Enable strong password settings for password policies

Password policies allow you to define authentication policies and associated rules to enforce password settings for your end users.

HealthInsight task recommendation

Enable strong password settings to enforce strict password policies that define settings for password lockout, history, minimum age, and minimum length.

Okta recommends Define password policies to specify a password lockout, history, minimum age, and minimum length of eight characters and disallow common passwords, such as this configuration:
  • Password lockout to 10+
  • Minimum password history of 24
  • Minimum age of 1 hour
  • Minimum length of 12 characters
  • Restriction of common passwords

These recommendations are provided by Okta as an example of typical password standards. They are derived from current cybersecurity industry best practices. They are not intended to replace internationally recognized cybersecurity standards, such as ISO 27001, NIST, PCI-DSS, or others. Your IT department may need to adjust these settings in order to comply with whichever cybersecurity standard your organization has chosen to follow.

Security impact Low
End-user impact Moderate

See End-user experience and impact.

Recommended settings

Lock out Specify the maximum number of invalid password attempts before locking the user's account. This provides protection against brute-force password attacks.
Minimum length Specify a minimum password length of at least eight characters. Longer passwords provide greater protection against brute force attacks.
History Specify the number of distinct passwords users must create before reusing a password. This prevents users from reusing a previous password when resetting their password. If there is a compromise that requires a password reset, you want to ensure users can't reuse compromised credentials.
Password age Specify the minimum time interval required between password changes. This setting prevents users from bypassing the enforce password history requirement.
Common Password Check Restrict the use of common passwords.

End-user experience and impact

The following information provides information about how end users are impacted when password settings are configured. See End-user impact

Lockout Users will be unable to access their accounts after multiple failed sign-ins.

When users are locked out, the account unlock options available to the users are specified by password policy lockout settings and policy rules defined by the admin. If no self-service or auto-unlock settings are enabled, users are required to contact the admin to unlock the account. The number of attempts should take into account both typical user sign-in patterns and security.

A lockout policy allowing only a low number of attempts may cause more lockout incidents. For example, users may mistype passwords when signing in from a mobile device or when they have recently changed their passwords. Some applications may auto-retry cached passwords when they're changed, resulting in user lockouts. However, a lockout policy with too high allowed attempts increases the risk of credential attacks.

Minimum length Longer passwords are more difficult for users to remember, especially when combined with other complexity requirements (e.g., require uppercase, lowercase, symbols, etc).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends longer passwords which are easy to remember (“phrase-like”) but more difficult to obtain from brute force attacks.

History Enforcing a password history requires users to use a new password when resetting their password. This may result in an increased number of lockouts or password resets due to users forgetting their password.
Password age Enforcing password age will prevent users from being able to self-service password reset if they forget their new password following a password reset and the required password has not reached the specified password age.

Admins should take this into account when setting the password age. A shorter password age can be balanced with a longer password history to prevent password reuse.

Common Password Check A user who is setting a password that matches one that is found on a list of commonly used passwords will be unable to use that password.

Configure password settings for password policies

  1. In the Admin Console, go to Security > Authenticators.
  2. From the Setup tab, navigate to Password. To edit policies, click the Actions > Edit.
  3. Select a Password Policy and click Edit.
  4. Edit the password settings within the policy based on the recommendations.
  5. To enable each setting, select the box next to Password history, Password age, Lock out, and Common password check.

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