It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so let’s #BeCyberSmart and talk about your password manager. Whether you already use one, or you’re looking for a way to wrangle all of your logins, we have three questions to help you be sure your information is secure.
Let’s start with some basic considerations.
What is a Password Manager?
We’ve all needed to create a new password with requirements like:
- 8-12 characters long
- One uppercase letter and one lowercase letter
- One special character
- But not that special character
- Now put your left foot in
- Put your right foot in
- Hey Macarena!
Keeping track of secure passwords that meet these requirements isn’t easy. On top of that, did you know the average person has 100 passwords to keep track of? Yikes! Password managers help organize and manage your information so you aren’t stuck hitting the “Forgot password” button each time you try to log into one of your accounts.
You may have heard of popular password managers like Keeper Security, 1Password, and LastPass. So, we asked our Director of Information Security what the most important factors are to consider, and he gave us a great breakdown:
- Does your password manager encrypt your stored information?
- Is it available across the platforms and devices I need?
- What other convenience features does it have?
Let’s dive in!
1. Does your password manager encrypt your stored information?
When it comes to sensitive information, the answer should always be a very emphatic “yes.”
But what is encryption? Think of your password manager like a storage locker. You put your information in and lock it up with a padlock only you have the code and the backup key for. That padlock is encryption. It makes the information unreadable to others unless they have a “key” to access it.
You’re trusting your password manager to keep all of your passwords and usernames secure. If it is ever compromised and that data isn’t encrypted, the hacker will have immediate access to your login credentials.-BRI’s Director of Information Security
Speaking of access, let’s move on to question two…
2. Is your password manager available across the platforms and devices you need?
Fun fact: In the United States, people have, on average, seven connected devices with screens. Smartwatches, tablets, computers, tablets, mobile phones – there are so many different devices and platforms you use to log in to different accounts!
The real goal is to find a password manager that you can access based on your individual needs. Versatility is key so no matter what fun tech devices are in your future, your password manager will be easily accessible to keep your information secure.
3. What other convenience features does it have?
Password managers continually add features and functionality such as:
- autofill on websites
- recommend new passwords
- facilitate password updates (this includes offering a scale indicating how strong your password is)
- allow you to share passwords with the other account users
As you’re evaluating which password manager is right for you, take a minute to decide on what kind of additional convenience features are most important to you.
Basic Password Tips
Once you decide on how you want to manage your plethora of passwords, keep these three tips in mind:
- Don’t write them down.
- Don’t store them on files on your computer.
- Don’t repeat passwords across sites. Instead, use a passphrase.