Newsletter Passwords

The Magical World of Password Managers

Adapted from Tara Schaufler/EDUCAUSE

I admit it. I was hesitant and fearful of using a password manager. But then my employer purchased password management software and asked me to introduce it to our organization. What a conundrum! I had avoided using the software up until this time. But why? Honestly, I did not trust that my data would be safe. And, besides, who the heck has time to learn another thing?

Given this task, I knew it was time to roll up my sleeves and learn about the software. Cautious, but hopeful, I became educated about the product’s strong security and its user interface. At first, the road was bumpy, but the more I learned, the more comfortable I became. Once I got past the steep part of the learning curve, it happened…it struck me that this is truly a magical product. Yes, magical. You see, this product makes my passwords appear out of thin air. Okay, it’s not magic, but it’s like magic. Most password managers function as a web browser extension, and when you’re logged in to the extension and visit a web application that you have stored credentials for, they miraculously appear. The only catch is that I have to remember one password, the master password to my password manager account. The password manager remembers the rest of my passwords for me.

So, gone are the days of frequently resetting lost passwords. Yes, I admit that I used to forget passwords, get locked out of accounts, and have to reset passwords to access my accounts. Sound familiar? Now my password manager remembers them for me. Some other benefits include:

  • AES 256-Bit Encryption: This one is the most important! Make sure you do your research and choose a secure product. There are many products on the market, so do your homework and choose wisely. Secure products use AES 256-bit encryption. 
  • Long and Strong Passwords: I use my password manager’s built-in password generator to create long, strong passwords. There’s no need to spend time thinking up passwords because the product will do it for you.
  • Unique Passwords: We all know that reusing passwords is a bad practice. With my password manager, I can easily create and save unique passwords at the click of a button.
  • Secure Notes: Many products allow you to store more than just passwords. I use my password manager to save secure notes. It sure beats writing things down and storing it in my wallet, which is not a good security practice.
  • Secure Password Sharing: Most products allow you to share passwords with others using the same password management software. It’s generally not recommended to share your passwords. The reality, however, is that people do share certain accounts, and this is a secure way to give others access. Many products allow you to share without the other individual even seeing the actual password. This can be helpful if you need to discontinue access because you won’t need to change the password.
  • Get Organized!: Now my passwords are at my fingertips, especially since I can also access them through a mobile app on my phone.

Convinced yet? There’s no doubt that using a secure, encrypted password manager has helped me become more productive and less of a risk to personal and institutional accounts and data. So, what are you waiting for? Learn more today!