What Password Policies Should Schools Implement?

Password policies in schools are critical for ensuring security and protecting sensitive information. Here are some recommended password policies for schools:


1. Complexity Requirements: Require passwords to be a certain length (e.g., at least 8-12 characters) and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Discourage the use of easily guessable passwords, such as “password,” “123456,” or common words/phrases. This complexity makes passwords harder to crack.


2. Regular Password Changes: Encourage or enforce regular password changes (e.g., every 90 days). However, balance this with not making the changes too frequent, as it can lead to weaker passwords being chosen.


3. Unique Passwords: Encourage students, teachers, and staff to use unique passwords for school accounts. Reusing passwords across multiple accounts increases vulnerability if one account is compromised.


4. Password Storage: Store passwords securely using encryption or hashing techniques to prevent unauthorized access even if the database is breached.


5. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Implement 2FA where possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to a mobile device, in addition to the password.


6. Restrictions on Previous Passwords: Prevent users from reusing recent passwords to ensure they don’t cycle through the same few passwords repeatedly.


7. Education and Training: Offer training to students and staff on the importance of strong passwords, how to create them, and how to recognize phishing attempts or other security threats.


8. Account Lockouts: Implement measures that temporarily lock accounts after a certain number of failed login attempts to prevent brute force attacks.


9. Administrative Access: Limit administrative access and ensure that only authorized personnel have the necessary privileges to manage passwords and user accounts.


10. Regular Audits and Reviews: Periodically review and audit user accounts and passwords to identify weak or compromised accounts.


Remember, while these policies can significantly enhance security, it’s also important to balance security with usability. Too many restrictions might lead to user frustration and workarounds that could compromise security. Regularly revisiting and updating these policies according to the school’s evolving needs and security landscape is crucial.


Contact Fortabyte Cyber Solutions for a free consultation.