1. Your passwords are not secure
I have used these passwords. I know you’ve used these passwords. Since becoming a developer, I have also become the keeper of other people’s passwords. I see firsthand how terrible and insecure they are. These are important passwords. The ones that are protecting domain accounts, web host accounts, databases with all your precious site data.
Generally, I change them to something secure and unintelligible and give them back, much to the annoyance (I surmise) of my clients. But part of my job is to help clients protect the sites I build & maintain for them.
2. You’re using the same one or slight variations for many different things
Bad enough that your passwords are terrible, but you’re using them everywhere. That means the next time Dropbox, or Evernote or Twitter gets hacked and your password gets compromised, the thieves now have the key to your email, your bank accounts, and who knows what else.
3. Your passwords are secure, but you can’t remember them.
So you’ve gone ahead and used the password generator or come up with a string of random letters (upper and lower case even!), numbers and sp3cia! characters. But you never want to login anywhere because it’s such a pain in the @ss.
Let’s face it, you need a password manager.
Features of Good Password Manager
A password manager should free you of your password woes in the following ways:
- It should store all your information securely.
- It should make logging into your various accounts easy.
- It should sync your data and allow you to access your passwords on your computer and (preferably) your mobile devices.
Which password manager should you choose?
Honestly, as soon as you start using something you’ll be 1000 times better off than you are using the spreadsheet, memory, notepad methods. If you’re someone who likes to know ALL the options before you choose something, I’ll have some links for you further down.
The tool I used for password management is 1Password by AgileBits. I have been using it since 2009. Within 24 hours of installing the free trial, I knew that I could never go back. I have the iOS version on my phone as well. I’ve been a 1Password evangelist for many years:
— Kronda (@kronda) December 19, 2012
- It has all the features listed above.
- My password to everything now is ‘⌘ + \' which is the shortcut to fill in passwords. SO EASY!
- When logging into new sites, 1Password can generate a new secure password and automatically save it.
- When updating passwords that are already in the app, 1Password will ask if you want to update the saved entry.
- I can use it to auto-fill online forms. I can have as many ‘identities’ as I want. I have one for home, one for business, one for my wife and a fake one for testing forms that I’m building.
- In addition to passwords, it also stores secure notes, software license information, credit card and bank information
- My passwords sync automatically between devices so I always have them with me.
- They recently added shared vaults so you can share passwords securely with other 1Password users.
- AgileBits has always been incredibly responsive and helpful on the rare occasions when I’ve needed support.
But hey, don’t take my word for it:
Want other options? Here are some reviews of other password management options, some of them free. I don’t have experience with any of them, so if you try one, let me know how you like it.
- Consumer Reports: Top 10 Password Manager Reviews
- PC Magazine: Best Password Managers
- Lifehacker: Five Best Password Managers
The important thing is that, as life becomes more and more digital, you take action to secure access to your information.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of setting up a secure system, check out our password management setup and training services.