Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you’re well aware of the Heartbleed virus and that over 60% of websites were affected by this virus.

I like to think of myself as an optimist and would like to explore this issue from a totally different perspective: the positive side. Yes, there is one!

These positive thoughts started to come to me as I was reviewing which passwords I needed to reset – for both myself and my clients. I probably had to update about 30 different personal accounts for everything from Gmail to Instagram, Netflix and MailChimp.

As I painstakingly updated each of these accounts, I started to wonder, was this a wake-up call for me? How can I learn from this experience?

How Heartbleed is a Blessing in Disguise

The more I thought about it, the more positive things I was able to find. Here are the 5 big ones:

1. Cleaning House

Many people were forced to take an inventory of all of their different usernames and passwords, and how many redundant ones they may have. Is it necessary to have three Gmail accounts, or a Constant Contact and a Mailchimp account?

2. “Password” Isn’t a Password

When you started to reset all of your passwords, did you notice a pattern? Like all of the passwords being the same or easily guessed, like p@ssword or pass123? Don’t do that! Test your new password here with the Password Meter or use this tool to generate random passwords.

3. Restarting the Clock

Security professionals recommend you update your passwords every 90 days. Just like flossing your teeth, it’s a good habit that most people don’t practice. But they should! Now that everything has been updated at the same time, at least you know your reset date, and have a chance to start fresh.

4. Simplify

As most of your passwords are changing anyway, now’s your chance to standardize and streamline. Make sure your address and billing information are updated with each provider and that there’s one standard email address for your accounts.

5. One Tool To Rule Them All

Hopefully something of this magnitude will never happen again (that’s my inner optimist talking). But there could also be other reasons you needed to know the details for all of the accounts you have. For example, what if you leave your current job and need to pass on the accounts to someone else?

Maybe there is a better way to keep track of all of these accounts in one centralized place. Tools like a CRM (customer relationship management) system make it easy to keep track of everything.

The Hidden Chocolate Goodness

As an internet service provider, Heartbleed meant a huge challenge for us and for our clients. While we can’t change the past, we can learn from this experience and find ways to be stronger in the future. Personally, I feel I am more organized and will be able to deal with situations like this much more quickly next time.

Have you changed your approach since Heartbleed? Let us know in the comments below.

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