Despite the rising popularity of other authentication methods, passwords remain an integral part of most businesses' day-to-day operations. A number of measures remain in place to keep passwords secure: stipulations for password length and composition, mandatory periodic resets, and of course, restrictions against sharing them. But while employees are normally asked never to share passwords, the need will inevitably arise for staff to share their passwords with colleagues to enable ease of access to work-related applications. Members of a team could, for example, share a communal account on certain platforms or shared resources.
Establishing safe and sustainable methods to share passwords is therefore another important consideration for businesses. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.
How not to share passwords
The first thing to address is that passwords are often shared through a variety of potentially risky methods. These include low-tech, low-effort methods such as writing them down on sticky notes, which run the risk of falling into the wrong hands. Passwords can provide malicious parties access to a tremendous amount of data and resources, and this can seriously impact a business’s reputation or finances. In fact, password-related attacks account for almost 80% of successful cyberattacks.
This risk extends to passwords shared on unencrypted or unsecured online messaging platforms like Slack or Teams, and email platforms. Such channels are open to interception by cybercriminals and can open the network up to damaging cyberattacks. Meanwhile, email platforms often come with the risk of phishing attacks, in which legitimate password holders are duped into sharing their passwords voluntarily with malicious parties. There’s also a risk of users accidentally sharing passwords with the wrong recipient.
To make matters worse, sharing passwords over unsecured channels makes it difficult for administrators to track and manage who has access to login credentials. This means if a breach does occur, administrators will find it challenging to trace the source of the vulnerability. Ultimately, password sharing solutions that give transparency and visibility to administrators are needed for proper governance.
Why you should utilize enterprise password management
A problem with such serious consequences requires a dedicated solution. Enterprise password management solutions such as Keeper, Dashlane, and LastPass fulfill that exact purpose. Not only do these solutions make password sharing secure, but they also make it easy and fast, bypassing the need for time-consuming manual processes.
Administrators are also able to specify which members of an organization gain access to passwords, whether at the individual level or at the team level. For instance, they can automatically grant new members of the team access to the passwords necessary for their work. They also gain visibility into which team members access which passwords and when, making identifying breaches easier. With this control comes the ability to stop passwords from being leaked out of the organization, and even to control the level of access within it. Some team members, for example, may not even be allowed to see the passwords themselves, simply being able to call on them to gain access at the point of authentication.
These solutions also have capabilities that extend beyond sharing passwords within a preselected community. Password generation can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and open to human error. These solutions not only enable users to automatically generate secure passwords for their various accounts, but these passwords are stored in an encrypted digital vault that can be accessed by users with the appropriate credentials.
Password management may seem like an innocuous issue, but ensuring good practice can make a world of difference for your organization. Call us now to find a password management solution that works for you.