why-use-password-managers

Password Managers: What Are They? And Why Use One!

Article by Samuel Hatton on September 17, 2020
Samuel Hatton
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Imagine a world where you don't have to remember passwords anymore. It's here. And you can access it today. How? With a password manager. Now, though you don't have to remember multiple passwords, you still have to remember a single password. But from this moment on, you truly don't really need to remember passwords (plural). 

We're going to learn about what password managers are and why you should get started today using one. 

What is a password manager?  

A password manager is a program that keeps all your passwords in one place, locked behind an encrypted vault. It's sort of like your grandma's black spiral password book with every single piece of vendor data that she has from her healthcare provider’s website to brokerage and bank account logins. But instead of sitting between her refrigerator and phone, it sits in a safety deposit box at the bank. But it is even better than that. She can withdraw it and look at it any time she wants, provided she has a computer or a phone that has access to that vault... Okay, the analogy is falling apart fast.  

Basically, you install a password manager program. You put ONE strong easy to remember password on it. Then you can start saving passwords, logins, secure notes, credit cards, etc. 

Why you should use a password manager 

The bottom line, they reduce the number of headaches that passwords bring. I'm talking about all those hours you have been locked out of your computer and email. From here on out, you never have to worry about creating multiple clever passwords or remembering them because once you are in your vault, you can generate and fill passwords with a few clicks. I'm convinced that there is no better way to securely create and and access hundreds of strong passwords. This is it: A dedicated password manager. 

There is no better way to securely create and access hundreds of strong passwords.

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Password managers that you can check out: 

I surveyed the employees here at Endsight to see what kind of password managers they use, what they have tried, and why they use. Here is what I found: 83% of the Endsight employees actively use and organize a password manager for personal use. And of that 83% when I surveyed which one they use, here is what I got: 

When I asked what they like about the password manager they use, they said they are able to...

  • access passwords between, PC, mobile devices, and browsers
  • autofill their passwords in apps 
  • get notified sites that have been compromised 
  • get notified when passwords are weak 
  • generate passwords with one click 
  • fill passwords with one click
  • pull up the passwords manually and see them 

Each of the above password managers can do these. Even Google's built in password manager can be set up to autofill passwords in apps on your iPhone with proper setup.

More from those surveyed: 

  • 90% of those who have used a password manager has at least tested two different dedicated password manager products.
  • Most people who tried both LastPass and 1Password said that they like them both and simply use the one they started with. 
  • Those who primarily use GooglPW Manager say that it's great for most use cases. However, there is some concern about who accesses the computer because it’s always unlocked. Sort of reminds me of grandma’s black password book sitting in her kitchen.
  • Those who use LastPass, 1Password, and Dashlane love the ability to share with their spouse. 
  • KeePass stores passwords locally, this gives the savvy computer user solace that they control their dataHowever, KeyPass also tends to be less user friendly than other popular options. 

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Personally, I love and recommend 1Password. I enjoy the security in knowing that 1Password is Agilebits flagship product. Also, it has never even been partially hacked, like LastPass was in 2015. (To be fair, the LastPass breach didn't put any user databases at risk.)

Both LastPass and 1Password are top choices for most users. They are extremely secure. Both allow you to generate passwords with one click. Both are easy to set up and use. And can be shared with spouses.

Who should use a password manager?

Everyone who has more than 5 passwords and wants to remember them and make sure that they meet today’s security standards needs a password manager. It's completely worth it. I'm sort of like my wife's systems administrator. She'll forget a password, and I'll walk her through how to look it up in our shared vault. 

Everyone who has more than 5 passwords and wants to remember them and make sure that they meet today’s security standards needs a password manager.

So, which should you use? It's entirely up to you. If you only use website passwords and have healthy habits in locking your PC and phone every time you step away, a browser password manager is the simplest. If you want something a bit more robust and secure, I’d go with 1Password or LastPass. 

What about using password managers for business use? 

This is a good ideaI think every business should use one, and it's certainly a great addition to your organization's IT security. Both 1Password and LastPass have excellent options for creating vaults that can be shared with teams.

Both programs are also widely adopted and used in many organizations, and they keep all sensitive credentials in one place, so you and your trusted team don't have to ever use a non-encrypted database, excel file, word document, sticky note again, or a spiral black password book.

If you want to set this up for your business, I highly recommend talking to your trusted IT professional if you don’t have one set up for your team. But for right now, you at the very least start one up for your own personal use.

If you enjoy this topic, feel free to subscribe to our blog or sign up for cybersecurity training. We want to see you thrive with your technology, so if you have been sitting on the fence and wondering about if you should or should not make the leap, reach out. I would even be happy to personally chat with you over the phone about it. That's how much we care about your security! Just ask. Cheers!

 

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Tags: IT security, Best practices, Productivity

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