Passwords… we all hate them. We forget them, then we have to reset them, and we resort to using the same weak, password for everything, just to avoid the hassle. It’s time to break free from this password struggle and embrace the solution: a password manager!

If you've been hesitant to use a password manager or don't know where to begin, you've come to the right place. This article will guide you through the world of password managers, explaining why they are crucial and providing tips for choosing and using one effectively. Let's get started!

What is a password manager?

Living in the digital age means it’s impossible to remember all the passwords we need to use without compromising security. A password manager is a secure and convenient digital tool designed to solve this very problem.. It acts as a centralised repository for all your login credentials, allowing you to store, generate, and organise complex, unique passwords for each of your online accounts.

With a password manager, you only need to remember a single master password to access your vault of passwords. The master password is encrypted and never stored or transmitted, ensuring that only you have access to your password vault.

Why use a password manager? - The features and benefits

We’ve already touched upon a few reasons to use a password manager, but let’s dive deeper into the features and benefits:

  • Enhanced Security: Password managers generate and store complex, unique passwords for each of your online accounts. This enables every one of your online accounts to have a different password and eliminates the need to remember them all and reduces the risk of weak or easy to guess passwords.
  • Simplified Password Management: With a password manager, you only need to remember one master password to access all your other passwords. This eliminates the frustration of constantly retrieving or resetting forgotten passwords.

But there’s more! Here are additional benefits of using a password manager:

  • Time and Effort Saving: Password managers automatically fill in login credentials for you, saving time and minimising the chances of login errors.
  • Cross-Platform Convenience: Most password managers offer browser extensions, mobile apps, and desktop clients, allowing you to access your passwords seamlessly across various devices and platforms.
  • Secure Sharing: Some password managers allow you to securely share passwords with others, such as family members or colleagues, without compromising their confidentiality. This feature proves useful for collaborative projects or shared accounts.
  • Password Health Monitoring: Certain password managers analyse your existing passwords and notify you of weak or reused passwords that should be updated, helping you maintain strong and unique credentials.

Points 5 and 6 are not necessarily a given with every password manager though, so it’s important to check if the password manager you are looking at include these features. Here are some other key considerations when selecting a password manager:

What to look for in a password manager

  • Choose a Reliable Password Manager: Opt for reputable password managers with a proven track record of security and positive user reviews. If you would like to hear our recommendations, please get in touch.
  • Strong Encryption: Ensure that the password manager you choose uses robust encryption algorithms to protect your data. Look for password managers that utilise industry-standard encryption protocols like AES-256 bit encryption.
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Look for password managers that offer the option to enable two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, such as a code sent to your phone or a biometric scan.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Consider your devices and platforms and choose a password manager that offers seamless integration across all of them. Look for password managers that provide browser extensions, mobile apps (for iOS and Android), and desktop clients (for Windows and macOS).
  • Password Health Audit: A useful feature is a built-in password health audit that assesses the strength and uniqueness of your existing passwords. This helps identify weak, reused, or compromised passwords that need to be updated.
  • Secure Password Sharing: If you frequently collaborate or share accounts, look for password managers that offer secure sharing capabilities. This feature allows you to share passwords with others without revealing the actual passwords, ensuring privacy and security.
  • Offline Access and Sync: Consider whether you need offline access to your passwords. Some password managers allow you to access your passwords even when you don't have an internet connection. Additionally, check if the password manager provides synchronisation across devices, so that any changes or additions you make are reflected across all your devices.
  • Password Generator Customisation: Look for a password manager that allows you to customise the generated passwords according to your preferences. This includes options to adjust password length, include/exclude specific characters, and specify password complexity.
  • User-Friendly Interface: A good password manager should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate and manage your passwords. Consider trying out the free trial or demo versions of password managers to assess their user experience.
  • Customer Support and Reputation: Research the reputation and customer support of the password manager you are considering. Look for providers that have a good track record of prompt customer support and actively address any security vulnerabilities that may arise.
  • Data Backup and Recovery: Check if the password manager offers data backup options or if it integrates with cloud storage services for secure backups. This ensures that your password vault can be recovered in case of device loss or data corruption.

Tips for using your password manager

Once you’ve chosen your password manager here are some tips to maximise its benefits:

  1. Strengthen Your Master Password: Your master password is crucial for accessing all your other passwords, so make sure it's long, unique, and memorable to you. Avoid using common phrases or personal information.
  2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): It’s no good having this feature if you don’t use it. When available, enable 2FA for an additional layer of protection. This typically involves receiving a verification code on your phone or through an authenticator app.
  3. Regularly Update and Audit Your Passwords: Periodically review your passwords and update any weak or compromised ones. Your password manager may offer a password health check feature to help you identify such vulnerabilities.
  4. Backup Your Password Vault: In case of device loss or data corruption, regularly back up your password manager's encrypted vault. Many password managers provide options for exporting and securely storing these backups.

In an era where online security is of utmost importance, password managers have become essential tools for safeguarding our digital lives. By generating robust and unique passwords, securely storing them, and simplifying the login process, password managers alleviate much of the stress associated with accessing multiple accounts. If you are seeking recommendations, advice, or assistance in setting up a password manager for your team, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

June 08, 2023 — Paul Stanyer