Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing Stronger Password Policies and Practices

November 18, 20234 min read

Cybersecurity is an essential aspect of modern technology management, and a strong password policy is vital for protecting sensitive information and resources. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you implement stronger password policies and practices, complete with code examples.

Step 1: Assess Current Password Policies

Start by examining your current password policies, which could be stored in your Identity and Access Management (IAM) system or documented in internal security policies.

# Pseudo-code to review current password policies
def get_current_password_policy():
policy = iam_system.get_password_policy()
print(“Current Password Policy:”, policy)


Step 2: Define Password Complexity Requirements

Create a policy that defines the complexity requirements for passwords. This should include a minimum length, the use of both lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

# Example of setting a new password policy
new_policy = {
“minimum_length”: 12,
“require_uppercase”: True,
“require_lowercase”: True,
“require_numbers”: True,
“require_symbols”: True,

Step 3: Implement Password Expiration and Rotation

Set an expiration period after which the user must change their password, and implement a password history that prevents reusing the same passwords.

# Update the password policy with expiration and rotation
“expiration_days”: 90,
“password_history_count”: 5,


Step 4: Educate Users on Good Password Practices

Conduct training sessions and distribute guidelines that educate users on creating strong passwords and maintaining good password hygiene.

Step 5: Enforce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

To add an additional layer of security, enforce MFA, which requires a second form of identification before granting access.

# Enable MFA on the IAM system

Step 6: Regularly Audit and Update Password Practices

Schedule regular audits to review and update your password practices based on the evolving threat landscape.

For example, you might run a script to ensure compliance:

# Check for users not complying with MFA enforcement
non_compliant_users = iam_system.get_users_without_mfa()
print(f”Users without MFA: {non_compliant_users}”)

Step 7: Utilize Account Lockout Policies

Implement account lockout policies to hinder brute-force attacks. Allow a few failed login attempts before locking the account for a certain period or until an admin resets the password.

# Update the account lockout policy
“failed_attempts_limit”: 5,
“lockout_duration_minutes”: 30,


Step 8: Use Password Managers

Encourage the use of password managers to generate and store complex passwords, which prevents the reuse of passwords and reduces the risk of password theft.

Step 9: Develop Secure Password Recovery Mechanisms

Implement secure and user-friendly password recovery options that use personal verification steps or MFA to reset passwords safely.

Step 10: Monitor and Respond to Suspicious Activities

Monitor login attempts and set up alerts for unusual activities. Use security information and event management (SIEM) systems to track and respond quickly.

# Here’s a pseudo-code event monitoring setup:
siem_system.monitor(iam_system.events, alert_function)

def alert_function(event):
if event.is_suspicious():

Step 11: Implement Password Salting and Hashing

To further secure passwords stored in databases, implement password salting (adding random data to each password) and hashing (a one-way cryptographic function).

# Here’s an example using the bcrypt library in Python:
import bcrypt

def hash_password(password):
salt = bcrypt.gensalt()
hashed_password = bcrypt.hashpw(password.encode(‘utf-8’), salt)
return hashed_password

hashed = hash_password(“Secure*Pass123”)