Take another lap around the Password Track
While we strongly recommend that you manage your passwords, we do not envision that you would organize the post-its scattered about your desk. Is that insulting? OK. So you have a notebook? Still not good. An Excel spreadsheet? Not bad. But where do you keep the spreadsheet? How do you protect your password list? That’s the question! The answer? Not just an answer, but 8 great benefits and an entire psycho-analysis. Without the doctor’s notebook.
Just a suggestion
Here’s a suggestion for protecting your password list. Let someone reliable keep the list for you. Alliant has used and recommends LastPass… as a safe resource and repository for your passwords. This online resource takes note of each user name and password combination that you enter, whatever the online site. The more I use it, the easier it becomes!
The basic idea is hidden in the name. The “last password” you’ll ever need to remember is the one master password to your online password management system. From 100 to 1. Good idea!
The benefits are multiple.
- A password manager fills in passwords for you – That might seem a small savings in time. But what if the password is hidden in a list hidden in a safe place and you can’t remember it? Then you have to go to the safe place, dig up the hidden list and find your password. Of course, you don’t trust your memory, so the list goes with you back to your desk. And then (if you are a faithful manager of your passwords) you carefully put the list back in its place. That’s a lot of time! But wait! Multiply that by each account you use online and which is susceptible to confusion or forgetfulness. Time saved!
- A password manager saves you from password resets. When you are without a safely stored list and are just trusting to your memory (or one password repeated too many times), then the only way to gain access is to click the “Forgot password” link and reset your password. Time consuming. And as you will not be allowed (by your faulty memory and by the site) to repeat the previous password, you are forced to create and learn a new password. Which generates a new level of memory blame shift.
- A password manager generates passwords for you. Your first inclination may be to shy away from this suspicious looking “help.” But think about it. If you yourself are not responsible to remember the password and the password manager fills in whatever password it has generated, then, what’s to lose? Even if the password manager creates a horrendous J34k78900-lpt213##24.16btw random password, that’s OK. Because it isn’t up to you to remember it.
- A password manager syncs passwords where you need them. No concerns about which browser you are using or whether it’s your laptop of the desktop at work. An online password manager synchronizes all passwords in a single repository. Browsers will do the same. Unless you need to change browsers.
- A password manger remembers your contact information. Filling in the blanks with repetitive information can be tedious. Especially if a particular piece of information is not remembered by your browser. Browsers and accounts also accumulate old, unused addresses or credit card information. One safe place for all your contact information makes this easier.
- A password manager alerts you to breaches and security issues. If one of your online accounts is compromised, your password manager manages that particular breach. You are a level removed from tracking which accounts might be at risk.
- A password manager changes passwords for you. Many sites recognize the security of a quarterly change of password. When a site is compromised, say, your bank, you are usually also encouraged to change your password. The password manager creates the new password and saves it so you don’t have to worry about remembering the new password or the site where it was created.
- A password manager gives you a window into your security. How many passwords do you have? How many sites? How frequently do you change them? Suddenly, you come to the awareness that it isn’t just 20 passwords, it’s 100! Online banking, social media, email accounts, gaming sites, movie sites, music streaming, investment accounts, productivity apps, storage sites, cell phone accounts. They add up. Nice to have one central place where you can take stock. Eliminating the unnecessary or simply being more completely aware.
LastPass Free and LastPass Premium are two levels available. LastPass Free includes all the basics:
- Access on all devices
- Save and fill passwords
- Password generator
Here’s a helpful psycho-analysis from LastPass…, discussing why we don’t like to track, generate, update or securely store passwords.