Password management should be an integral part of your cloud administration plan. A definitive tutorial about passwords is beyond the scope of this book; however, cloud administrators should refer to the best practices recommended in Chapter 4 of NIST Special Publication Guide to Enterprise Password Management.

Browser-based access to the OpenStack cloud, whether through the dashboard or other applications, introduces additional considerations. Modern browsers all support some form of password storage and autofilling of credentials for remembered sites. This can be useful when using strong passwords that cannot be easily remembered or typed, but may cause the browser to become the weak link if the physical security of the client is compromised. If the browser’s password store itself is not protected by a strong password, or if the password store is allowed to remain unlocked for the duration of the session, unauthorized access to your system can be easily obtained.

Password management applications such as KeePassX and Password Safe can be useful as most support the generation of strong passwords and periodic reminders to generate new passwords. Most importantly, the password store remains unlocked only briefly, which reduces the risk of password exposure and unauthorized resource access through browser or system compromise.