There are a lot of advantages to using a password a password manager, but I am going to focus on the top three.
1. Password managers remember all of your passwords for you in a simple straightforward program. This is important because the easier a password is to remember the easier it can be compromised.
2. Because you don’t have to remember your passwords, it’s possible to have strong, unique passwords for every single one of your online accounts. Refer to our last blog post for what a strong password should look like. When using a password manager, you only have to make a single master password that unlocks that password manager itself. After that, the password manager can generate all your other passwords for you, taking strength into account
3. Password managers fill in your usernames and password automatically when you go to your websites you have credentials saved for, which means you waste less time typing them. Whether you are a heavy Internet user or not, those seconds add up to big time savings. In some jobs (social media and marketing managers for instance) it’s possible to have hundreds of logins, in which case a password manager is absolutely essential for the time savings alone.
Which Password Manager should you use?
There are three password managers that have gained critical acclaim: LastPass, Dashlane, and Roboform Everywhere. They’re all excellent, but have some noticeable differences, so you want to be sure you choose the one that best fits your needs.
For now we will just talk about LastPass but please do check out the other managers if you decide to get one.
There’s a free version of LastPass, but you can also upgrade to LastPass Premium, which costs a nominal $1 per month. The big difference between free and Premium comes down to the features you can get out of the LastPass mobile apps, but you can click on the links above for more details.
With LastPass, your usernames and passwords (and everything else you put into the account) is encrypted and stored online. When your login details are synced to your computers and mobile devices, they’re also encrypted during that delivery. When the data is at rest, it’s encrypted in such a way that even the folks at LastPass can’t see it, which means the company is literally unable to hand over your passwords to the NSA or anyone else.
Part of what we love about both versions of LastPass is that they can protect your data with different kinds of two-factor authentication. This creates a fail-safe so even if a hacker were to get a hold of your master password they wouldn’t be able to access your passwords.
First time tips:
The day you download your password manager, I recommend taking a few steps.
1. Write down your password and put it in a safe place, like on a scrap of paper and into your nightstand. If you ever forget your password manager’s password, you’re a little bit stuck and will have to do password resets on all your accounts.
2. Take a few minutes to get some of your most important passwords into the manager. Password managers will pick up your passwords as you use them, but going to the websites you use regularly, right away, will save you time in the future. It will also give you a chance to get used to the feedback and notifications that the password manager provides.
3. Down the road, you can use the password manager to help you turn all of your passwords into unique and stronger ones. Many password managers show you the number of reused passwords you have, or how many are considered “weak” by the company’s standards. I recommend you take advantage of this feature to make your entire online presence just a little more secure.