Oh No – Not Another Password!

I remember when it was cool to have an online account to something … anything. I recall when I first signed up for online accounts to all the local supermarkets I frequented. I thought it was great to be able to log in and see the circulars, save favorite products in my online shopping list and keep an eye on sales. Now, years later, I currently have 531 passwords and I know only about a dozen by heart. The rest I couldn’t tell you if I were tortured.

Clients often ask me how I keep track of them all. Truth is, I don’t. I keep them in a password manager application I’ve used for years. The benefits of a password manager are threefold.

    • Most password managers can generate unique passwords for you.
    • Many password managers will automatically lock themselves if you leave them open for a set amount of time. So even if my computer and BlackBerry were stolen, my accounts would not be compromised and neither would my clients’.
    • Having passwords automatically generated for you makes them harder to guess.  No more similar passwords with just one or two characters or numbers changed at the beginning or end.

With that being said, if you’re looking to invest in a password management application there are several on the market and I really can’t say one is better than the other.  One thing is for sure; anything is better than having them all in an Excel spreadsheet, in a Word document that anyone can access or, worst of all, within your Outlook or mobile phone contact data.  Here are just a few choices with the one I use first.

Price: varies; there is a desktop version and then mobile versions that can sync with it
Works on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, iPad and Windows phones
For me, the benefit of SplashId is no annual fee.  Pay once and you own it. I’ve used them for years and have it on my BlackBerry and PC.
Video Intro: http://youtu.be/R_oG7f1sBv8

Price: $40 a year or $4.99 a month
Works on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, iPad and Windows phones
Voted Best of What’s New 2012 by Popular Science
Video Intro: http://youtu.be/jMAR8sZVtGI

Price: Free version and Premium for $12 a year
Works on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, iPad and Windows phones
Video Intro: http://youtu.be/RM0fzHxMASQ

Price: $20
Works on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, iPad and Windows phones
Video Intro: http://youtu.be/xLF7aRDTVRk

Statistics state that 3 out of 4 mobile devices are misplaced temporarily at work or at a public place, making users vulnerable to identity and data theft.

In a recent survey it was found that over 3 of every 4 people rely on their memory for passwords. Unless they have super-human memory functions, they probably use 1 to 4 different passwords for every site that they login into. Not a good practice.  If a hacker gains access to a password from one account, they will be able to access many other accounts as well.

So, if you’re one of the many that haven’t yet invested in a password management application, consider doing so today.  It’s an inexpensive investment that may save you grief and worry down the road.  Just last week I left my BlackBerry in a local Panera bread bakery.  Fortunately I realized it only minutes later and it was right where I left it when I returned.  But my only concern was the device itself, not the data that would compromise my (or your) accounts.

Talk to me if you need help deciding on an application.  Whichever you choose, I’d be glad to export any passwords I currently have for your accounts or enter any that you’ve accumulated so that you’ll have easy access going forward.

And don’t worry about security. Once I’ve entered them all for you and you have them neatly organized, you can change them all again very conveniently so that I only have those I need to perform tasks on your behalf.

Have a question? Ask me.

I welcome your comments! No part of this article may be reproduced in any manner without permission and attribution.