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What is Password Synchronization?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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It is estimated that many computer users, especially in large organizations, may have 10 to 20 user IDs. Each one of those requires its own password. As such remembering all those user IDs and passwords can be daunting. Password synchronization is a way to make a computer user's life just a little bit easier by synchronizing passwords so that they all match across multiple systems.

The advantages of password synchronization are clear. Those who do so tend to remember their passwords more easily. Also, though some say a uniform password for a user could decrease security, password synchronization may actually help enhance security, because there will be less of a reason for users to write down passwords.

Although it may be possible to achieve password synchronization manually, there are software applications that have been developed to automate the process. The software usually operates one of two ways, through a transparent process or a Web-based process. The transparent process of password synchronization begins to work after a password change happens in one application. It then goes and changes all other passwords for which it is set up. In the Web-based process, passwords are changed by the user on the Internet.

The streamlined process can save money as well. If a user has to go and change up to 20 passwords individually, that can take a tremendous amount of time. Often, systems require users to change their passwords periodically in order to lessen the risk of unauthorized access. However, when password synchronization happens all at once, users can get back to their original purpose much quicker. This can help a business increase productivity.

In addition to the password synchronization, the software can also help administrators in other ways. The software can detect when a password change requirement is coming up and send an e-mail reminder to the user. This can allow the user to handle this administrative duty at a time when, perhaps, they are not so busy, providing a little flexibility for the user.

Further, while users can use a password synchronization system to change all their passwords at once, there may be a situation where a user needs to maintain a password that is separate, or not the same, as the others. Password synchronization software also can take this into account, allowing users to change only those passwords desired.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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