Fri, Jun
3 New Articles

TechTip: How Much Does Password Management Cost You?

Security - Other
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

You would probably be surprised, and now you can find out easily.


It's widely known that passwords are a royal pain in the Kardashian. What's less well known is that managing those pesky things is also a considerable hidden drain on the corporate pocketbook. Do you have any idea how much your organization spends on managing passwords? You can find out in just couple of minutes using the free SSO ROI calculator found at www.botzandassociates.com. And if you're like the majority of people who have used it already, you'll be surprised by just how much you actually spend on password management!


I created the SSO ROI calculator several years ago as a way to compare the benefits between various approaches to solving the password-management issue. As a group, these approaches are typically referred to as "Single Sign-On" (SSO) solutions; however, SSO is really a solution to the password management problem and not a "problem" to be solved.


The calculator is not a marketing tool for any particular solution. It represents an entirely independent assessment based on your particular input. The results are as valid as the input data you provide. It doesn't rely on any behind-the-scenes assumptions that might benefit one solution over another.


Most importantly, this calculator quantifies—in pure business terms—the cost of password management and your organization's estimated ROI for any remediation solution you may consider. In my experience, it's possible for many companies to find a solution that pays for itself in less than a year and then contributes directly to the bottom line after that. That's about as close to immediate gratification for top management as IT can get.


Even if you have no interest in SSO, you can use the tool just to calculate your organization's current cost of managing passwords. Just fill in the assumptions on the first page, look at the calculated cost results on the second page, skip the third page, and ignore the solution cost and ROI results on the fourth page.


The calculator is easy to use. For calculating your current password management costs, you just need to fill in your answers to about a dozen questions related to your end users, administrators, and help desk personnel. (See Figure 1). There are questions about the number of people in each of these roles. There are questions about the amount of time people in these roles spend on password-related tasks (e.g., making changes, debugging problems, etc.). There are also a couple of questions related to the average burden rate for people in these roles. "Burden rate" is an accounting term. It includes not only salary, but a variety of other costs, such as benefits, work space, phone, etc. For better accuracy of results, you might want to get input from a manager or the accounting department regarding burden rates. But if you're just interested in a ballpark figure, you can fill in your best guess -- after all, you can always fill in different numbers later.



Figure 1: Fill out the form.


Once you've filled in the assumptions on the first page, click the tab for the second page. There you will find information about how much it costs your organization to manage passwords. Figure 2 shows the Organizational Costs and Assumptions page.



Figure 2: See what password management costs your company.


You need only pay attention to the top half of the page. It contains the yearly cost calculations for creating and deleting user IDs; password management costs; the portion of that cost related to end users, administrators, and the help desk; and the percentage of the total user ID and password management costs attributable only to password management.


The bottom half of the page contains costs over a specified period of time in years. These costs are calculated from the previous data multiplied by the time period. These values are used for the ROI calculation.


There are a couple of tips and tricks for getting more accurate results with the calculator. The most important one has to do with the average time it takes average users to change their passwords. My experience is that many administrators underestimate the time the average user spends on "password change day." In addition, I suggest that, whatever number you come up with, you add a little bit of padding to cover the amount of time spent by users who have problems changing their passwords or logging in at a later time.


If you're interested in the methodology that drove the creation of the SSO ROI calculator, go to the http://www.botzandassociates.com home page and view the "Evaluating SSO ROI" video. If you would like someone to help you use the calculator or analyze the results, just go to the "Contact Us" page and fill in your name, email and/or phone number, and what kind of help you would like.


In as little as a minute or two, the SSO ROI calculator will show you how much your organization currently spends managing passwords. This may be just a curiosity for you. On the other hand, your management team might also be interested in these costs as a way to reduce overhead and free up staff for more productive work. Whatever your reason, give the calculator a try and see what you find out!


Finally, we would love to hear from you about your password management costs and whether those numbers surprised you in any way. You can give us your feedback on the "Contact Us" page. Just give us your name, and provide the information about the number of users and your costs along with a short description of your reaction. If we get enough results back, we'll summarize them and pass that information along.


Pat Botz

Patrick Botz, an internationally known information security expert, is the President and CTO of Botz & Associates, a firm specializing in information security services for IBM i, AIX, UNIX, and Linux environments. 

With decades of experience in key system security positions, Patrick's expertise includes security strategy; security policy enforcement; password management and single sign-on; industry and government compliance; and biometrics.

As Lead Security Architect at IBM and founder of the IBM Lab Services security consulting practice, Patrick worked with IBM customers worldwide and achieved intimate knowledge of system security capabilities and pitfalls on a broad spectrum of platforms, with special emphasis on IBM i (formerly AS/400), AIX, Linux and Unix operating systems. He architected the SSO solution for OS/400 and i5/OS, and he holds several security-oriented patents. 

Early in his tenure at IBM, Patrick lead the AIX workstation tools team for CAD/CAM systems in Rochester, MN. Previous to IBM, he worked for Control Data Corporation with responsibility for CDC's Basic compiler, and for ETA Systems, Inc., a wholly owned supercomputer manufacturing subsidiary of CDC, where he was the team leader for the distributed, Unix-based Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD) tools.

Patrick is the author of numerous trade press articles and a co-author of the book Expert's Guide to OS/400 and i5/OS SecurityIn addition, he is a worldwide speaker on various platform-specific and general security topics.



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: