Why You Need a Password Manager

by Affinity Consulting Group on May 17, 2018

By Barron K. Henly

A password manager is a program that can securely store and organize logons, passwords, credit card information, bank account information, IDs (driver’s licenses, passports, etc.) and any other piece of information you might need (e.g., your children’s social security numbers, your Delta frequent flyer number, or the license plate number for your car).

If you were asked to list the number of logins and passwords that you have, you probably couldn’t do it. We try to use common words or kids’ names or anniversaries, but each and every login we set up has different password requirements. Some prohibit you from using a password you have used in the past, a password that has any part of your name in it, or more. It makes creating and remembering passwords a real burden. However, it is a necessary burden. We rely now more than ever on subscriptions and services that require a login – for our own personal information, as well as our client information. Eliminate the stress of remembering it all or trying to write them all down somewhere. The answer is a password manager.

Why You Need A Password Manager:  First, it’s part of your estate plan.  The good ones allow you to share all of that information with loved ones.  Second, it’s a place to keep all of your credentials and personal information in one place which you can access from any phone, tablet or PC (provided you can authenticate yourself). All password managers will generate and store strong passwords so you don’t have to make them up. Password managers inform you if any of your passwords are weak and recommend that they be changed.  Password managers can tell you how many different websites are using the same password (it’s not recommended that you use the same password for everything). Many also notify you if security breaches are reported for any of your accounts, and recommend that you change their passwords.

The Features

Password managers come at a very small cost. And while some offer free versions, we recommend paying for it – and getting all the features.

Two Factor Authentication

Only requiring a simple username and password has made it pretty easy for criminals to gain access to data that should be private – both your personal data and your client’s. Two factor authentication adds an extra layer of security, so you must have your username, password, and also some additional piece of information that only you will know (such as a code that is sent to your phone via text message by the password manager). Of course, protecting your password manager login with two factor authentication is critical.

Fill Web Forms – this means when you are required to fill out a form online, your password manager can do the work for you. Not all products have the features, but we wouldn’t recommend you choose one that doesn’t offer this.

Another feature we like is the ability to have multiple “identities” in your password manager. Having a personal identity and a business identity is extremely convenient. Quickly being able to enter a work address and a business credit card on a registration form is a nice benefit.

Application passwords – at the beginning of the article, we mentioned subscriptions and services – but you may very well have traditional software installed at your office that requires a login and password. Password managers can manage those, too – it’s not just for cloud-based logins.

Before password managers, many of us allowed Chrome, IE, Firefox, or our browser of choice to “save” the login information for us. Having your password manager do that is a much safer way and, isn’t impacted when you get a new computer, clear out your cookies, or simply start using another browser. And the good news is, many password managers can import your saved logins from your browser.

Check out the Password Manager Comparison on the MGMTHQ:

Barron K. Henly is a Partner with Affinity Consulting Group. He can be reached at bhenley@affinityconsulting.com.

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