How do you manage all of your passwords effectively?
If you stop and think about it we have passwords for email, social media accounts, online stores we frequent, services like Netflix and a bunch more that we use at work!
Trying to stay on top and manage all of your passwords can be hard, especially when some passwords need special characters, letters, numbers or no more than 10 characters.
Often people try and adopt the one password for all approach. But it just doesn’t work! Not only do some passwords require a different format, but you are opening yourself up to trouble if you use the same password across all of the services you use.
How then do you remember your password. There’s a couple of approaches you can take including:
- Remember your passwords
- Write your passwords down or store them on your phone as a note
- Use password management software
Remember Your Passwords
If you choose to manage all of your passwords through memory alone, hats off to you. It might be okay when you have two, three or four passwords, or even for your services you use each day. But when happens when you need to remember the password to that account you last logged into six months ago? Chances are you hit the “forgot password link”
Quite clearly the advantage of this approach is that it’s completely free. As long as you can remember what password goes with what account you have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand we all forget things. And as we pointed out above remembering passwords for the two or three main accounts you use can be easy, but beyond that it can be a bit of a struggle.
Writing Your Passwords Down
If remembering your passwords doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you decide to write them down. Chances are you turn to this password management approach if you have a large number of accounts, or accounts that you use fairly infrequently.
Compared to memory alone the benefit here is that you won’t forget your passwords (as long as you remember where you wrote them down). In addition to this because you don’t have to remember them you may opt for more complex passwords which in general can increase the security of your account.
The problem however is that they are written down and therefore are potentially accessible to anyone. This is even worse if you store them in the notes app on your phone.
If someone manages to get their hands on your phone and can find your passwords just how many services can they access? And what information could they glean?
A potential (and low cost) solution to this problem is to use a password protected Excel file. That way you only need to remember one password to access the file where you can then detail each of your other passwords you use. This is potentially a better approach but you are still open to hackers and phishing emails that may contain a macro or other application that attempts to read your passwords.
Password Management Software
The last solution we will look at today is password management applications. There are a number of password management software providers on the market and most have a free plan to get you up and running with ease. Using a password manager can be one of the most secure ways to ensure that your passwords are protected. But like most online services there are pro’s and con’s with each provider.
We therefore break down the top 4 password management applications to help you get a head start on your password security.
Dashlane Password Manager
Dashlane provides a password management solution that lets you keep track of all your passwords, whether you use them once a day or once a year. It provides a quick and convenient way to create unique passwords for all of your accounts, and then remember, and insert them into the password field as you go to login to your various accounts.
Dashlane Password Manager – Pro’s:
- Dashlane provides a free account that allows you to store unlimited passwords on your favorite device
- Their password management tool will automatically generate and save strong, unique passwords for your accounts.
- Their paid plan allows you to sync passwords and data across multiple devices.
- The paid plan also supports 2 factor authentication for increased security.
- Dashlane provides a monitoring service and in app alerts when a company’s may have suffered a data breach putting your password at risk.
Dashlane Password Manager – Con’s:
- The premium version of Dashlane is more expensive than some of their competitors, especially when you work out the annual cost.
- Dashlane is not currently compatible with Linux, Windows Phone or Opera
- The web interface is not as modern or intuitive compared to some of their peers.
LastPass Password Manager
LastPass offers a way to say goodbye to scrappy bits of paper, sticky notes on your computer screen and other non-secure methods of password storage. Simply remember one master password and keep the rest locked up and easy to find in the LastPass password manager.
LastPass have plans for both personal and business users. Of particular interest is their free personal plan that supports a number of features not seen in competing products.
LastPass Password Manager – Pro’s:
- Compared to Dashlane LastPass allows you to access your passwords on all devices.
- The free plan of LastPass also includes support for Multi-Factory authentication.
- LastPass has a team plan that starts at just $2.42 per user, per month (for teams under 50) and includes individual vaults for each user and admin dashboards.
- The enterprise plan, starting at $4 per user, per month supports SAML single sign-on and allows for API access.
LastPass Password Manager – Con’s:
- LastPass does not offer a desktop application and only operates as a browser extension.
- LastPass does not support facial recognition like some of the other competitors on the market.
- Unlike DashLane you cannot update a large number of passwords all in one go.
True Key Password Manager
True Key is a password management solution provided by Intel Security. True Key allows you to sign in with your face or fingerprint and then logs you in everywhere else. The True Key also app protects your passwords by scrambling them with AES-256, one of the strongest encryption algorithms available.
True Key Password Manager – Pro’s
- True Key is available for free for up to 15 passwords.
- Unlike other password management solutions they have a one off yearly fee of $19.99 which some people may see as advantageous.
- True Key supports Multi-Factor authentication as standard.
True Key Password Manager – Con’s
- True Key is not currently supported on Safari for Mac (it is however supported for iOS)
- The free tier has a limitation of 15 passwords.
- The True Key solution appears to be designed more for individuals, as it does not have a business or team plan and therefore is not as suitable for organisations looking to provide a password management solution to their staff.
- Some people may not like having to pay a yearly fee upfront, even though it is a relatively low $19.99 per year.
Sticky Password is a password manager used by more than 2 million people worldwide. It also uses AES-256 encryption and has optional synchronization via local WiFi. Sticky Password also offers fingerprint scanning on supported iOS and Android phones.
Sticky Password Pro’s:
- Sticky Password supports two factor authentication on their free plan.
- The company offers the ability to buy a one off lifetime password for $149.99
- You can opt to have you data encrypted locally on your device so that it never even touches the company’s servers.
Sticky Password Con’s:
- If you choose to encrypt the passwords locally on your device you will not be able to access them elsewhere. The cloud sync option if you choose to use it is also only available on their premium plan.
- Sticky Password does not offer a monthly plan. If you don’t want to pay for a lifetime licence the annual fee is $29.99 which is more expensive than competitors.
- Sticky Password, like True Key, is designed for individuals rather than teams or business accounts and may therefore not suit everyone’s requirements.
Managing all of your passwords can be a finicky business. We have covered the three main methods out there today, each with an increasing level of sophistication. While the easiest and most classical approach may be to remember them in your own mind with an increase in the number of free password management applications on the market it may be worth taking a look to see if any of them suit your needs.