Why Microsoft 365 login security is vital to your organization
Security: Microsoft 365 PIN vs password - What’s the difference?
- Secures your account: Passwords and PINs ultimately serve the same purpose: they’re used to secure your account. And they do that in a similar way…
- Use of characters: Both passwords and PINs require you to enter characters (numbers, letters, etc.) to unlock your account.
- Typically numeric: Unlike passwords, Microsoft Account PINs are numeric by default, like your ATM PIN. However, it is possible to add other characters, but you will have to tick the “Include letters and symbols” box during the PIN setup process.
- Shorter: Microsoft 365 passwords can be as long as 256 characters. While most people don’t make them that lengthy, passwords generally are much longer than PINs. The length of a PIN is typically four numbers.
- Device specific: A key difference between an Microsoft 365 PIN vs password is, the former is device specific. Unlike a password that can be used on any computer, tablet, or phone, your PIN is attached to just one device. This is an important security feature that you’ll learn about in more detail later in this article.
The problem with passwords
Your password can also be stolen if it’s intercepted while in transmission to the server, through a phishing attack, or if your password is guessed. While everyone likes the idea of a complex password for security purposes, most people don’t use one. According to password management company NordPass, millions of people are using easily guessed passwords like “123456” and “password.” It’s hard to blame people for this, especially when the average person has 100 passwords. It’s human nature to want tasks to be as simple and easy as possible. The problem is, from a password standpoint, easy for the user is also easy theft for the hacker.
3 ways a PIN is better than a password
1. Tied to a specific device
2. Backed by Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
3. Better user experience
Last but not least, PINs offer a better user experience than passwords. As you may recall from earlier in this article, PINs are typically much shorter than passwords and are meant to be simple in nature. Often PINs only use numerals. For these reasons, you’ll experience a quicker login with a PIN and won’t waste time like you would if you forgot an overly complex password. According to Gartner, 40% of all support calls are due to password resets, which are expensive. Forrester Research has found that each password reset costs an enterprise around $70.