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Not Another Password – Survey Reveals Employees Are Drowning in Passwords

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RISMEDIA, March 6, 2008-Siber Systems, Inc., announced the results of a poll on password use involving over 600 U.S. IT professionals. The survey, administered through business data company eMedia, found that U.S. workers, managers, and IT staffs alike are increasingly confronted with difficulties arising from computer passwords. 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 10 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.

The survey report, entitled “Password Management Survey: IT Managers Respond to the Impact of Password Policies on Security and Productivity,” reflects the input from 617 professionals from all levels and disciplines within the enterprise Information Technology (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.

“This large sampling of the U.S. IT community confirms the pitfalls of relying on password management policies-even well-conceived ones-in today’s organization,” said Bill Carey, Siber Systems’ vice president of marketing. “Many companies, and many software providers, assume that passwords are the solution to access control when, in fact, their increased use simply compounds the situation and actually decreases the level of enterprise security.”

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.

“Reasons offered usually emphasize an overt need to improve security, with a strong secondary reason of wanting to also improve productivity of their helpdesk and end users,” the survey states. “Of course, IT professionals want these solutions to be easy to implement and easy for end users to actually adopt and use.”

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