Login Fatigue Is Plaguing Organizations, 1Password Study Finds

Photo of the 1Password App

New research posted by leading password manager vendor 1Password says “login fatigue” is actively compromising employee morale, productivity, and workplace cybersecurity in general.

Ever-toughening security guidelines are seeing employees skip multi-step login processes for easier workarounds, sharing logins, or giving up on workplace tasks altogether, researchers found.

‘Login Fatigue’ Hitting All Age Groups

The study — conducted in June and released Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022 — showed that login fatigue is common in firms that employ stringent security guidelines. This is particularly true for larger organizations where more two-factor authentication, antivirus software, and VPN use are common.

“But accessing the essential software we need to do our jobs is still too complicated, disruptive, and downright annoying — leaving employees frustrated and putting essential data and information at risk,” researchers said.

The results of the study involved 2,000 full-time US-based employees that work exclusively on computers and revealed that login fatigue impacts mental health, productivity, and organizational cybersecurity.

Nearly half of the 2,000 respondents said the act of logging in and out affected their mood and productivity negatively. The study also displayed generational differences in the US sample.

Gen Z (25 and under) was most negatively affected at 59%, followed by Millennials (ages 26-41) at 49%, and Gen X (42-57) at 47%. The Boomer generation (58-67) was much less affected at 33%.

Reports of Productivity Plummeting

Over a quarter of workers said they have completely given up on some tasks to avoid login fatigue and 62% of employees even miss parts of meetings. This results in over 10 hours of meetings on average missed, per year, the study said. Around 19% of workers also entirely skipped free perks, discounts, requesting time off, and open enrollment as a result of arduous login procedures.

“Workers have admitted to feeling more zoned out and stressed when they’re told to recall several of their logins for different accounts,” affecting their productivity the study said.

Furthermore, 45% of employees prefer using personal email accounts for single sign-on (SSO) at work leaving companies vulnerable because they cannot monitor them for security risks. SSO is a process that gives employees one password to sign in to services, which streamlines work processes. However, improper use of SSO is also a cybersecurity risk. This also ties into BYOD culture (Bring Your Own Device) which tends to present equivalent risks.

As a result, 1Password found that login fatigue had a knock-on effect on cybersecurity in that 38% of employees skipped or delegated the incorporation of security tools and were less concerned about security threats. The higher up one is in an organization, such as those in executive positions, the less they know or care about security, researchers also noted.

Security Should Not Be Taken Lightly

We find ourselves in a time where multi-tasking is the norm and distractions are everywhere, which may explain why younger generations like Gen Z prefer more modern one-click solutions to classical, arduous, multi-layered login processes.

Then again, proper cybersecurity practices will not be a one-click solution if data is to be kept safe. Until all-encompassing security standards like zero trust can be realistically implemented in organizations, we should not expect to take cybersecurity lightly. In the future, however, quantum cybersecurity and cutting-edge encryption technologies may alleviate the need to log in altogether.

At the moment though, a large portion of the workforce is working remotely and is still bound to passwords. When it comes to easing the burden of logging in, password managers like 1Password can help a great deal by consolidating several logins into one heavily-secured and encrypted vault.

Tech researcher & communications specialist
Mirza has an education background in Global Communications, has worked in advertising, marketing, journalism and television over the years while living in several different countries. He is now working to consolidate news and outreach at VPNoverview.com, while in his free time he likes to work on documentary projects, read about sociology and write about world events.