If you rely on sticky notes to remember your passwords, it’s time to ditch that high-risk habit.
Password managers offer absolute peace of mind for storing passwords. They guarantee you’ll never forget that cryptic phrase, while they’re also a great defense against a potential hack.
Better still — they give you a secure, easy way to manage an array of login details:
- Keeping passwords safe
- Enabling auto-fill of forms
- Syncing data across devices
So if you haven’t downloaded one yet, we have a few suggestions to try.
But first: let’s dive into what password managers are.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is like a digital bank vault.
It encrypts and stores sensitive login information in a secure hideaway, then makes it available whenever you want to access a website, an app, or another online service. Truth be told, password managers offer more than plain storage.
They can generate unique, hyper-secure credentials that keep your accounts safe, while also making sure you never use the same password twice — and this second feature is of huge importance.
….as you might have seen in the news, security breaches of major service providers are commonplace.
In fact, just a few months ago certain apps published the personal details (including the passwords!) of some 540 million Facebook users to public Amazon servers. The lesson?
You need unique passwords per website to keep different accounts secure; so if there’s a breach on one, a hacker can’t use a single stolen password to access all your accounts.
What else do password managers do?
Well, they don’t help with just passwords…
They can store other information as well. If you download the right password manager, you’ll never have to recall usernames, shipping addresses, even credit card information — and you can often use a master password, PIN, or fingerprint to autofill fields.
Plus, if you need to save long-form content, there are apps with encrypted storage that can handle documents as well.
Now, onto our pick of the best password managers of 2019.
LastPass — ‘Best Free Service’
- Free version available
- Subscription: From $36/year
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS — browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Opera
A fair few password managers come with a free version, but LastPass offers the most extensive free service.
— How so?
LastPass doesn’t put a restriction on how many devices you can sync meaning you can autofill login details, passwords, and sensitive information across desktop, mobile, even between browsers.
….and if you need to share access with another person, you can do that too.
The premium service starts at $36 per year, allowing you to share passwords and logins — as well as access to membership services — with pre-selected emergency contacts. You can also use multi-factor authentication via YubiKey, switch on fingerprint scanning, and enjoy up to 1GB of encrypted storage.
The family plan costs $48 per year and comes with six different accounts; it also includes shared folders, alongside a dashboard for account management.
Does LastPass have a downside? Well, potentially.
A private user discovered a security flaw that meant hackers could theoretically access passwords…. BUT, no hack occurred and the team quickly fixed the defect.
1Password — ‘Best Subscription Service’
- Free Trial Available
- Subscription: From $36/year
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iOS — browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Opera
If you’re happy to pay for password management, 1Password is a great option. The app includes a ‘Master Password’ feature that gives you access to all the services and accounts you need, when you need.
While 1Password does not offer a free version, a 30-day free trial gives plenty of time to decide if it’s the password manager for you.
Once you’ve tested it out, you can confirm your subscription for $36 per year and enjoy 1GB of document storage with multi-factor authentication as an added security measure, if needed.
If travel is a big part of your life, travel easy knowing you can delete sensitive information when you’re away from home, then use 1-click restore the moment you return.
MacOS also offers Touch ID login, while iOS devices are Face ID compatible.
The family plan is $60 per year with five individual accounts storing passwords, credit card information, and whatever else a family might need — with a simple sharing feature helping parents rest easy should an emergency strike.
There’s also the option of creating a private guest account, which is perfect for sharing details like Wi-Fi or system codes with visitors and guests.
Bitwarden — ‘Best of the Rest’
- Free Trial Available
- Subscription: From $10/year
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS — browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave
Not everyone wants to pay $36 per year to remember a few passwords, and we get that.
Still, there’s a certain peace of mind in paying something for absolute security.
Introducing — Bitwarden: the economical, open-source encryption software that lets users store passwords, and autofill login fields, across multiple devices and the majority of browsers.
Where Bitwarden comes into its own is in its low-priced subscription option. While the feature-set is more modest than other paid-for services; for just $10 per year, you can enjoy 1GB of encrypted file storage alongside unlimited password management and sharing.
Bitwarden does offer a free option, but if you’re looking for something free — we’ll always suggest LastPass.
Setting Up Your Password Manager
Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to get on with setting up your password manager.
The services we’ve suggested have extremely simple UXs (part of the reason we like them), so all you need to do is download the app or browser extension — and you’re good to go.
- Your password manager will record usernames and passwords each time you sign in to a new service;
- When you come back, the password manager will autofill the necessary fields.
We recommend you always let your password manager suggest unique passwords for each service you use.
But please note…. if you use a service with a Master Password, this is the one credential you have to remember as the company behind the app won’t store this detail (which is a good thing as it keeps your data safe in the event of a breach).
That said, even if you forget your Master Password — you can always hit reset and start over with a new account.
Does your business struggle with account security? Then give us a call on 207-236-0021, and we can discuss how to keep your systems secure.