IT teams often shoulder a number of important security-related responsibilities. It’s essentially up to them to ensure organizations’ networks are secure. For most organizations, comprehensive password management plays a vital role in securing their networks.
IT admins have to give password operations special consideration, as end-users are directly involved and very few pay any mind to security. Since all it takes is one loophole to compromise an entire network, IT admins have to keep all passwords and password operations on their radar. In this blog, we’ll discuss the three most critical password management mistakes that hackers are most likely to exploit.
1. Setting weak passwords
When users have the freedom to set their own passwords, they often go for the easiest passwords they can remember and may not pay attention to the security risk involved. One way to mitigate this risk is to give admins full control of setting and managing passwords for all users in the organization. However, this requires far more time and effort than most IT teams have to spare, and most organizations would rather focus their expertise elsewhere.
The solution: Enforcing strong password policies or providing users with auto-generated passwords that comply with the password policies.
2. Keeping a record of current passwords
Strong password policies go a long way in securing networks, but they don’t guarantee passwords are safe; even strong passwords can be guessed. On top of this, many users either don’t understand the security risks or simply don’t care about them, so it’s not uncommon to find employees keeping records of current passwords. Some even tape these records to their desktops for easy access, both for themselves and potential malicious actors.
The solution: Implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) at the Windows logon screen can help verify users’ identities and prevent hackers from gaining access to user accounts after correctly guessing a password.
3. Failing to reset passwords before they expire
Users often don’t know when their passwords are going to expire, and it falls on admins to keep them notified. Microsoft’s default method of using frequent, generic popups to notify users about their soon to expire password annoys many users, prompting them to close the popup before reading the message. Since there’s always the possibility that user passwords may have leaked somewhere or there might be a hidden brute force attack being carried out in the background, it’s important that users change their passwords periodically.
The solution: Sending users multiple customized notifications via email or SMS to remind them about their soon to expire passwords/accounts.
So how do you implement these best practices to help secure your network? Join our webinar, How a comprehensive password management tool can help you prevent password breaches, and learn how the right password management tool can help you thwart password attacks.