Password managers and why you should be using one
Let me ask you some questions:
- Do you have that one account that you only have to log into once in a blue moon, and you pretty much always have to reset the password?
- Do any of your accounts use the same password?
- Do you have any of your passwords written down somewhere or typed out in a Word document or Excel spreadsheet or some other similar list?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then using a password manager may benefit you.
What is a password manager?
A password manager is an program that digitally and securely stores your login information for various accounts. Using just a single “master password,” you can access the login information for any and all of your stored accounts witout having to know every account’s information.
Why use a password manager?
The most important benefit of a password manager is security. If you have your passwords written down somewhere, then it is more likely someone may accidentally (or intentionally) find out how to access your accounts; additionally, if they’re written down, they can be lost or destroyed. If you have more than one account using the same password, if that password is discovered or stolen, the theif could gain access to many of your accounts. Using a password manager allows you to securely store your passwords, have convenient access to them, and also lets you generate more complex and secure passwords without the need to memorize them.
Security is important. But the extra-nice thing about a password maanger is the simplicity. Instead of having to remember of the logon information for many accounts, you can simply remember a single “master password.” Some password managers even support web browser add-ons/extensions that will auto-fill your login information into a webpage after you enter your master password.
My recommended solution
Bitwarden is a fantastic and free option for a password manager. I have been using Bitwarden for several years and love it. The solution is open-source, free, and supported on the many platforms and browsers listed below.
Additionally, Bitwarden features web-based access via the web portal and also has powerful command-line tools (CLI) to create and execute scripts against your Bitwarden Vault.
Web portal access to your Bitwarden Vault
With Bitwarden, securing your online accounts is as simple as creating a free account, setting your master password, and entering the information you’d like to store. If you’re like me and had all your login info in an Excel spreadsheet, then you’re in luck, because Bitwarden supports the import of .CSV files to making your setup process breeze by quickly.
Other neat stuff Bitwarden supports includes: locally hosting it on your own server instead of cloud hosted, it supports multi-factor authentication and is compatible with the Yubico YubiKey (a review on that to come), a password generator, configuration for auto-fill on websites, and the ability to store more than passwords securely–including secure notes, credit card information, and identity information. And so much more.
Available on every major platform and cloud-accessible, Bitwarden is a fast, convenient, and free solution to enhance your online security and make your life easier.
Bitwarden is fantastic, but it won’t be for everyone. That’s why competition exists! Here are some additional options for you to check out:
Bringing it all together
Regardless of which solution you choose, a password manager is crucial to increasing your online security–unless you can just memorize every single password you have. Combining a password manager with some form of multi-factor authentication provides a high degree of security while also making life more convenient by requiring you to only remembe a single master password. If you haven’t tried a password manager, don’t delay! Try one today.
Have you used a password manager before? If so, what was it and what were your thoughts? Have you had other issues or complaints about memorizing passwords? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.