How Do You Provide Passwords To Your Users?

SQL Server Best Practices
SQL Server Best Practices
Passwords are a necessary evil and there are times when you have to hand out a password for a SQL login (because the POS application doesn’t support Windows Authentication). Traditionally I’ve done this by sending an email to the user with the login and a separate one with the password, figuring that internal security controls would be good enough to prevent anyone from accessing both emails. Recently it came to light that all emails were being siphoned off and an information security team had access to all email that traversed our Exchange servers. Now I’m not saying that I don’t trust these guys, but there’s no way in hell I would ever let them get one of my passwords.

I needed to come up with a better solution for getting passwords to users that had a pretty good level of security around it. Yes, I know that the password can easily be set to force a change at the next login, however this does not work in a lot of cases where it will be used by an application and the person doing the configuration doesn’t have the knowledge or tools to go in and change the password themselves.

I decided that I wanted to have a two-factor authentication type method that would limit the availability to a password and that would provide the information once and once only for the user so that it would never be stored for a long period of time.

First I created a table to hold the password and a unique-identifier and nothing else. I didn’t want to store a login name along with this data just for extra security purposes. This way even if someone got access to the password they wouldn’t know what login it was for, helping with additional security.

CREATE TABLE [dbo].[PwInfo]
    (
      [AuthenticationID] [uniqueidentifier] NULL ,
      [NewPwd] [varchar](128) NULL
    )
ON  [PRIMARY]
GO

ALTER TABLE [dbo].[PwInfo] ADD  DEFAULT (NEWID()) FOR [AuthenticationID]
GO

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