3 Steps to Simplify Password Security for Your End Users
When it comes to password security for your clients, it may feel like a constant balancing act. Of course, you want each and every user to follow best practices (creating strong passwords, changing them on a regular basis, etc.) and protect their best interests and those of the business, but password policy and processes have to be practical, too. After all, any given employee may have upwards of 10 applications (and sometimes a lot more than that) that they have to sign into each day. Asking them to diligently create and reset each on a set schedule is likely going to result in failure…and irritated end users.
It’s your job as an IT provider to offer your clients a password security solution that is both effective and easy to implement and maintain. A smart password security solution provides your clients with an easy-to-follow plan that protects their reputation and data. It also makes your life easier, with appreciative clients and less password-related questions directed your way.
Here’s how to get started: Just start an Excel worksheet for each and every user and each and every application they use—Just kidding; that’s about the worst thing you can do.
Actually, with the password security tools available today, it’s never been easier to manage password security for businesses, regardless of their industry or size. Here are three steps to simplify password security for your end users:
1. Use password management software
If you’re in charge of password security for a business of any sort, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be using and providing password management software. The most annoying issues in password security (like choosing complex, creative passwords and their expiration dates) are virtually eliminated, as password generation, resets, and more are automated to meet the needs and policies of your client. Administrators can also easily see which users have access to which passwords, which passwords are expiring soon, and other critical information, with just a few clicks.
2. Introduce your clients to cost-effective multi factor authentication
Multi factor authentication (MFA) requires users to enter two or more security “factors” before they are granted access to an application. Most commonly, the two factors used in MFA are knowledge (a password or PIN) and possession (a one-time access code generated on a device you have). The popularity of smart phones has made MFA much easier to use in businesses, because nearly all employees can now use a mobile app to generate their one-time access code. MFA is quickly becoming standard in offices and workplaces because of the enhanced security it offers. Even if a password is compromised, a security attack from an outsider is nearly impossible—the attacker may be able to enter the knowledge factor, but won’t be able to enter the needed one-time code for the required possession factor. Using password management software with multi factor authentication capabilities is essential for following password management best practices.
3. Consider a single sign-on solution
Single sign-on is in some ways the crème de la crème of password security. Single sign-on (SSO) offers the promise of a life without password reset requests, frustrated users, or haphazard security policies. With good SSO software, users first validate with MFA. Once their credentials have been accepted, they are signed into their SSO portal and from there can access all of their needed applications without having to enter passwords or other credentials for a period of time specified by the administrator. Users love it because they don’t have to log in a billion times a day to different applications, managers love it because it means their employees are wasting less time on passwords and sign-ins, and you’ll love it because it’s so easy and secure.
The best password management software vendors will offer solutions that incorporate best practices, multi factor authentication, and especially single sign on.