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10 things IT could be doing instead of fielding password reset requests

Working in IT today is a balancing act. Chances are, you’ve had to learn how to keep up with cutting-edge developments while simultaneously maintaining legacy systems that belong in the world of ten years ago. And if you’re still using passwords as your primary authentication method, you’re probably also still dealing with password reset requests—a drain on time and IT resources that should have gone by the wayside a long time ago. Here’s what you could be doing if your authentication solution lifted the password burden from your department’s bandwidth:

1. Updating your systems

Unpatched and outdated software is basically a welcome mat for black hats. But keeping everything perfectly patched (especially if you’re dealing with legacy systems) is easier said than done. It can be time consuming, and forced downtime for updates may have other departments up in arms. If you had more time to devote to strategically scheduling essential updates to accommodate the needs of more users, that sure would be nice.

2. Researching and demoing new solutions

If you barely have time to take lunch because helpdesk tickets for resets keep rolling in, you probably don’t have time to demo new cybersecurity solutions. What a pity! The best cybersecurity solution is the one that fits your needs (not someone else’s) so ample demo time is key.

3. Bring in a red team to simulate a cyberattack

Bringing in a red team can be a great way to spot vulnerabilities in your systems. The best use of a red team is a spur-of-the-moment simulated cyberattack. It’s valuable practice for your people and can give you a more accurate picture of your department’s capabilities and responses. But if the only enemy you have time to fight off is the horde of password reset tickets flooding your inbox, it may be time to find a solution that takes that task off your plate.

4. Evaluating your cybersecurity posture

When was the last time you did an extensive evaluation of your capabilities and vulnerabilities? Has password handholding completely monopolized the hours you’d otherwise earmark for more proactive measures? Not only is that a bummer, it may also leave you in regulatory hot water. Regular evaluations of your cybersecurity are part of the regulatory requirements for both banks and credit unions, no matter how scarce time may be.

5. Collaborating with other departments

IT has a new role in today’s business. You’re not just the people who keep the fax machine working—you’re embedded in marketing and customer service through your efforts to maintain and improve cloud systems, apps, and employee access. What you do directly affects service levels and customer satisfaction. Period. So why should you be stuck helping Margery in HR reset her password for the 3rd time this week? (Bless her heart.)

6. Getting up to date on today’s threats

You probably subscribe to regular updates on the state of cybersecurity. However, it’s unlikely you have time to read all of them, considering you’re constantly helping locked out users log on. This is great news for crooks targeting your organization, but bad news for everyone else. You’d definitely have your finger on the pulse and get caught up to emerging threats if you weren’t so swamped with password nonsense.

7. Educating users on cybersecurity best practices

Being proactive and educating your users is a big boon to your organization’s cybersecurity posture. The more users assimilate cybersecurity best practices, the better. Unfortunately, your users are burdened with 16 digit alphanumeric passwords (with 2 symbols—not including ! or #) that they forget at least once every week. Their RAM is being used up remembering what they should type just to get into the system—and yours is being used up helping them when they can’t. Not cool!

8. Brainstorming ways to revolutionize the business

Think for a minute: who has a better idea of your organization’s technological shortfalls and capabilities than you? And who is better equipped to help implement realistic changes to your IT ecosystem that can make things run more smoothly? No one! That’s why being bogged down with help desk tickets for password resets is probably the worst possible use of your time. You’re needed elsewhere.

9. Revamping intranet systems

In most organizations, employee intranet is the bleakest aspect of the IT ecosystem. Resources are typically allocated towards making front-facing systems look polished, run smoothly, and provide an up-to-date online customer experience. Meanwhile, users who log on to your intranet may feel like they’ve gone back in time. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had more time to bring that dark corner of your organization into the light of 2018?

10. Creating an advanced AI to do all of your work for you while you flee to a tropical island

With all the time you could free up if passwords weren’t an issue anymore, you could probably team up with your department and create an AI to do all of your work for you. That would give you time to slip away to somewhere with sun, waves, and piña coladas. You’d just need to rig up a Ferris Bueller-style mannequin in your respective offices to keep people from getting too suspicious. We’re mostly kidding.

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