Have you ever asked a stranger how many passwords he or she has?

I have. (It’s an occupational hazard.)

I’ll start by saying that I don’t harass strangers in shopping malls. But, when I’m at a conference or trade event, or at a party, and I find myself talking with someone I’ve never met, the talk often turns to security and passwords – and then I pounce!

The great majority of answers fall into the following categories:


I don’t know.

And the #1 answer:


Almost no one says “none of your business!” (Hurray for informal surveys!)

Too many” suggests that the person is overwhelmed.  This is entirely understandable in today’s world where, just about everything we do requires an online password.

Depending on the body language, “I don’t know” usually means they just don’t care. Because passwords are so prevalent, they have lost their significance for these folks.

Neither of the first two answers suggests a healthy approach to security, but it’s the “10-15” response that is thought provoking because it is so specific, and it is such a popular answer. The response isn’t usually just blurted out without any thought: I can see the little cogs and sprockets turning inside their heads as they try to put a number on it. They are counting up the little cubbies in their brain where passwords are stored.

These folks think that arriving at an answer of 10-15 is great, because 10-15 of just about anything is pretty manageable. Even a stampede of 10-15 elephants doesn’t sound too dangerous.

And that’s the problem: 10-15 seems so reasonable.

Because the number they have in their heads sounds manageable, most people think they’re in control. And because they think they’re in control, they often don’t give the matter the attention it deserves, and that easily leads to choosing the wrong approach.

But, is 10-15 password accounts really realistic for most of us today?

Consider everything you do online:

email (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo… do you really have only one email address?),

banking (savings, credit cards, PayPal, mortgage, investment accounts…),

online shopping (Amazon, e-bay, Angie’s List…),

utilities (gas and electric, cable, cell phone …)

online entertainment and streaming (Netflix, Hulu…),

social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram…),

online magazines, newspapers and blogs,

self improvement (Lynda…),

kids’ school accounts and local services like the library,

security (online backup, VPN…),

not to mention the myriad interests that can be satisfied on the internet.

After finishing the exercise (a little exhausted, but satisfied!), most people are invariably surprised to find out that they’ve underestimated by 50%, or more. They typically have 20-30 accounts, and usually more than that.

Interestingly, the number of passwords people think they have doesn’t seem to influence the answer to the next obvious question: “how do you deal with them?” Most of the time, they give me an embarrassed grin and, pointing to their head, say some variation of “in my mind!” (Cue Eddie Izzard going on about his self-delusions.)

And then I hear the story of how they remember all their passwords (a strong sign that their passwords aren’t all that strong), or that they use a single super duper strong password for all their sites (considered by security experts to be even worse than having a less strong but unique password for each site), or a couple of passwords spread over ‘important’ accounts and ‘unimportant’ accounts (a dangerous combination of the two). Unsurprisingly, these approaches involve generous application of the ‘resend password’ feature available on most sites.

Very few people say that they use a password manager product.

Password security involves strong, unique passwords, and being able to connect them to their correct accounts. For most people, remembering random strings of characters and tying them to their respective accounts doesn’t come naturally. In addition, without frequent repetition, we tend to forget stuff, anyway. Add to that the fact that requirements for the random passwords vary website to website, and that the websites periodically demand that the strings must be changed. (It’s enough to make you say “TOOOO Many!”)

These are precisely the things that a password manager gives you. Plus secure storage that is accessible on all your devices. Regardless of how many login accounts you have, a password manager is the best way to have a strong, unique password for each account – and it remembers it for you!

Hi! I don’t believe we’ve met. How many passwords do you have?

About Sticky Password:

Sticky Password, founded in 2001, is a utility software that creates and organizes passwords to simplify a user’s online life without compromising security. Sticky Password provides automatic login, one-click form filling and storage for personal data. It brings “set and forget” password management technology to the world. Security leaders like Kaspersky Lab, among others, have selected Sticky Password to power elements of their own product solutions. Sticky Password is available at stickypassword.com and at major retailers including Office Depot, Office Max, Fry’s and MicroCenter.

Guest Blogger.

