Do you struggle with passwords? Do you lose them? Forget them? Have to reset them frequently?

Or maybe you remember your passwords, but it’s because you only have a few of them and you use them for everything? So, instead you worrying about remembering the password, you worry about security.

Password management is a struggle for many of my clients when we first start working together. And it pains me to watch as people fumble with passwords, get frustrated, or simply take a while to get into their systems as they manually enter what they hope to be the correct password. In fact, this study claims that most people spend 11 hours a year resetting passwords!

Why does it pain me? Because I know there’s a simple solution to this problem. It’s fast, secure and inexpensive (or even free).

What is this miracle solution? A password manager!

A password manager, if you’re not familiar, is a secure digital vault for all your passwords. And the best part is that you only need to remember one (1!) password: the password to your vault. Once logged in, you can access and auto-fill your passwords with just a click, from your browser, or any device. Better yet, password managers will generate secure, random passwords for you when you sign up for things, so that your passwords won’t be guessable anymore.

A password manager will save you tons of time (and frustration), in the short run, and in the long run. How?

  • You’ll sign into your accounts faster. Instead of fumbling or fat-fingering, you’ll have that a “one click and you’re in” feeling all day long.
  • You won’t be using your working memory for passwords. Use your brain to focus on the task at hand, not to remember data that could be stored elsewhere.
  • No more setting and resetting password when you forget.
  • Hello, security! You KNOW you should be using random passwords with numbers, letters and symbols that are hard to guess and that you should be using a different password for every site or account. And yet, those types of passwords are so darn hard to remember. So, you go with something less secure, that you can remember, and you use it over and over again. With a password manager you get the best of both worlds: because you no longer need to remember random number/letter combos, you are free to use them. The password manager does the remembering for you.
  • Sharing passwords with others becomes easy and secure. Do you share passwords with others? (Netflix, anyone? 🙂 ) If so, you know what a pain it is to 1) make sure it’s shared securely, which often means calling someone on the phone to read it to them and hoping THEY store it somewhere secure and 2) communicating when passwords change. With a password manager, you can share securely and instantly. It’s like magic.

Is it REALLY worth it to use yet another tool?

Yes, I think so. (Actually, I know so.).

But if you’re hesitant, let me guess why?

“It’ll take too much time and effort to set up”

I hear this; I really do. (Let me digress for a second and tell you about the time I cried because I couldn’t get my podcast app to sync after switching phones. I’m no stranger to being frustrated with technology from time to time).

But here’s the thing: You don’t need to do it all at once just to get started. You can get started with a password manager just by creating the account. Then, as you use a password, you can add that login info to your vault. In fact, it only takes about 2 extra seconds per login to add to your vault. And because password managers can be integrated with your browser, every time you enter login info, you’ll be prompted to save it to your vault.

Start small, add as you go and pretty soon you’ll have an invaluable tool at your fingertips that barely required any effort.

Are password managers REALLY secure?

Yup! And, while I’m no tech expert, my husband is (and he’s quite paranoid about security) and he’s the one to convinced me to start using a password manager in the first place many years ago.

But you don’t need to take my word for it; in fact, the websites of all of the password managers I recommend below are well aware security might be your biggest worry, and are very transparent about their encryption/security models.

And it’s definitely more secure than your memory, or a piece of paper taped inside your desk drawer!

Doesn’t my browser already have built in password management features?

Yes, most browsers do allow you to save your passwords, but these browser based services have some pretty significant drawbacks. Here’s an article that covers this in depth, but the tl/dr is:

  • They’re not nearly as secure as a stand-alone password managers.
  • They don’t work across browsers or outside of browsers (think app passwords, etc.)
  • They have limited functionality (i.e., they’re not going to help you to create super secure passwords).

Ready to jump on the password manager train? If so, here are a few options I can recommend:

Following are the 3 most popular options out there:

  • 1Password – I’ve used and loved. Here’s what they say about their security.
  • LastPass – I’ve used both personally, and in a corporate environment, and loved. Here’s what they say about their security.
  • Dashlane – I haven’t used this one personally, but know folks who do use it and love it. Here’s what they say about their security.