Many businesses employ two-factor authentication (2FA) or single sign-on (SSO), but may not offer their employees a business password management solution. Findings from the 2023 Bitwarden World Password Day Survey support this: only 23% of respondents said they were required to use a password manager in the workplace.
According to Julian Cohen, VP of Security and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Ocrolus, a New York-based document automation software provider, more businesses should consider deploying password managers. In the case of Ocrolus, the company opted to deploy Bitwarden.
Says Cohen, “With credential theft and password reuse being used for account takeover and quickly becoming one of the most commonly used attacks against organizations, we put together a comprehensive plan for account security that of course includes things like 2FA, SSO, and compromised credentials monitoring. But for users’ main SSO accounts or for systems that don’t support SSO or 2FA or other shadow IT systems, or just one-off accounts…the most effective control is a password manager.”
Cohen advises employees to use a unique and random password for each account. He believes the easiest way to do so is to leverage one generated by a password manager. As password managers also store the passwords, he considers the technology to be a “low friction” and effective way to keep passwords secure.
Other findings from the World Password Day Survey lend credence to this notion. The vast majority, 85%, of global respondents reuse passwords across multiple sites and 58% rely on memory for their passwords. One-fifth (20%) of global respondents report being affected by a data breach in the past 18 months. While being caught up in a data breach may not be preventable, they tend to have a ripple effect for those who reuse their passwords.
Getting people to adopt new tools, especially those for security, helps keep companies protected and secure. On the flip side, it also requires extra steps from IT and users. Ocrolus relied on the Bitwarden SCIM (System for cross-domain identity management) to automatically provision members and groups. It also provides training and documentation for users on how to use Bitwarden and explains to users why it is effective.
“We get a lot of support from our techops team at Ocrolus,” says Cohen. “They provide technical support for Bitwarden, use it themselves, and when provisioning new accounts and storing shared credentials.”
In considering how Ocrolus has built a successful security program - a program that now includes Bitwarden - Cohen believes the company has benefited by having a good inventory and situational awareness of where things are, understanding the riskiest parts of the organization, and focusing on prioritization.
“You can always engineer yourself to death in trying to secure something or try to implement every kind of tool,” says Cohen. “What I always do is start with my adversaries. If we can understand who our adversaries are, how they plan and operate, what their goals and motivations are, and what their resources and constraints are, we’ll be able to understand what our adversaries are likely to see and how they plan and operate.”
In doing this, believes Cohen, companies can better understand what types of attacks they are likely to see so they can use that information to determine the best security tools to implement. In many instances, that toolset likely includes a password management solution.
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