Following Trends:  WISE Columbia LeadHERship Meetup: Securing the Future for Women in IT

Sponsored by Google Women Techmakers other Google logos


Moderator Joyce Vonada, CIO and Managing Director, EDENS


Mimi Shaw, Senior Application Sales Executive,  AT&T’S Advanced Enterprise Solutions

Csilla Farkas, USC Associate Professor, with focus on cybersecurity and recipient of National Science Foundation Career Award

MAJ Barbara Mesaros, Director of Intelligence, South Carolina National Guard

Donna Teuber, Director of Technology Integration and Innovation in Richland School District II, Google for Education Certified Innovator, and Google for Education Certified TrainerWISE

IT-oLogy is a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2015. IT-oLogy will be joining a growing global effort among colleges and universities, businesses, government agencies, associations, nonprofit organizations and individuals to promote online safety awareness.

Celebrated every October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure everyone has the resources needed to stay safer and more secure online. As an official Champion, IT-oLogy recognizes its commitment to cybersecurity and online safety.

“We are proud to be a part of this effort, said Lonnie Emard, president of IT-oLogy. “IT-oLogy will provide programming and awareness messages during the month of October.  Our fall conference, Trends, will focus on cyber security for business as well as individuals, Cyber security is among our top priorities for our citizens and businesses.”

Coordinated and led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Department of Homeland Security, NCSAM has grown exponentially since its inception, reaching consumers, small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, educational institutions and young people across the nation and internationally. This year marks the 12th year of NCSAM.

“The Champion Program is a vital part of making National Cyber Security Awareness Month a success each year,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “We are thankful to our 2015 Champion organizations for their support and commitment to our shared responsibility of promoting cyber security and online safety awareness.”

For more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the NCSAM Champions program, and how to participate in NCSAM activities, visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam. You can also follow and use the hashtag #cyberaware on Twitter throughout the month.

Considering the title phrase, A Sense of Security, can tend to make someone uneasy just thinking about it.  In our cyber world today, every person and business is potentially vulnerable to some sort of cyber threat.  Knowing more about this topic, the issues, the techniques and the personal responsibility involved is part of acquiring a sense of security.  I recall a phrase by Will Rogers that went something like this:

“It is not only what we don’t know that leads to problems, but more so, what we know that ain’t so.”

On October 28, IT-oLogy will host the annual TRENDS conference that brings key leaders and executives together to network, build intellectual capacity and to discuss emerging trends in technology.

Cybersecurity:  Securing Your World in the Digital Age will feature  sessions  designed for everyone from business leaders, to technical staff, to government and most importantly students and citizens in general.  The goal of the day is to accurately inform, create awareness and share techniques that we can all benefit from at every level from novice to expert.

Following the IT-oLogy mission of addressing topics like this – from an awareness and skills point of view – we will highlight great educational programs from K-12 through higher education, hear from experts on a national, state and local level and provide powerful insights for each audience participant so that everyone walks away with more information to use in the this cyber world.

IT-oLogy is a non profit collaboration of businesses, academic institutions and organizations dedicated to growing the IT talent pipeline, fostering economic development and advancing the IT profession.  For more information, visit www.it-ology.org

Lonnie Emard, President, IT-oLogy



IT-oLogy to host annual Trends conference Wednesday, October 28


For a full agenda or to register, go to https://it-ologytrends2015.eventbrite.com


Technology is driving business at an unprecedented speed. But, on an almost daily basis, cyber security breaches or hacks are taking place throughout the world.  So, how do you protect your business, your family, your self? IT-oLogy’s Trends 2015 will explore the important topic of cybersecurity. Presentations will range from trending topics, to new technologies, to demonstrations showing real-time hacks and what you can do to prevent them.  The conference will be held at IT-oLogy, 1301 Gervais Street in Columbia on Wednesday, October 28th.


•                Creating a Culture of Cyber Security Michael Kaiser, National Cyber Security Alliance

•                South Carolina’s Cyber Landscape and Opportunities Lester Eisner, Major General (USA Retired),   University of South Carolina

•                Lessons Learned from Ashley Madison Jim Salter, Openoid

•                But I Thought It Disappeared! SLED Forensics

•                How to Make Your Home and Family Cyber Safe, Michael Kaiser, NCSA

•                The New Rules of Credit Card Fraud, Bruce Smalley, SLED

•                Passwords in the Internet Age Jim Salter, Openoid

•                So You’ve Been Hacked   Juliana Harris, South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs

•                Are You and Your Staff a Target? How Hackers Use Social Engineering to Target You and Your              Organization Greg Meetze, SLED

•                A Legal Primer on Cyber Breach Jarrett Coco Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

•                Low Cost Tools for Security Challenges Timothy De Block

•                Application Security Bruce Jenkins, HP

•                Simple Hacking Techniques Anyone Can Use Mark Baggett, SANS Institute

•                Open Security – How Open Source Dominates InfoSec Chad Cravens, Open Source Systems


Trends 2015 brings key leaders and executives together to network, build intellectual capacity and to discuss emerging trends in technology. This is the fifth year the conference has been presented.


