90% of organizations have problems with password resets

With increasing numbers of remote and mobile workers, and more and more complex passwords to remember to log onto corporate networks, employees often need to contact IT support helpdesks to reset their forgotten passwords.

HTK has surveyed IT first, second and third line support managers and team leaders from a range of sectors, and found that 90% of organizations are faced with problems when it comes to password reset issues; with 5% claiming that it placed a huge drain on resources.

“Based on our previous discussions with CIOs – who typically didn’t perceive password resets as a problem – we decided to survey those in IT support who are dealing with password resets on a daily basis,” said Marlon Bowser, CEO of HTK. “The results throw up an interesting disparity in perceptions between a company’s CIO and IT support staff, with those working on the ground reporting that password-related activity takes up valuable time and resources.”

The results – from sectors including high-tech, manufacturing banking, media and marketing – also show that 82% of organizations require their users to change their passwords quarterly or more frequently.

Despite this and various analyst reports that put the average cost to the help desk per manual password reset at anything between £30 and £50, the survey also found that 79.5% of companies still do not have an automated password reset service, such as online or IVR. And in today’s increasingly flexible workplace, it is surprising that 60% don’t offer any out-of-hours support in the case of forgotten passwords.

There are web-based options for password resets, but 67.5% had reservations about these solutions because they were either not secure enough, too complicated or because users would need web access (and a forgotten system password often means no access to the web.) However, 65% said that, if reliably deployed, biometrics or voice print technology would probably or definitely play an increasing role in IT security.

Other interesting findings from the survey:

  • Of the 42.5% of respondents that found certain times of year busier for password resets, 86% thought it was busier after holidays and long breaks away.
  • Password resets cause the manufacturing, banking and media and marketing sectors the most problems.
  • In organisations with a 1,000+ user base, 100% of respondents felt that password resets cause IT support at least somewhat of a problem, with over 10% saying that they caused a huge drain on resources.
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