How Passwords Cause Chaos for your Helpdesk

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Passwords are a constant headache in any organization, but especially in settings where IT departments and helpdesk teams are already overworked and understaffed.

You may require employees to do bothersome, periodic password resets. You might also mandate more difficult ways to log in. You plead with them not to reuse passwords from other websites. And still, employees fall victim to credential stuffing, password reuse, fraud and phishing attacks.

If you thought using multi-factor authentication (MFA) would solve your password problems, it probably didn’t. In fact, most support calls are still caused by access management issues.

So what are some of the helpdesk headaches caused by password-based MFA?

Complex Password Chaos

Businesses have been mandating stronger access policies, such as the enforcement of 14-character complex passwords.

For the end-user, these are an inconvenience.

For the helpdesk, complex password policies can be a nightmare.

Employees write them down, reuse them, share them, and forget them – but guess who really feels the pain? Your helpdesk and support staff. When forced to update their password, almost half of employees reuse the same password with a slight change.

The rollout of complex password policies has increased strain on IT departments while causing a mess for end users.

Multiple Multi-Factor Apps = MFA Fatigue

Your employees have many ways to log in these days. Passwords, hardware tokens, smartphone apps, Windows Hello, SMS, Touch ID, Face ID… the list goes on. The authentication landscape has become much more complex and businesses are finding it difficult to maintain a consistent user experience.

In addition to juggling multiple passwords, employees are often forced to use different MFA apps.

MFA Fatigue
Fragmented Identity Experiences & MFA Fatigue

Users often complain about their login experience: the pitfalls of complex password management, a sense of reduced productivity from too many requirements, and what some call “MFA fatigue.” The inconvenience burdens users and creates operational headaches for the helpdesk and IT staff.

The need to administer multiple MFA flows requires additional training and resources. Even troubleshooting becomes more complicated. Is a user really locked out? Are they just not using the right app?

The lack of a unified approach to user login can lead to gaps in MFA adoption, fragmented user experiences, and ultimately a steady growth in helpdesk call volume.

The Glaring Cost of Password Resets

Yes, the somewhat benign password reset flow is the #1 cause of support headaches.

Ask your helpdesk team what the most common request from employees is and you will hear the same answer time and again: password resets.  

Our 2019 Study on Password Usage found that 57% of respondents required a password reset in their work life within the last 90 days. According to Gartner, between 20% to 50% of all helpdesk calls are for password resets.

Password resets may seem like an easy problem to solve, but the volume of requests makes them a surprisingly time-consuming—and expensive—task. Forrester Research states that the average helpdesk labor cost for a single password reset is about $70.

The process for resetting a password is by no means a quick fix. First, employees must contact the helpdesk, which then generates a support ticket. Next, they reset the password, notify the employee, and finally close the ticket.

The combination of forgotten complex passwords, MFA apps and account lockouts are a waste of admin resources – for both frustrated employees and the overwhelmed helpdesk staff who valiantly assist them.

So, what can be done to address this pain point and lighten the burden for everyone?

The ROI of Password-less MFA

If the biggest issue is forgotten passwords, why not eliminate them? No passwords means no more password resets. We’ve made it easy for you to uncover the glaring cost of password resets. Find out how in our Passwordless ROI Calculator.

Check out our Passwordless ROI Calculator to learn what password resets are costing your organization in terms of labor costs and lost productivity.
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