Collaborators include the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce, SCITDA and the University of South Carolina.

Wednesday, October 28

IT-oLogy, 1301 Gervais St., Columbia, SC

A massive digital transformation is taking place in society and the pace is only accelerating.  Industries, as well as organizations and individuals, are being impacted in ways never imagined.  What are examples of this transformation?  How is it having an impact?  Why is it important?

This year’s Trends conference will focus on the overall digital transformation taking place in society and the associated security issues that come along with it.

To register: https://it-ologytrends2015.eventbrite.com

IT-oLogy has worked closely with the National Center of Women and IT (NCWIT) for many years. One of the many successful NCWIT programs is Aspirations in Computing Awards (AiC) AiC is a recognition program for high school girls at both national and local levels. The Charlotte WISE program is excited to lead the local NC AiC for the sixth consecutive year. Last year more than 2800 high school women from across the nation applied for the award. Two of the 35 national winners were from North Carolina and eighteen more NC women were recognized at the local level celebration.

The NCWIT AiC Award honors high school women who are active and interested in computing and technology, and encourages them to pursue their passions. This multi-tiered competition includes recognition at the national level (sponsored by Bank of America) and at the local level (sponsored by Microsoft). Applications for the 2016 Award for Aspirations in Computing are open from September 1 to October 26, 2015 (8:00 p.m. EDT).

Share the information and encourage high school women to apply. It is a wonderful opportunity that provides a life long network of support. Find out more at www.aspirations.org/participate/high-school.

IT-oLogy is pleased to announce that the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing has opened for applications from high school-aged girls. The Aspirations Award was created to encourage the computing aspirations of young women, introduce them to leadership opportunities in the field, and generate visibility for women’s participation in technology fields.

Winners are acknowledged for their outstanding aptitude and interest in technology and computing, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. Students can find more information and register at https://www.aspirations.org/user/register.

The application period begins September 1, 2015 and will close November 9, 2015 at 11:59 pm.

Although women represent more than half the professional workforce and earn more than half of all undergraduate degrees, they hold just 25% of all computing occupations and earn only 18% of undergraduate computing degrees. This Award, part of the Aspirations in Computing Talent Pipeline Program, closes the gender gap in technology by identifying young women with computing aspirations and achievements and encouraging them to pursue technical careers. The Aspirations in Computing Program provides young women with prizes from national and local sponsors, recognition in their communities, opportunities for scholarships and internships, and access to a community of like-minded, up-and-coming technical women.

The Aspirations in Computing Awards South Carolina affiliates are IT-oLogy, Winthrop University and Columbia College.

Planning for the 2016 BDA is well underway. More than 60 volunteers are engaged in marketing, the program, awards and nominations, judging and sponsorships. The celebration will take place the evening of March 1st at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The BDA recognizes IT innovation in the Charlotte region, builds community around technology and positions the community to better engage and students for IT careers.

Nominations open in late September. The nine celebrated awards are: 1) Human Capital 2) Community Outreach 3) Student Innovator 4) Cool Innovation 5) IT Entrepreneur 6) Business Value – Corporate 7) Business Value – Small 8) Business Value – Medium and 9) Business Value – Non-profit.

To volunteer or for more information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

IT-oLogy Charlotte has all types of volunteer opportunities for professionals, community advocates, college students and retirees to engage with middle and high school students. In-school opportunities offer you the option to lead a session or series of sessions, speak to a class or at an assembly, spend 20 minutes with a student, serve as an e-mentor and more. Just a few minutes of your time goes a long way!

The monthly Cyber Saturday sessions for Middle School and High School students offer you volunteer opportunities from registering/ welcoming students to leading a session, helping in the sessions. We encourage you to share your passion for technology and your professional experiences with the students. Your excitement is contagious and we need your help in creating awareness around the many exciting careers in IT across all industries.

The next step is to contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.