Specops Password Security

Passwords play a critical role in most organizations’ security. But they can also represent a significant expense. From the countless hours your service desk spends resetting passwords and unlocking accounts, to the massive cost of security incidents or data breaches, passwords cost you money.

While getting rid of passwords completely isn’t a realistic option for most organizations, there are things you can do to make them more secure and cost-effective.

We’ll explore the hidden costs of managing passwords and discuss the steps you can take to maximize their security while mitigating costs.

Hidden costs of password management

From the potential for lost productivity to the tangible costs associated with help desk staff, password management tasks often incur substantial costs.

Productivity losses: Password problems — including forgotten passwords, password expirations, and password resets — can dent productivity, costing organizations valuable time and money. Bloomberg reports that employees spend an average of 11 hours every year remembering or resetting passwords.

And Statista estimates that organizations lose an average of $480.26 per employee due to password-related productivity problems.

Help desk and support costs: Password issues increase the volume of help desk queries. Research from Gartner estimates that 20-50% of all help desk calls are for password resets, and Forrester estimates that each cost about $70.

In an organization with many employees, it’s easy to see how these could quickly accumulate and cause a significant financial burden.

And help desk talent isn’t cheap; Salary.com reports that the average help desk technician salary in 2023 in the US topped $49,000, meaning that maintaining a support team for password-related issues escalates your operational expenses.

Security risks: Individuals using weak or reused passwords increase your organization’s vulnerability to data breaches. The Verizon 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report indicates that 86% of breaches involved stolen credential data. And the financial implications of a data breach are substantial, racking up fines, legal costs, and reputational damage.

In 2023, IBM found that the average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million, a 15% increase over three years.

Mitigating password management costs

While passwords are an essential part of your organization’s cybersecurity foundation, the reality is that they come with hidden costs that can strain your resources. Costs associated with dips in productivity, increased security risk, and helpdesk overhead can quickly add up.

Thankfully, there are things that IT teams can do to help strengthen password security while mitigating and controlling password-related costs.

IT leaders can fight rising costs by embracing technologies like MFA and SSO, educating and training employees, proactively monitoring and responding to potential authentication issues, and investing in password software.

By making the right decisions and investments, your organization can boost its security while reducing the financial burdens associated with password management. We’ll run through some of the best options here.

Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA adds an extra layer of security beyond passwords. According to Cybercrime Magazine, MFA can block between 30% and 50% of account compromise attacks. By adding another layer of protection, MFA can reduce the load on your IT support team, lowering the incidence of security-related issues that require intervention. 

However, bear in mind that attackers do have several ways of circumventing MFA so password security is still a vital first step.

Adopt single sign-on (SSO) solutions

SSO allows users to access multiple applications with one set of credentials, reducing password fatigue and the need for numerous password resets. This can improve end user experience and lower the burden on your support technicians by reducing the volume of help desk calls.

Be wary of the risk of password reuse though, as employees may reuse their master password on personal websites and applications with weak security and inadvertently compromise their work password.

Educate and train employees

Regular training on password management best practices can reduce the incidence of weak passwords. Enhance your overall security by educating employees about the importance of strong passwords and the risks of password reuse. Taking a proactive educational and training approach can foster a culture of security within your organization and help cut potential costs.

First, it lowers your chance of expensive security breaches.

Second, well-informed employees tend to require fewer password resets, which lightens the workload on IT support teams and saves operational costs.

Invest in password security software

Investing in password security software will save on costs over time. A solution such as Specops Password Policy can help you automatically enforce stronger passwords with continuous monitoring (and blocking) of compromised passwords.

This proactive approach can prevent minor issues from escalating into costly security incidents.

Technology can also remove the burden of password problems from service desks, instead making it quick and secure for end users to reset their own passwords. Self-service password reset software, such as Specops uReset, will empower your users to quickly and securely reset their own passwords, even when they aren’t on the VPN.

If you’d like to know how Specops Software products could reduce your password-related costs, reach out and speak to an expert today.  

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