Passwords are a nightmare!
Almost everyone might have thought about the vulnerability” of our passwords while creating them.
In the modern times of remote working and online work profiles, our passwords no longer only protect our personal lives but our work, too.
There are many basic principles of passwords.
The first one is never to create a password that is simple and easy to guess.
The second one is never to share your passwords with anyone else.
The rest include principles like all passwords should be unique, stored securely but able to be accessed and used easily, etc. Well, many of us break the first rule. Even in 2020, where we expect a vast majority of internet users to know about the importance of a strong and secure password, research shows that simple passwords like “123456” and “password” are still used by millions of users out there.
People who keep such simple passwords do have their reasons. To begin, most of us handle lots of online accounts. It becomes pretty difficult to create complex passwords and remember them in the future.
Another reason is that, well, we are lazy!
Ok, the concept of creating simple passwords, even though they must be avoided, can be understood.
But what about sharing those passwords?
Come on! No one would be so absent-minded to share their passwords with others, right?
A survey conducted by SurveyMonkey shares that about 34 percent of adults surveyed in the United States share their passwords with others.
No, these people aren’t crazy, but they do it for work and other important reasons.
Yes, most people share their work passwords with others.
But, it isn’t as illogical as it may initially sound.
Why Do Employees Share Their Work Passwords?
Below are some of the key reasons why employees share their work account passwords within the organization.
Physically reaching employees and collaborating at work is challenging in remote working scenarios, especially when teams work across countries and in different time zones.
In such cases, password sharing helps to keep the workflow efficient as one employee doesn’t have to wait for their colleague to collaborate on a project.
- Company Policy:
As pointed out in the research mentioned above, several companies have internal policies that instruct employees to share passwords with team members.
This makes sense as most companies will have multiple employees working on the same project. Hence, if one of the employees isn’t available at any given moment, their colleague(s) can take over when necessary.
- Lack of Separate Accounts:
Most services and applications charge clients based on the number of user accounts. In small-scale companies, especially startups, affording individual user accounts for each employee may hurt the budget constraints, mainly in cases where the employees use multiple applications.
Thus, such companies may choose to reduce the number of accounts for the services/applications they use and require employees to share their access with others in the team.
How Password Managers Help to Share Passwords Safely?
So, now we have understood that sharing passwords within the work environment does make sense.
But, is there a way to share passwords securely among teammates in an establishment?
Well, there is, and the answer is a Password Management System.
Password Management Systems, or password managers as they’re commonly called, are software tools that let you create, store, and manage passwords in a secure environment.
Several password managers out there, such as PassCamp, 1Password, LastPass, etc., offer personal and work use services.
Below are some features found within modern password managers that help to share passwords safely in an organization.
- Create Complex & Encrypted Passwords and Store them Safely:
The most basic feature of a password manager is to create complex passwords that are a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers. Also, the generated passwords need to be stored in an encrypted form for security.
Anyone who needs access to the passwords shared through the password manager will need to do so through the password manager client, thus offering an additional layer of security to ensure that no unauthorized personnel gain access to sensitive passwords.
- Manager User Account Privileges:
Another great feature offered by enterprise password managers is the ability to set privileges to user accounts.
The administrator will have the ability to distribute passwords and assign permissions for each account within the password manager, thus ensuring that the employee(s) will only gain access to the necessary passwords for their work.
- View User Activity History:
One of the most overlooked features of a password manager service is monitoring and viewing the history of each item stored in the password tool.
Thus, all the employee(s) activities within an organization using the password manager account can be tracked by checking the history of each password and item managed with the password manager..
- Easy Onboarding/Offboarding of Employees:
Employees joining and leaving the organization are prevalent in a business environment. Thus, there needs to be a quick and efficient way to onboard the employees into the organization and provide them with the necessary access.
With a password management system in place, the administrators can quickly provide the necessary access to new employees with just a few clicks. Similarly, accesses can be revoked whenever an employee leaves the organization.
What More Can Be Done?
Using password managers isn’t the final word for account security, especially in the office environment.
Several other steps need to be taken to ensure that the passwords shared within the organization don’t reach the wrong hands or get misused.
One of the best ways to ensure password-sharing security is to set a hierarchy of managerial approval that can be put in place before passwords are shared with any given employee.
Moreover, employees need to be educated about the necessity of sharing passwords securely and only through the password management system established in the organization.
All the measures put together will help in establishing a well-set password sharing policy within the organization.