Gartner Research

Best Practices for Managing Passwords: End-User Policies Must Balance Risk, Compliance and Usability Needs; Update

Published: 30 June 2014

ID: G00263956

Analyst(s): Ant Allan


A password policy that stresses password strength and other regulatory requirements may tax users and drive behavior that actually reduces security. Follow Gartner's best practices to balance risk and compliance needs against ease of use.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges


  • The Unbearable Weakness of Passwords
  • Regulatory Requirements Are Sometimes Concrete, and Sometimes Abstract


  • Mandate Password Confidentiality as a Strict Requirement
  • Set Reasonable Length and Complexity Requirements
  • Avoid Frequent Forced Password Changes
  • Set Password History to Discourage Password Reuse
  • Set Grace Logins to Allow Legitimate Users to Enter the Wrong Password Without Penalty
  • Give Special Consideration to Power-On Passwords for Mobile Devices

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