Using a third-party vendor has not been considered a real security threat until recently (sorry, Target). Now, the limelight is shifting from enforcing a strong password policy to all employees to enforcing a password policy to all users on the network- employee, consultant or vendor.
If you are enforcing a password policy to all employees on your network, I would like to personally thank you for your hard work and smart decisions. Requiring employees to use a strong password is the first step in making sure your network is as secure as possible, but stopping with employees is like locking all your windows and leaving the back door wide open- locked windows don’t stop people from using doors.
We recommend requiring ALL users on your network to comply with an enforceable password policy. This means there has to be a way to enforce the policy. Say “so long” to the days of a written policy- there is no way to truly enforce a written policy at a password creation level, especially to vendor accounts (the new unlocked back door). Sure, you can run a password cracker and see how many passwords you can crack; but, like I have said before, running a password cracker is like putting on sunscreen after you spent all day at the beach- you aren’t protecting anything.
In order to make sure everyone is using a strong password, including any third party that has been granted access to your network, you will need to deploy a password filter. Password filters are the equivalent to putting sunscreen on before and during your day at the beach- they catch the weak passwords before they enter the network. If vendors are gaining network access offsite, consider using an internal webpage to ensure your password policy is being enforced globally and not just at the office. Password filters will ensure your vendors are using policy compliant passwords, lessening your chance of security breach.
Check out our Password Filter Shopping Guide for a list of suggested features to look for when considering a password filter to protect your network.