Passwords and Password Policies... A Love/Hate Relationship

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Aug 16, 2016

The Importance of Password Policies

Today’s technology gives us access to more information than the world has ever seen before! Any question that pops into our head can be answered in seconds with a quick search online. We keep massive parts of our lives on electronic devices that we carry along with us all time. We no longer buy stamps because we do all of our banking online. All of this freedom and accessibility must be tempered with security and protection. So while we love the technological freedom we have, we hate keeping up with the password requirements and password policies that are enforced. However, we must remember that safety is a joint mission between the user and the Service Desk.

The Service Desk will function according to policies set at the organization to protect the user's information. These policies should include items like the following:

  • Passwords should:
    • Be complex, including letters, numbers and special characters
    • Not be a word found in the dictionary
    • Expire frequently (maximum of 90 days without expiration)
    • Disallow repeated passwords
    • Not be written down on a note stuck to your computer screen
  • User accounts should:
    • Be disabled or removed immediately when a user leaves the company
    • Be disabled or removed when their use is no longer necessary, such as contractor or temporary project
    • Be appropriate for the work role, not offering additional access beyond what the user really needs to do their work

Understanding password best practices and following them are two different things. With all the passwords we are all expected to remember both in our personal and professional lives, how can we follow all the rules, and still have unique passwords for every application or site we log into? Some common options are to use a passphrase made up of multiple words, rather than one single word. Additionally, a passphrase could be shortened so only the first letter of each word of the phrase is used in the password.

There are many ways to prevent using the same, insecure password over and over again. Just take a little time to develop the plan that will work best for you and then go get those passwords changed! Don’t wait another day!

Category: Technology

About The Author

Hollie Braid

Hollie Braid, Director of Service Delivery, is responsible for unified, strategic leadership in service areas, including service activation, preventative maintenance, user support, training and quality. Prior to joining Collabrance in 2009, Hollie started at GreatAmerica in 2006. Before working at GreatAmerica, Hollie worked in IT for Verizon. Hollie joined GreatAmerica as a member of the Service Desk. In 2007, she became the support behind the GreatAmerica FleetView product. Hollie was part of the team that launched Collabrance, and in 2011 she became the Service Team Leader. Hollie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix.