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

Summary

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

Introduction

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

Analysis

  • 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

Gartner Recommended Reading

©2020 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.