager can remember the passwords for you. You just have to remember the master password for the password manager software. There are lots of options out there. Just Google “password manager” to get started. Some of the most common are LastPass, Roboform and Dashlane.

Password managers can be a little cumbersome, like when I’m browsing from my phone rather than my laptop. However, for important accounts with stored credit cards or other personal information, it’s worth the minor inconvenience.

So far, we have just been talking about passwords. An inherent weakness of a password, besides a weak password, is that they’re a single “key” you need to know to gain access to an account. Even better than a strong, unique password is to pair that password with another form of authentication.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Kenton Brothers: Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor AuthenticationA lot of websites, including Facebook, Google, and Office365, allow Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Multi-Factor Authentication makes sure you are who you say you are by asking for an additional “key” in tandem with your password. MFA can be PIN texted to your phone, an app on your phone that has a PIN that changes every 30 seconds, or a notification on your phone that verifies asks you to confirm you’re trying to log into your account. MFA is easier to use, easier to set up, and more secure than a solitary password.

MFA can be required every time you log in, or only when you’re logging in from a new device. When you log into a site or service, you’re asked for your username and password, but then you’re asked for your second form of authentication. After your MFA is confirmed, you can use the site or service as normal. Since your phone is often the method that your MFA uses, a hacker would need to have your password and your phone to gain access to your account.

Next time you’re given the chance to provide your cell phone number for Multi-Factor Authentication, I recommend you do so! It’s easy to set up and easier to use than a password manager. It’s also more secure than using just a password. For a website that has personal information, but doesn’t have MFA, please make sure your password is unique and strong! This will go a long way towards avoiding the pain of identity theft or other challenging situations if someone were to get into your account.

Captain Kay Sews For Love

Captain Kay Sews for LoveBy Gina Stuelke, CEO of Kenton Brothers.

We are fortunate to have many good humans on our team. One of them is Bill Harris. Bill has been a valuable part of the KB family since 2003. Bill is married to Kay, otherwise known as Captain Kay, who is also a good human in various ways. But in today’s world, she has an extraordinary gift. She can sew!

Kay has been creating colorful masks and donating them to medical organizations and friends in need in Cass County. Recently, she has been making masks for our KB technicians who are on the front lines with our clients every day… keeping them secure.

Thank you Captain Kay for sewing your heart out to keep us safe!

#KBWay #flattenthecurve

 

 

In today’s environment, stop bacteria and microbes at the door.

BacteriaBy Gina Stuelke, CEO of Kenton Brothers.

To protect against the spread of bacteria and other dangerous microbes, it’s important to consider the role of high touch door hardware in a publicly-used building. Visitors and occupants continuously handle door levers and exit devices. Bacteria and other microbes can live on these hardware surfaces for hours, transferring from one person to another. Did you know that door hardware can be protected against the growth of many microbes?

How can Kenton Brothers help?

Kenton Brothers offers locks and hardware with antimicrobial technology that has an added layer of protection against the growth of bacteria to protect the hardware. An antimicrobial is a substance that acts to inhibit the growth of microorganisms and suppresses microorganism reproduction. This provides an added level of protection against damaging microbes such as bacteria that can cause stains, odors and product deterioration.

Why do we need antimicrobial hardware? Because it’s 99.9% cleaner than unprotected surfaces.

Bacteria can double every 20 minutes on unprotected surfaces. Antimicrobial protection works to continuously fight off microbes and protect the hardware.

The antimicrobial coating is incorporated into the finish during the manufacturing process and will not wash off or wear away. The coating lasts for the lifetime of the hardware finish.

How does it work?

When microbes come in contact with the product surface, the antimicrobial protection penetrates the cell wall of the microorganism and disrupts the cell, making the microorganism unable to grow and reproduce.

Antimicrobial protection is effective against most common bacteria that cause stains, odors and product degradation. While this technology is 99.9% cleaner than unprotected surfaces, it is not designed to protect users from disease causing microorganisms.

Consumer safety is a fundamental concern for us. Antimicrobial hardware products are approved by the US EPA and have a history of safe use in door hardware.

To learn more about antimicrobial hardware, please give us a call!

Pandemic: How the Kenton Brothers team is protecting people, property and possessions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers.

Kenton Brothers: Responding to the PandemicStrange times we live in right now. Less than three weeks ago, the biggest thing on everyone’s mind was the slow countdown to Spring Break. Now, it’s a million things centered around COVID-19 and keeping our families healthy & safe. It’s about washing hands, social distancing and toilet paper shortages. It’s about home schooling, working from home and family neighborhood walks.

Welcome to the 2020 pandemic.

