Employees are drowning in passwords

U.S. workers, managers, and IT staffs alike are increasingly confronted with difficulties arising from computer passwords, according to a survey by Siber Systems.

The survey reflects the input from 617 professionals from all levels and disciplines within the enterprise IT community. Almost 25% of respondents hold titles of CIO, CTO, Director or Security Officer; close to 30% are either a manager, senior system administrator, or system administrator. The remaining 33% hold titles ranging from engineers and analysts to consultants, coordinators, or developers.

Among the most significant findings:

  • Too many passwords. Over half of all respondents said the average employee in their firms are required to remember three to five passwords, with an additional 26% saying the number ranges from six to ten or more.
  • Passwords required too often. 49% responded that employees are required to use passwords more than 25 times per week, with 8% stating the number of password uses exceed 100 per week.
  • Unprotected passwords. 66% stated that employees write down or store passwords in unsafe places, creating a security problem for their companies.
  • Better management needed. 48% of responding IT professionals are actively seeking a reliable password management solution.

Many companies report that password inflation negatively impacts productivity as well as security. While 79% of those taking the survey report that security is their number one password management concern, 39% also reported “Lost Employee Productivity or Frustration” as an issue. In addition, 31% said that helpdesk hours are either lost or spent in frustration by support personnel.

According to the survey findings, one-third of companies surveyed plan on implementing a new or improved password management solution before the end of calendar year 2008.

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