Password issues in the financial industry: how they cause headaches for employees and customers

In the financial industry ensuring security is a top priority. They need to make sure that important company and customer data is kept safe. While this is important, often many of the security measures that financial institutions use cause headaches and a great deal of annoyance for employees.

Think about an employee at a bank. In order to assist a customer, say with a new mortgage, they need to access several different systems and applications. Each of these have different unique passwords, sometimes extremely complex and difficult to remember.

This was the case for a bank in Washington State. The employees at the bank often needed to login to anywhere from 2 to 10 applications depending on their job role at the bank. Some applications required a certain amount of numbers, while others had more extreme rules such as not allowing two of the same letters next to each other. This was a huge annoyance to employees as well as to customers who often had to wait on the bank employee to login to each application, or even worse call to reset their password if they forgot it and were locked out of their account.

There are ways to alleviate the pressure on employees to remember multiple passwords and securely manage many systems daily. The foremost option being a single sign on solution. SSO solutions allow employees to only have to remember a single set of credentials. They simply enter their credentials and each system and application they open they are automatically signed in and authenticated. It can dramatically decrease the amount of time spent logging into apps daily and subsequently increases the amount of productivity your employees have in a given day.

The bank implemented SSO for all of their employees which lead to a dramatic decrease in password issues. They were also able to have the SSO solution work with the bank’s password policies, so that every 90 days users are required to change their password, to ensure security.

Many might debate that having a single set of credentials for all applications leaves the network unsecure. In actuality though it can increase security. If employees need to remember several sets of complex credentials, think about how they often do this? Many write them down, keep them in a file, on post it notes etc. With a single set of credentials, this is not necessary, and it reduces the chances that employees will use unsecure methods.

Overall allowing employees to only have to sign in once can reduce time spent having to reset passwords and log into systems on a daily basis.