This blog is the fifth in a series on best practices for transforming help desk operations at small to medium-size businesses from reactive to proactive.
It’s estimated by Forrester Research, that about 20 percent of all support tickets involve passwords.
Password resets are simple to do, but their sheer volume makes them a drain on help desk staff. Sort of like a swarm of gnats – not harmful, but persistent and annoying.
As passwords become more complex to address growing security threats, reset requests will undoubtedly increase. This is a problem for several reasons:
- It’s time-consuming for both users and help desk staff.
- During non-business hours, help desk services may not be available – keeping users from their apps, data and other tools.
- Costs add up quickly due to the large number of tickets.
- Technicians may become bored or frustrated with spending so much of their time on elementary tasks – leading to high staff turnover.
Pass the buck on passwords
Fortunately, automated password reset tools, which are often included with help desk software, can minimize or eliminate these problems by shifting the task to users. Most users quickly feel comfortable handling this simple process themselves – and the benefits can be huge.
Typically, the automated reset tool is deployed to all devices on the network. Users are asked to pre-register for the service by entering their user ID and supplying answers to challenge questions.
If a user is locked out of their PC because of a forgotten password or locked account, they can simply press a password reset button right on their Windows login screen. After entering their user ID and answering the challenge questions correctly, they will be prompted to reset their password and/or unlock their account. A confirmation email will also be sent. Alternatively, the password reset system may provide a web portal for users to access the reset system from a coworker’s computer.
Those are the basics of a good reset tool. But some systems, such as Track-It! from BMC Software, add other features like automatic logging of a help desk ticket to provide usage metrics. Monitoring password resets is valuable because:
- It can indicate trends and help identify training opportunities, such as repeated resets by the same users
- It records unsuccessful resets that may actually be hacking attempts, helping to identify potential security threats
- It documents the volume of resets to provide data for estimating ROI of the reset software
Another value-added feature is respect for the organization’s Windows network password policies regarding length, type of characters, reuse of passwords, etc.
Empower users, ease the burden on the help desk
The ROI from automated password reset software goes far beyond money, although cost reduction is a major benefit.
- Users gain control and convenience from the ability to reset their password at any time, without spending time and effort to contact the help desk.
- Because the system respects security policies, users are required to create strong, compliant passwords. This process strengthens the organization’s overall security posture.
- Technicians are freed from endless, repetitive reset tasks to handle more-complex and varied issues.
Track-It! Help Desk Software from BMC offers password reset functionality and an end-user self-service portal. Track-It! supports best practices and addresses your top pain points – at an affordable price. Find out more at http://www.trackit.com/.
These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.
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