Let’s talk passwords today. Do you use a password manager?
If not, what is your current password system?
I know that may feel like a mean question, if you don’t have one. But it’s important.
Sadly, it’s one of those tasks or projects we keep meaning to get around to, but just don’t. Yet, having a disorganised password system, or lack of any system at all really, fuels our frustration on a pretty regular basis.
Let’s face it. Passwords are pesky, full stop.
Trying to create a password that fits the bill, let alone having a system for remembering it, can be enough to knock your hat in the creek.
Add to that the frustration of not being able to use the same password for all your accounts, because guess what folks, different accounts require different formats. Yay.
But actually, you don’t really want the same password for everything. And I’m fairly certain we all know that’s a recipe for disaster, should even one of your accounts ever get hacked.
What you do want is a unique and beautifully strong, convoluted password for each and every sign-on …without having to go on a deep-earth exploration mission to dig it out of ‘wherever’, every time you need it.
Seriously, I don’t even want to take a stab at how much time is wasted…
- Trying to locate a password scribbled in a notebook, on a post-it, on an excel spreadsheet, or in a random computer note.
- Trying to find the current password, especially after it’s been reset twenty times.
- Trying to create a new password that complies with some 10-part criterion of letters, numbers, symbols, what-it-can’t-start-with, what-it-must-include and a whole host of other unacceptable combinations.
Time. Precious time. Tick, tick, ticking away…
So here’s my Super-Satisfying Challenge: Sort out your PASSWORDS …Hooray!
THE GOAL IS SIMPLE. All passwords in a single location, easy to access, and all up-to-date. And importantly, securely stored.
MY RECOMMENDED SOLUTION IS SIMPLE, TOO. Use a good password manager. I personally use 1password, have done so for several years now, and can not recommend it enough for ease of use, security and efficiency.
- The beauty of 1Password is this: you literally only need to remember one password, the one that opens your app. The app does the rest for you.
- As you transfer your passwords into the app, you can enter your own existing passwords if you like. Or, you can let 1Password generate an intergalactic formula that would take some real doing to hack into.
- The app integrates into your browser and syncs across your devices, so access is easy at home or on the go.
- It may take a bit of time at first to add all your accounts to 1Password, but once they’re added, that’s it, other than updating your passwords from time to time.
- Then as you open additional online accounts, the app will both generate the password and save it straight away. Quick and easy.
- It’s not just for passwords either, you can store all sorts of other important information, such as credit card info, bank account details, email accounts, software licences and the like. I highly recommend it as an online ’digital safe’ for storing all those important bits of sensitive information you otherwise spend forever and a day searching for.
1Password is just the one I use, there are certainly others out there. LastPass is another password manager that comes recommended from colleagues in my business community, also Dashlane to name but a couple. I recommend having a look at a few options, to see which features will be most suitable and functional for you.
Now, I know some of you out there don’t like the idea of storing passwords electronically, or in the cloud, no matter how safe or ‘encrypted’ these password managers claim to be. I completely get that, and I’m admittedly dubious of quite a few apps on the market. Is there a risk? Of course, but bear in mind the risk is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. On balance, and other experts agree, the benefits of using a password manager outweigh the risks.
– What if something happens to your notebook of hand-written passwords?
– How safe is your excel spreadsheet, really?
– And we’ve already mentioned the hacking dangers of using the same old passwords.
To sum up what I consider to be the top benefits:
- All passwords and sensitive information together, in one safe place.
- Long complex passwords generated mega-fast, and remembered, for you.
- Peace of mind knowing every account has a unique, strong password.
- Accessible across all devices: computer, tablets, smartphones.
- Much less faffing, and stressing, over online account log-ins.
Then commit to your challenge: Sort your PASSWORDS. Be smug.
Schedule a block of time. Put the kettle on and just get after it. Get it done. Get your passwords streamlined, up-to-date and current …and you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Then when you’re done, celebrate! Seriously. It’s a slightly tedious task, and no small feat.
But getting your passwords sorted out really is a responsible action to take. And if you use a password manager it will better protect your accounts from hackers, as well as do the heavy lifting when it comes to remembering countless usernames and passwords.
Make life easier on your brain.
Use a password manager.