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How to effectively manage all passwords for all agency employees continues to be a source of questions. I have written a couple of times over the last ten years about potential solutions.
I think it’s time again to remind everyone of the importance of controlling nefarious access to the wide variety of platforms every agency uses every day.
Managing the plethora of passwords that agency staff has to maintain continues to be challenging. There are several options available to an agency of any size that will help agency management and staff secure and manage password information.
Several management system platforms have built-in password management for a limited number of carrier agency portal sites. Transformation Station is a service provided to Applied Systems users (as well as a few other vendors who have licensed this service). TransactNow is a service provided to Vertafore users that helps manage and store password information within the agency management system platforms.
A few other agency management system vendors have their own versions of password management built into their systems. These systems, when set up correctly, provide an easy way for agency staff to access a carrier’s agency portal website by storing the website address, as well as the user ID and password. Access to the carrier site then is simply a click away.
I wrote about the importance of a new industry initiative called ID Federation in 2012. Progress is being made to encourage insurance companies to use this framework, but development is not nearly as fast as it needs to be. I encourage you to understand how ID Federation will help your agency and to have conversations with your insurance company representatives as often as possible.
While the services are a great way to streamline password management, they are not a universal solution. As you well know, your agency maintains passwords for many other websites that you and your staff need to access. For the management of these user ID and passwords, I recommend an enterprise password management software program. There are quite a few programs available.
Password Management Software Programs
I have used RoboForm for several years as my password management program.
This program installs as part of your web browser (it supports all browsers) and manages login and passwords for you. When you log into a website, RoboForm offers to save the login information into a Passcard. This card is kept in a fully encrypted file that requires a master password to access.
Once the login information is safe, true one-click login is available by clicking on the website name in the Passcard list. The program automatically navigates to the website’s login page, fills the stored login information into the form, and clicks the submit button for you.
RoboForm is available as an individual standalone program as well as an enterprise version that provides additional administrator capabilities for larger organizations. One agency with over 300 users uses the RoboForm Enterprise version to allow all users to manage passwords.
One of the functions I use often is the Password Generator. An excellent random password is the most secure. However, they are hard to remember. With a password management platform, you don’t need to remember. It allows you to set the length of the password (longer is better), what characters are included (upper and lower alpha, as well as number and special characters), and paste it to the clipboard so you can use it anywhere.
There are many reasons to make sure your agencies are managing password well. If you currently don’t have a password management process in place, then the above services are an excellent place to start your research.
How is your agency managing passwords for all users?