The days of keeping your passwords on a sticky note or scribbled in a notebook are long gone. So are the days of using Qwerty, Password, or your last name as a secure password. According to recent research, the average person has 70-80 passwords including business accounts, bank accounts, social media platforms, email, and logins. Eighty passwords is a bit much even for the brightest among us. This is where a password manager becomes critically important for both business and personal use. Think about how many logins you need to remember just to get your day started. Most likely you checked your smartphone, logged in to your email, checked your social media, maybe even opened up some documents to peruse before work. That means four logins before your feet even touched the floor for the day. For the average human, the amount of logins needed daily is too much to remember on their own. Unfortunately, coming up with a solution to recall all of them can be an issue. The 2019 Google Online Security Survey found 52 percent of respondents reused the same password for multiple (but not all) accounts. This is a big no-no.At Spectra Networks, we have encountered some less than stellar practices such as keeping a list posted on a bulletin board, using the same password for each login, and insecure sharing of passwords. Instead of creating a potential security vulnerability, we suggest password managers for our clients to handle the vast amount of passwords needed on any given day.
What is a Password Manager?
Simply put, a password manager is a software application designed to store and manage online credentials. It also generates passwords that are strong and unique. Usually, these passwords are stored in an encrypted database and locked behind a master password. The user can then access the many logins by using the master password to unlock all usernames and passwords. According to MalwareBytes, “Once all your account usernames and passwords have been entered into the vault, your master password is the only one you have to commit to memory. Entering your master password unlocks your password vault, and from your vault you can then retrieve whatever password you need.”
How Does a Password Manager Work?
Password Managers are fairly simple to set up and work. The first step in getting your business or your family set up, is to research the many managers at your disposal. We have listed some of the top password managers below with links to get you started. Once you have chosen a manager that works for your type of business or for your family, you will want to download the password manager mobile app as well as a browser extension. Depending upon your device(s) you can download to multiple areas such as your desktop, tablet, smartphone, and laptop. Once the download is complete you will want to create a password for the vault. This will be your master password that can unlock all passwords. Since this is the case, you will want to be very careful in what you choose. Be sure to use something strong and unique, utilizing letters, numbers, and special characters. You will need to create a password that is more than 12 characters long but that you can easily remember without reading off a piece of paper. From here on out, this will be the only password you need to remember.From there, you will need to start logging into your accounts. When you log into your online accounts, your password manager software will ask if you want to save this password. You answer “yes” and it’s logged into your secure vault that you can have the app recall later.Once all your accounts have been logged in you may want to go through each account and change the password to a strong and unique one.
Benefits of a Password Manager
Businesses across the globe can benefit from using this type of software. Password managers can help keep your business and personal credentials secure and prevent sensitive information from being leaked. While a password manager is no guarantee that you won’t fall victim to hacking or a data breach, it will improve your security situation exponentially. One of the biggest things our clients rave about once they switch to a password manager is the fact that only one password needs to be remembered in order to access all accounts, logins, and credentials. No longer will you struggle after a vacation, or even a weekend, to remember the litany of passwords you use on a daily basis. Changing and adding passwords as needed is also extremely easy as well. Once the initial password manager is set up, the program becomes extremely easy to maintain and access. As you add clients or customers, their data can be kept separately and securely. Add to this the fact that you can access your passwords on all your devices and this software is a no brainer. One of the most common IT help desk activities is password retrieval. With a password manager, this becomes much easier and also allows them to monitor and audit passwords from afar.Depending upon the manager that you choose, another benefit is that the cost is minimal. There are many that are free, while others have additional safety features that may have an annual fee but overall the cost is minimal, especially given the security that is gained. As far as security goes, password managers are a great investment. They protect against phishing attacks which are one of the most common and effective ways login credentials are stolen. They also support two factor authentication which adds an extra layer of protection such as a challenge question or PIN that is texted to the user’s phone.
Top Password Managers of 2020
According to Safety Detectives online, “Every minute, businesses worldwide lose an estimated $2.9 million to cybercrime. And poor password management is by far the biggest cause of company data breaches.”They report that while businesses could spend a ton of money on cybersecurity such as encrypting sensitive data and putting up firewalls, without strong passwords, no other security measures will work. Here are some of the top password managers of 2020 that may help you and your business get started on securing your passwords. Dashlane is currently being touted as one of the top managers for your passwords this year. They offer all the features we have discussed for free, or your business can upgrade to a premium, or premium plus package for more in depth security features. Dashlane is one of the most feature-rich and easy-to-use password managers available.LastPass is also an excellent choice for small and mid-sized businesses. It has a well-designed interface, autofill capabilities, and great tech support. They use strong encryption and multifactor authentication to beef up their security protocols. LastPass can be used with: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge and Opera. 1Password has a really good family plan, making it way more cost-effective than competing brands. Each family member gets two password vaults, a private vault and a shared vault. Each private vault belongs exclusively to that family member. The shared vault is useful for storing passwords and notes. 1Password works with Windows, MacOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iPhone and iPad. Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera. RoboForm was one of the earliest commercial password managers on the market, and it has always maintained a great reputation for security. Their software allows for regular changing of passwords, easy control of access for different departments within a company, and a set of security policies for everyone within the company.
The Bottom Line …
While it would be nice to live in a world where cyber crimes are not as prevalent and remembering a password was easier than it is, password managers are a good investment for all businesses and even for personal use at home. Our specialists can talk to you about what password manager would be a good fit for your company’s needs. We can also help with installation, set up, and training for your employees so that each staff member knows how to use it and uses best security practices when it comes to your passwords. We can also help upper level managers keep the system secure after an employee leaves or is terminated. Password managers should be a part of every business's security protocols and we can help you get there.