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A Self-Service Password Reset Project Can Be A Quick Win For IT

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One support issue common to both on-premises and remote end-users is password resets and other account-related activities

Since the beginning of this year, organizations’ IT staff have faced numerous challenges and an increased workload as a result of the global pandemic and shift to a mainly remote workforce

Supporting end-users that are now working from home has introduced new challenges in troubleshooting since it isn’t as simple as visiting an end user’s desk to resolve issues as they arise.

One support issue common to both on-premises and remote end-users is password resets and other account-related activities. These include accounts that are locked out, passwords that have expired, and password changes.

Implementing a self-service password reset (SSPR) solution can be a quick win for IT staff who are now supporting both on-premises and remote workers and taking care of other normal daily tasks.

Let’s look at why SSPR solutions can lead to quick results in lowering the overall support burden on IT staff.

Increased Strain On IT Staff

The global pandemic this year has been challenging for just about everyone. Most have seen adjustments, cutbacks, increased duties, and other changes resulting from the impact of Covid-19.

Earlier this year, as the global pandemic unfolded, IT staff were tasked with effectively providing remote access to resources almost overnight. This led to many tense days as IT staff may have struggled to make this possible for all remote employees technically.

After the initial provisioning of a remote work solution, IT has been responsible for supporting end-users who are now reliant on home Internet connectivity and, in some cases, even on personal devices to connect to corporate resources.

Like many others, IT departments may also have been subject to downsizing due to business downturns associated with the pandemic. All of these factors have led to tremendous workloads on IT staff, among others.

This sheds light on a couple of important considerations that emerge to help IT support staff keep up with increased duties and activities.

These include prioritizing:

  • Minimizing high volume calls to the IT service desk
  • Projects that optimize efficiency quickly

Implementing a self-service password reset (SSPR) solution can achieve both objectives. Adopting an SSPR solution helps to minimize the overall number of calls to the IT service desk.

Additionally, IT will see a quick time to value for an SSPR solution which is easy to implement and will start yielding results almost immediately.

According to analyst firms the Gartner Group and Forrester Research, between 20%-50% of help desk calls are related to password resets, and a single password reset call can cost about $70.

So, to put some context to those numbers, if your service desk triages 500 calls a month, potentially 250 of those calls are password related accounting for $17,500 in support costs per month!

Implementing a self-service password reset (SSPR) solution could essentially eliminate the 250 calls in the example and save the organization tens of thousands per month while freeing up IT staff to triage other issues in the environment. Another cost-saving that is not accounted for is end-user productivity, which is a bit harder to quantify.

What is a Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR) Solution?

A self-service password reset solution provides a way for end-users to resolve their account issues, including password resets, account unlocks, and password changes in an automated way, without the need to interact with the service desk.

With SSPR, end-users enroll in the system and provide information that can later be used to verify their identity when the need arises to unlock their account or reset their password. Common SSPR identity verification methods include security questions and one-time passcodes delivered over text or email.

For example, users will enroll into the system with answers to predetermined questions or with their mobile or email address. Before being able to perform account-related actions, users will have to identify themselves using the enrolled identity verification method to ensure that they are whom they say they are.

The workflow includes a fully automated approach without IT staff interaction and allows end-users to get a resolution to their issue almost immediately.

Full-featured SSPR solutions generally provide the following benefits to your organization:

  • Fast implementation – They are easy to implement and generally provide a small footprint from an infrastructure perspective.
  • Measurable cost savings – Statistically speaking, SSPR solutions could potentially cut service desk calls by up to 50%. With the high cost of password resets, this can amount to tremendous savings in time and effort from service desk professionals. This has a trickle-down effect of allowing more time allocation for other issues.
  • Higher quality experience – End users no longer have to wait for service desk technicians to work through the queue and triage their password issue. Account-related activities and password resets can be resolved immediately with the self-service process made possible by the SSPR solution. This is easily accomplished via an intuitive web-based interface.
  • Increased security – Given that IT service desk user verification is often non-existent or highly insecure, SSPR fills this gap by ensuring users are whom they say they are before performing a password reset.

Not All SSPR Solutions Are Created Equal

Implementing an effective SSPR solution can certainly result in a quick win for IT departments that are already stretched thin due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, not all SSPR solutions are created equal. A large part of the success of an SSPR implementation depends on the features and functionality of the solution itself.

Some essential features you should look for include:

  • Enrollment specific features – pre-enrollment, admin enrollment, and forced enrollment options.
  • Usability – ability to access and utilize the solution easily from multiple entry points (login screen, Internet, apps, etc.)
  • Ability to use existing MFA tools – supports existing forms of authentication that users use to access other applications at work.

For an SSPR solution in your environment to truly be successful and lead to a quick win for IT, you need to have 100% compliance from an enrollment standpoint. As such, the solution needs to either remove the enrollment process from end-users or make the enrollment process mandatory while being simple to use and access.

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