What Is a Password Manager, and Why Do You Need One?
Summary: Writing your passwords on a sticky note isn’t going to cut it anymore. To keep your personal information safe and secure, you need a password manager. Let’s get into what it is, why you should have one, and which are the best.
You’ve heard it time and again: use a strong, unique password and don’t use it more than once.
While you’re probably tired of hearing it, this isn’t just empty advice. In today’s tech-driven world, using varied, complex passwords is crucial to keeping your data and personal information safe and secure.
Joe Siegrist, co-founder of LastPass, said it best: “Reusing a password is like reusing the same key for every lock and having that key be something that you give out to everyone you meet. And it can also be instantly copied and used remotely.”
So, how are you expected to remember hundreds of different passwords for all your apps, accounts, and devices? Well, we suppose you could try remembering them all in your head, but that’s probably not very reasonable.
Instead, your best option is to get a password manager.
What Is a Password Manager?
A password manager is a secure digital vault that encrypts and stores your password login information on all your apps, accounts, sites, and devices.
In addition to storing all your precious personal information and data, the best password managers can alert you when your passwords have been compromised or you’ve used a password in more than one place.
And finally, in some cases, password managers can even work as password generators, creating strong, unique passwords so that you don’t have to constantly rack your brain to come up with new ideas.
Why Should I Have a Dedicated Password Manager?
Gone are the days of losing track of all your passwords. A password manager does all the work for you, storing, safekeeping, and even generating passwords for all your accounts.
Many people wonder, why not just use my web browser’s password manager? While browser-based password managers are convenient, they’re not always the safest option.
Web browsers are often susceptible to malicious scripts that might be lingering on login pages, ready and waiting to “read” and steal your information. In addition, they don’t always generate the best passwords the way dedicated password managers can.
How do Password Managers Work?
Password managers work as either apps or browser extensions across one or all of your devices. When you first log in to a site, app, or device using your password manager, it will store your information and autofill it the next time you visit.
If you’re creating a new account somewhere and are asked to come up with a new password, the password manager will step right in and provide one for you.
To set up your password manager, you’ll need to create a master password. We know it’s ironic, having to come up with a password for your password manager. But it’s a necessary step in the process, and once you have everything set up, it’s the only password you’ll ever need. In some cases, you won’t even need a master password. Some password managers offer multi-factor authentication instead.
Which Password Managers are the Best?
With countless options to choose from, we’ve rounded up the best password managers based on ease, value, security, and reliability.
1Password — $36/year
One of the most popular password managers, 1Password is an elegantly designed, easy-to-use app or browser extension that syncs all your passwords in one place.
Although it’s a bit more expensive compared to some of its competitors, it offers several add-ons that make the price more than justifiable. For example, the app offers a feature called “Travel Mode,” which keeps your information safe during travel. Before you leave for your trip, the app will delete any sensitive data from your device and seamlessly restore it upon your return. This prevents hackers or even law enforcement agents from getting into your password vault during border crossings.
Plus, it’s a great option for families. With their Family Organization plan ($60/year), you can share login info, credit card information, and anything else across 6 encrypted individual accounts.
LastPass — free or $36/year
LastPass is another well-known password manager that offers two options: free or premium. The free option provides autofilling, a password generator, password strength report, and multi-factor authentication. It’s an effective solution, but one word of caution: this free version is limited to a single device, so you won’t be able to share information across devices.
The premium version, on the other hand, is well worth it. You get all the free features, plus multi-device sharing, family sharing, 1 GB encrypted file storage, dark web monitoring, emergency support, and priority tech support. Similar to 1Password, LastPass also has a family plan for $48/year, which includes up to 6 individual encrypted vaults that can exchange information securely.
Bitwarden – free or $10/year
If you’re looking for a free password manager with premium features, look no further than Bitwarden. They’ve been voted one of the best free password managers by WIRED and CNET, and for good reason.
The free version is completely unlimited and offers multi-device syncing across most major operating systems, devices, and browsers. What really sets Bitwarden apart, however, is that it’s open source. This means that the Bitwarden code is constantly being audited and reviewed by multiple developers at any one time, ensuring you get total transparency and reliability.
For just $10/year, you can upgrade to Bitwarden’s premium account and get 1 GB of encrypted file storage, vault health report, and priority customer support. Or, if you’d like to secure your entire family’s personal information, get the family plan and experience unlimited sharing between 6 individual accounts for $40/year.
Now that your passwords are safe and secure, it’s time to do the same for your internet. EarthLink Internet has a plethora of security features that ensure your family and business’s information is safe from malware and malicious hackers.
Call 833-957-0229 today to get started!