Open Sesame! As a child, perhaps you had a fort, tree house, or maybe just your bedroom where you required others to use a password to enter. It was a fun way to control who entered your space. However, in today’s society, passwords are such a common thing that they have, perhaps, become a necessary nuisance. And, for many people, the statement(s) they dislike seeing/hearing are “What is your password” or “create a password”.

After all, creating a password means coming up with a series of letters, numbers and characters that are unique to you and a particular account. But beyond the creation of the password, becomes the need to remember said passwords. Considering the experts now say a password should be a minimum of 16 digits, keeping up with several passwords can seem like a job in itself- never mind the tasks associated with many logins! Thankfully, there is a way to make keeping up with passwords easier.

However, despite the ease of use a password manager offers, surprisingly few people actually use one. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey found that only 39% of people use a password manager! Despite the low percentage of people using them, this in no way means they are not needed.

10 Benefits of Using a Password Manager

  1. Only One Password to Remember – Nearly everything you do online requires a password. Whether it is shopping at your favorite store, logging into your bank account or playing a game, passwords are a must. But recalling which password goes with what account is often a challenge. And constantly clicking “forgot my password” gets annoying. By having a password manager, you only have to keep up with one password.
  2. It Can Create a Unique Password for You – Using common things like 123456, password, etc. has never been a safe choice when making a password, yet people are still doing so. Sadly, this approach to password creation makes it easy for those with nefarious plans to get into your account. Of course, people often do this because they want something simple to remember. Password managers are now designed to come up with a custom password for you, then store it for you in your password management account. So, no more stress to come up with a good password, or have to remember it!
  3. A Password Manager Allows You to Lock Passwords Behind Biometrics – Virtually every device used today uses biometrics to be unlocked. Most reputable password management tools are designed in the same way. So, even if a hacker manages to access the management account, they won’t get anywhere without your fingerprint, facial reference or some other biometric element.
  4. Autofill – Using a password manager means that you don’t have to spend time entering your credentials into an account. The Password Manager will add the info without sacrificing your security.
  5. They Work Across Multiple Devices – Set up your password management account on one device, then add the app to your other devices. Then, no matter what device you are using, you can log in to accounts with ease. Also, if you change a password on an account via one device, it automatically updates everything between the devices.
  6. You can Easily Access Your Accounts – Have you ever been standing in the checkout line and remember that you have coupons for that store, saved in your app? However, when you go to the app, you can’t log in because you don’t recall the password. If you have a password manager set up, no worries. The manager makes it easy to look up the password and get those discounts.
  7. Collaboration made easy – Do you need to share a log in with a co-worker? Rather than risk sending it via email or text, you can send it through the password manager. No more risk of it being intercepted.
  8. You Can Have Stronger Passwords – Today, experts are saying that an effective password needs to at least 16 digits. Be it a string of random letters, symbols and numbers or a group of seeming disconnected words, remembering a long password is tough! But with a password manager, you don’t have to be concerned about creating along password. Simply come up with that difficult phrase, add to the manager and let the password tool do the recall.
  9. More that Passwords Can Be Stored – While not available in every password management tool offers this feature, most of them are also designed to securely store credit card information. Then, when you need to access the information, they have additional security questions to add extra protection.
  10. Manage Your Business – If you are a business owner, it is important to keep up with the people on your team. A password manager lets you see who is using what services in the program, so you can be sure that the right people have the tools they need.

The Danger of Using a Password Manager

Although having an unique, randomly generated password for all your accounts is way more safe than using the same password for all your accounts, the obvious danger of using a password manager, is that all your passwords are in there, and if a hacker manages to gain access to that account, then they may have access to all of your passwords. If you haven’t already heard, one of the largest password manager services, LastPass, posted in December that they were hacked. Since the account itself is encrypted by Lastpass, it’s still unknown just how much data the hackers ended up getting. If you use their service, it would be a good idea to reset your master account password immediately, and begin resetting all your other passwords as well to be safe – starting with the most sensitive accounts such as banking, investing, etc.

If you do use a password manager, you should look for the highest encryption option in your account and use that, and it’s still a good idea to generate new passwords for sensitive accounts regularly….perhaps every time you log in, build that into your routine to generate a new randomly generated password. Another trick, albeit a bit of a cumbersome one, is to always include a short word or phrase at the end of all of your randomly generated passwords and do not save that short phrase in your password manager. So, if your randomly generated banking password is “QyMPuuPnwo2z2E” then save it in your password manager that way, but actually include the name of your pet at the end of it in your actual account, such as “QyMPuuPnwo2z2ETabby.” That way you only have to remember that one easy word, and you still have a randomly generated password for every site…but you have to remember to carefully add that phrase to the autofilled passwords before you log into sites (hence the “cumbersome” part mentioned earlier). This way, if someone hacks your password manager account, they still don’t have your complete passwords.

Also, if your accounts offer 2-Factor Authentication, you should definitely enable that. So every time you log into an account, you have to also put in a code that is texted to your phone, or better yet use a rolling code generator app such as Authy to log into the site along with your password. That makes it less likely for a hacker to gain access to that account even if your password was exploited. Some sites support logging in using your phone or a 3rd party hardware key such as the Yubico.

Using a password management tool can be a boon to any business or individual. There is no such thing as a 100% secure site, but they are designed to keep your information safe. When you set your password manager tool, choose with care and select a strong password. That password combined with biometrics will ensure your passwords are protected.

Choosing the perfect password manager for your needs might take a little bit of time, but if it means you can get things done effectively, then it is time well spent. If you have questions about the perfect password tool for you, be sure to reach out to the team at Page Progressive.