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Help Desk Pain: Trouble with Passwords

March 31, 2012 2 comments

Password management is without doubt the number one ill that help desk technicians have to deal with. Lost and forgotten passwords are responsible for a majority of  frantic help desk calls in many an organization. According a recent helpdesk.com survey, password issues are responsible for upward 44% of calls to the service desk.

Each company has a different way of handling the password problem. Some offer centralized password management tools to employees. Others encourage employees to find their own solution.

We came across this recent article in NetworkWorld, providing a review of 7 password manager solutions. If you’re a help desk manager seeking ways to streamline the password management problem, or simply an individual looking for a better way to manage your personal passwords, be sure to give this review a read.

You may also want to check out this effective password manager tool offered by our site sponsor (ManageEngine) – Password Manager Pro.

Enjoy the review!

Excerpt from NetworkWorld:

Review: 7 password managers for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android

1Password and KeePass lead the field in features, flexibility, browser integration, and ease-of-use

Password vaults, aka password safes or password managers, help solve this problem. They give you a central place to store all your passwords, encrypted and protected by a passphrase or token that you provide. This way, you have to memorize a single password — the one for your password vault. All the other passwords you use can be as long and complex as possible, even randomly generated, and you don’t have to worry about remembering them.

If having your passwords in a single encrypted store were all you needed, then a password-protected Microsoft Word document would do the trick. There has to be an easier way. One of the reasons I looked at these password vaults — a total of seven — was to see how easy it was to work with them over an extended period of time. If they didn’t provide much more convenience over simply copying and pasting passwords from a text file, they’d hardly be worth using.

Here’s what I found. To keep the list manageable, I’ve focused on programs that have both a desktop and a mobile version available, with the desktop taking precedence.

KeePass and 1Password stood out as the best of the bunch for slightly different reasons. KeePass is free open source software with a large community of users and add-ons behind it. But most important, KeePass has been written with a good sense for how people need to interact with the program every single day. 1Password, priced at $49.99, is even better in that respect. It’s polished, powerful, closely integrated with your browser, and easy to keep in sync with your mobile devices.

RoboForm, a longtime presence in this field, is a close contender for the top choice as well, thanks to many of its unique features, such as an intelligent form-filling function (for name/address forms) and the ability to work with other kinds of applications apart from Web browsers.

LastPass, available in a free version or a premium version that costs $12 per year, is a close runner-up, falling behind KeePass and 1Password only because using any mobile version of the product requires the paid account. That said, what it provides even in the free version is hugely useful, as long as you don’t mind working directly in a browser to manage your passwords (I imagine most people won’t).

The other password managers reviewed here are less compelling. Password Safe isn’t bad, but it falls short in a lot of little ways compared to KeePass and especially 1Password. SplashID and Keeper are the weakest of the bunch; SplashID is only slightly more useful thanks to its Internet Explorer plug-in.

Read the full article on NetworkWorld!

Help Desk Chronicles: The Last Word in Passwords

Password management continues to be one of the leading issues tackled by the help desk.

The below article by TMCnet summarizes some of the types of tools available to users and IT staff, to help manage and automate password issues. Enjoy!

http://it.tmcnet.com/password-reset-software/articles/176177-what-password-reset-software.htm

For further help desk related articles, commentary, and general links to vendors, consultants, industry events and more, be sure to visit helpdesk.com!

Categories: Passwords

It’s always about those dreaded passwords…!

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Passwords are the bane of the help desk world, with related issues (e.g. “forgot my @#!*% password!!!”) soaking up 30% or more of the average help desk technician’s time.

There’s been a lot of focus  around password management this week. See these related articles in BusinessWeek for example:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_06/b4214036460585.htm

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_06/b4214036537462.htm

Here’s an excerpt from the above article, on a new possible security standard being proposed by the federal government to help standardize passwords via fingerprinting and other means of personal ID recognition. This is *very interesting* stuff and could go a long way in relieving some of the ‘help desk burden’…at least when it comes to password management!

A security standard could also cut the size of Internet company help desks, says Bruce McConnell, a counselor for national protection at the Homeland Security Dept. “The highest cost element of help desks is dealing with lost passwords,” he says. Another plus: A trusted online ID may encourage doctors to prescribe more drugs electronically, helping to save 3 million sheets of paper a year, McConnell says.

The federal government is developing the standards for the security and verification plan, but it will be voluntary, and companies that use the system will manage it. There will be no central database of user information, Commerce Dept. officials say, removing concerns over privacy. Instead, each company will maintain its own database of customers, and anyone logged in by one company would be considered safe by others using the system.

 

 

Categories: Passwords
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