So much of our lives are stored online today. Our businesses accounts, personal records, emails, and banking details are all stored online. And what’s the key to this sensitive information? Our passwords. The more accounts that we accumulate, the more passwords we have to remember. And after a certain point, it’s easy to form some bad password management habits, like re-using the same password or storing them on post-it notes. There must be a better way to manage all these passwords securely and easily.
Bad Habits and How to Break Them
29% of internet users have more password-protected accounts than they can keep track of (Dataprot). Most of us average between 11-25 accounts. Unfortunately, keeping that many passwords straight in your head isn’t a simple task, and this sheer volume often leads to bad security habits as we sign up, click accept and move along.
Top Bad Password Habits
- Re-using the same password for multiple accounts
- Using common words and phrases
- Keeping the same password for years
- Writing passwords down in a non-secure location
- Sharing passwords in email or text message
We’ve all been guilty of these bad password habits at one time or another. Moreover, these habits make our accounts easier to hack. So aside from simply installing anti-virus software, how else can we protect our personal data online? And how do we keep up with so many passwords without having to go through hitting that “forgot my password” button every time we try to login?
Getting Started with Better Password Management
First, it’s a good idea to see where your data security is at currently. An online tool like “Have I Been Pwned?” can give you an idea if you’re dealing with any current exposed data. They keep a record of all the recent data breaches and the affected email addresses, and a quick search can prove to be very enlightening.
Top Ways to Better Manage Your Passwords
- Use a unique, complex password for each site
- Securely store your passwords
- Change your passwords on a regular basis
- Set up 2-step verification with your cell phone for added protection
If you need some help creating passwords, check out this article from Support.com on how to write your own, and remember them.
Next, for storing your login information, there’s always the old pen and paper approach, but it has some drawbacks. If you don’t keep the list with you 24/7, then you may not have access to information that you need, when you need it. It’s also more difficult to update these lists as they become bulky, and you can lose or damage them.
If you opt to store sensitive information on your computer, don’t ever label them as passwords. Also, always make sure your data is behind an encryption. There are a great many options when it comes to managing your passwords securely and easily online, but perhaps one of the easiest and more modern methods is to use a password manager.
Manage Passwords with a Password Manager
The #1 thing you can do to drastically improve the security of your business (and personal life for that matter) is to use a password manager. They’re inexpensive, easy to use and much more secure than any post-it note or Google spreadsheet.
Overall, password managers are amazing multi-functional tools that make password mayhem a thing of the past. 73% of people consider forgetting passwords the most frustrating aspect of account security (Dataprot). These services store your passwords securely for you in one convenient database, accessible with only one single master password to rule them all.
Password managers also make creating complex and unique passwords a breeze by automatically generating stronger ones and saving them for you. They are also wonderful for business owners, as they allow for passwords to be securely shared with colleagues and coworkers. They never even need to know the actual password, so no need to change them after.
Also, some password managers even audit your current passwords for you. This keeps you from re-using them and having ‘old’ passwords that haven’t been changed recently.
These services can also be used for storing other sensitive personal information like drivers license information, social security numbers, or other personal notes that you’d like to keep safe. And the best part is? Password managers usually integrate right into your browser, and will automatically prompt to save passwords or automatically fill in sign-in information for you. Password managers are a great way to store and protect your personal information securely and easily.
Top Password Manager Options
According to PC Mag, when it comes to password management, Keeper, Lastpass, and Dashlane are some of the top contenders in their field. They were named some of the best password managers of 2020, and you can read much more in-depth reviews about them to see which option may be right for you here.
Lastpass is a great option for beginners with it’s ease of use. Keeper is cited as being best for secure cross-platform password management. Dashlane is loaded with security-focused extras, and Bitwarden is rated as best for open-source password management. There is a password manager to fit every style and budget, making them an excellent option for protecting your information. It’s all about finding the right fit for you and your business.
Keeping Your Information Secure in the Future
So whether you prefer the old pen and paper approach or the use of software, keeping your personal information private should always be your top priority online. Personal data breaches are becoming more common every year. Not only can they affect you personally, but they can affect your work and anyone else’s information that your computer may contain. That’s why it’s so important to take action before there’s an issue. So don’t wait, manage your passwords properly today.