Access Approvals – Password Expiry

Prevent password expiry unnecessarily affecting employee productivity

Information security is an essential part of modern business operations. Or, more specifically, the right security practices are important in protecting business operations and information assets while ensuring that they don’t unduly impact the ability of employees to do the work they need to do. Achieving this is often a balancing act between risk management and usability.

A good example of this is system-access passwords and the mandate to change them regularly, perhaps as frequently as monthly. In an ideal world, employees will proactively change their passwords – especially when reminded to do so – rather than unfortunately needing to do so once a password has already expired.

The issues with email reliance in access management

Automated password reset capabilities help reduce the IT support burden of proactive password changes and expired-password processing – where a significant proportion of the workforce would otherwise all contact the IT service desk on the first Monday of the month, say. However, even when password-reset automation is in place, if the reset reminders are ineffective – for example, when IT emails reminders to end-users, the resultant expiration of passwords can cause significant levels of employee lost productivity each month.

When there’s no password-reset automation in place, the impact of ineffective access management practices causes both end-user productivity issues and unwanted IT work.

The problem

A multi-national healthcare provider struggled to handle the additional IT workload and the adverse business impact of monthly password expiry issues in the absence of password reset automation.

It realised that, in order to address both of these issues, and their adverse impact, it needed a more effective way to manage password resets – starting with the communication of forthcoming password change dates to employees. Before they adopted Heed, the organisation’s employees were missing password-reset communications due to the high volume of emails they received daily.

The company requires employees to change their passwords every month, and IT would previously send email reminders ten days before password expiry. However, these emails often weren’t seen or were “forgotten about”, leading to password expiry and the employees being “locked out”. Resulting in time-consuming calls to the IT service desk to reset the account and employee lost productivity.

The company now uses Heed to alert all employees when their passwords need to be changed. For each employee, updated notifications will continue to appear as the password-change deadline approaches until their password is changed. These notifications are colour coded according to urgency, and passwords can be changed quickly and easily by following the links in the notification.

The company has realised annual savings of $670,000 and saved employees a total of 1500 days each month in password-related downtime. Password related calls to the help desk reduced by 90%.

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