The other side of this story is that there are hundreds of thousands of businesses, schools and churches sitting empty. Owners and shareholders are anxious about their future. There are also thousands of critical business and government entities that must continue operating with essential staff members.

As a designated critical community support company, Kenton Brothers Systems for Security team members are on the job fulfilling our mission to protect people, property and possessions.

Our fleet of highly skilled technicians are out in the field maintaining, servicing and installing video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection systems all over the Midwest. They are busy installing commercial video systems and commercial access control systems that allow displaced owners to monitor their buildings remotely. We are incredibly proud of this team and their professionalism. They’ve all stepped up to support our customers in a time of personal uncertainty and risk.

Chris Skinner – KB’s newly promoted Project Manager

Kenton Brothers: Responding to the PandemicChris said, “Here at Kenton Brothers, we pride ourselves on our customer service. During this time with the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing everything that we can to keep our customers protected and our employees safe. This is a challenging time for our country. It is a great honor to be a part of an industry and organization that is an essential roll to our community. As this outbreak dissipates, we will all be stronger than when it started. #spreadhope”

Our operations team continues to field calls for support and logistically keep the customer up and running.  They continue to find ways to solve problems, keep the supply chain open and deliver amazing customer service with a smile.

Taylor Peebles – KB’s Field Services Coordinator

Taylor shared, “During this time in our nation when there is a lot of panic, anxiety, stress and fear, I actually feel honored to be one of few people who are needed to keep our city going. I understand how serious this virus is. I also take pride in remaining calm… not only for myself but for those around me. Letting our customers and colleagues know that we’re still here fighting the good fight and protecting those around us can really ease some of the anxiety we as a community are feeling. Fear is contagious. It feels good knowing that I am not spreading fear… but hope.”

Mollie Porter, KB’s Project Administrator

Mollie said, “I feel extremely privileged and blessed to be able to continue working during this time. I know that not everyone is in a position to be able to do this, much less in a career field that their company is essential and is continuing business. This is tough time for everyone and it definitely puts things into perspective, seeing so many companies temporarily shut down.”

From our amazing technicians to our knowledgeable security consultants, from our dedicated operations team to our leadership team, we love our community and protecting people, property and possessions. Stay safe and healthy in the weeks and months to come!

Medical Marijuana in Missouri is a Reality. Who’s In, Who’s Out – And What is Next?

By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers.

Medical Marijuana in Missouri. Who’s in and Who’s out? This was the big question discussed at the heavily-attended Missouri Cannabis Trade Association Commencement and Compliance forum in January held in Kansas City. One question was heard more often than not… Did you get your license? The majority of respondents answered no.

There were well over a hundred in attendance including the Director of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Lyndall Fraker. Mr. Fraker did a great job answering the multiple questions from successful licensees and unsuccessful applicants. The scoring of the applicants and their ranking was of great concern to those that did not make the cut.

Medical Marijuana in Missouri

Andrew Mullins, the Director of the Missouri Cannabis Trade Association focused his questions on a specific scoring logic of the now infamous question #47. “What is your marketing plan, including to whom, method of delivery, and costs?” 67% of all respondents scored a 0 out of 10. There was a lot of concern voiced by those that may have missed the cut by a few points and received a zero on this question. Mr. Fraker agreed that it would be looked into.

Two days later Andrew Mullins and the MOCANN trade association sent a formal request to Mr. Fraker for an inquiry.

Medical Marijuana in Missouri

Prior to the discussion…

Just before this discussion, Kenton Brothers had the opportunity the opportunity to introduce our services to the organization and discuss at length the next steps for those lucky enough to receive their license. As licensees begin the process of moving into their physical space, the reality of the work load ahead of them is setting in.

From grow sites, to manufacturing, to dispensary locations all over Missouri… it’s a race to be first to open.

MOCANNTRADE LogoOne of the reality checks that many are going through is implementing their security plan as written in their application.

There is some sticker shock going on as applicants get updated quotes from their security consultants after the license award. We heard from one licensee this week relating that their security budget quote came in twice as high as their pre-application estimate, from the same firm.

This is where Kenton Brothers Systems for Security can help.

Kenton Brothers is a fourth generation  123 year old company that has sustained its relationships with its customers for generations. We treat people fairly and help support their needs in an ethical way. We call it the KB way.

Your price won’t change just because you received a license. Our mission is to Protect People, Property and Possessions and create lifelong relationships. So if you are looking for a partner to work with that is an expert in Commercial Video Surveillance, Access Control, Intrusion detection and compliance with MO DHSS state regulations… Kenton Brothers would be honored to help.

Please give us a call to start that conversation.