Counting the cost of forgotten passwords

Forgetting a password doesn't seem so trivial when faced with the fact that each related IT helpdesk call costs a business around £15

Up to 80 percent of calls received by helpdesk staff are from end users who've forgotten their passwords -- and with each support call costing organisations around £15, the problem is not as trivial as it may sound.

Over 35 percent of respondents to a survey carried out by service management software specialist Axios Systems said that password queries accounted for between 40 and 60 percent of all calls received by their company's IT helpdesk.

Some 22.5 percent said password issues represented between 20 and 40 percent of helpdesk calls, with 6.5 percent putting the figure at 60 to 80 percent.

Research group Meta has calculated that every support call costs organisations approximately $25 (£15).

Ailsa Symeonides, sales and marketing director of Axios Systems, said: "The results show the central importance of having a system for rapid resetting of passwords. Many helpdesks are becoming clogged with problems caused by staff forgetting or mis-keying their passwords."

The 2002 NTA Monitor Password Survey recently found that the typical intensive IT user now has 21 passwords, with some heavy users maintaining up to 70 passwords.

The Axios survey was conducted among delegates at the annual conference of the UK IT Service Management Forum.

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