When you think of something to be self-service you expect it to be usable right? Otherwise it is an oxymoron really, I can’t think of anything that is an unusable self-service item unless it is broken. Managing passwords can be a fulltime job if there is no solution in place to handle the tasks surrounding it, including managing password quality and expiration. But perhaps we should look at the alternative to a usable self-service password management solution, which would be helpdesk support.
“Hello, thanks for calling the helpdesk. How may I help you?”
“Yes, my password expired and I cannot access my account.”
“Ok sir, I can help you with that. What is your username?”
“Ok sir and what is the name of your first true love?”
“Ok sir, I have unlocked your account and provided you with a temporary password is password123.”
“Gosh, thanks for your help today!”
As an IT professional, you may very well be on the other end of the call with Kermit and many other Kermit’s on a daily basis. Not only is repeating this same action over and over again boring, it is also costs time and money that could be spent on bigger problems or projects.
The helpdesk was designed to help people with their technical issues and to support the overall wellbeing of the all things computer related. Passwords definitely fall into this category, but they should not consume a large percentage of the desk’s time since there are solutions that can automatically manage the passwords for these situations. Usable self-service password management solutions take all of the heavy lifting surrounding password related helpdesk calls and also allow you to easily manage password quality and policies.
Self-service Password Reset (SSPR)
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you find something you have been looking for only to realize it is a dream, then you try and figure out how to bring the item back into reality with you? Rest assured that usable self-service password management is not a dream, it is real and deploying a good solution will almost completely put an end to password related helpdesk calls.
SSPR is enables your end-users to manage their passwords on their own, removing the need to involve the helpdesk. Beyond placing the end-user’s account in your Active Directory or other repository, there should be no reason for you, the IT professional to have to do any other actions. This will allow you to enforce password polices easily including character requirements and password expiration.
Beyond password expiration enforcement, you can provide notifications warning the end-user that their password will expire in a certain number of days. These notifications can be provided right on the login screen or sent via email and will prepare the end-user to change their password.
More Time for You
Ultimately SSPR will save your IT department money, it will make your life easier, and give you more time to tend to other things you would rather spend time doing. Allowing you to dust off old projects and maybe even work a few less hours a week so you can spend time with your family. As an IT professional you work very hard and deserve to have a solution in place that works as hard as you and makes your life easier.
From my point of view you cannot go wrong with an SSPR solution unless you pay too much for it, so do your homework and find a solution that fits your needs both technically and financially.