Using a Password Manager to Simplify Your Life

Why You Need a Password Manager

With so many applications moving to the cloud, most accountants (and other service providers) have been swamped with more passwords than they can count.

Of course, you have all the passwords related to your own business accounts and applications, but when you add to that list all of your clients’ passwords it can be overwhelming. So how do you deal with all those passwords?

According to PC Mag…

Some people solve the problem by using simple, memorable passwords. Others just use the same password on every siteā€”simple! Too simple; those folks are just asking for trouble. Simple, memorable passwords are easy for hackers to guess. And if you use the same password on many sites, even a strong one, being compromised one site exposes all your logins. These two types of users are both all too likely to end up featured in weekly panic-inducing headlines, like the tremendous Collection #1 breach of 773 million email accounts.

Unless you are choosing the route of the folks mentioned in the PC Mag article you are going to need a safe and effective way to remember all of the complex passwords you use on a daily basis. 

Choices for a Password Manager

If you agree you need some way to keep track of all those passwords, here are a few options:

  • The Old Fashioned Way
  • Microsoft Excel
  • A Password Manager

Old Fashioned Password Tracking

How many of you used to keep track of your passwords using pen and paper or sticky notes? Perhaps you still do it this way for your own reasons. There are a couple problems with tracking your passwords likes this. First, there is no backup, so if you lose the paper or sticky note, you could be in trouble and find yourself locked out of your vital applications. Second and more importantly, those pieces of paper can easily fall into the wrong hands. I suppose you would say that was the old fashioned way of “hacking.”

Tracking Passwords in Microsoft Excel

This is a step up from pen and paper, but still has some flaws. First of all, if you do use excel to track your passwords make sure to put a password on the worksheet so no one else can open the file and steal your information. Even though it is more secure than pen and paper, there are still a couple drawbacks to tracking your passwords with Excel. First, if you password protect the worksheet and forget that password, there is no way to recover the information. Second, it is tedious to keep changing passwords updated. Having to go in and out of Excel to update every time something changes could be a huge time drain.

Using a Password Manager

Just as so many things have advances with technology, so has tracking passwords. Today, you can use a password manager to keep track of your passwords and other sensitive information. Many people worry about the security of password managers, but most of the prominent options use bank-level security to keep your information safe. Here are a few benefits to using a password manager:

  • You can auto create super strong passwords and not worry about having to remember them
  • You can use multi-factor authentication, so not just anyone can log into your account without you knowing or approving it
  • You can use a browser add-on to quickly fill passwords online
  • You can easily update changing passwords with the browser add-on

There are a few top choices for password managers today. I recommend something like Dashlane, LassPass or Keeper for starters. Or, you could simply do a Google search and research the pros and cons of the top applications on the market. 

To Your Success,

Bob Swetz

P.S. If you would like to dig deeper into this topic you have a few options:

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