What Password Policies should I Implement for School and Classroom Computers?

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Classroom computers need to be safeguarded for the safety of the students.Creating a good password for the classroom computers is crucial for the safety of the children. It is, therefore, good to set some policies in place while creating passwords for the computers. Some of the possible policies may include:

Length

I recommend a minimum of six (preferably eight) characters in a password for students and regular users and a minimum of fifteen characters for ‘secure data users.’ The reason for this is because the time one takes to crack a password increases exponentially with its length.

Complexity

Passwords should contain at least one alpha, one numeric and one non-alphanumeric character (a symbol). Complexity is, however, a double edged sword because if you are using just six characters, only 27% of the total possible passwords would meet the complexity requirement.

Repetition

This disallows use of a certain number of previous passwords. It is used to ensure that a user does not keep using two passwords over and over again by alternating between them. If this was set to five, then one would not be able to use any of their previous five passwords.

Forced Changes

Password changes may also be forced by the system at regular time intervals. For regular users, an interval of a year is generally good enough, but secure data users should probably be asked to forcibly change their password two to four times a year. If the change frequency is low, compromised passwords have a higher value, but if the frequency is too high, it is more likely that users will take steps that make their personal password management easier, such as writing passwords down on post-it notes which nullifies any intended benefit of a frequent change.

Never share passwords with other employees, including your assistant. If a group of people need access to the same files or applications, they should be granted that access with their own login. In fact, a good IT organization will never ask for your password.

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Discuss Here: What are some policies on passwords that exist in your classroom/school?

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