Passwords, passwords, passwords. We are surrounded by websites, apps, and home devices that require passwords. And, it’s not just a few passwords; it’s multiple! When you add up the number of passwords that you have created for home accounts, work accounts, school accounts, leisure accounts, you could be close, or over, 100 passwords. Now, how many of those do you remember, and how many of them are unique? If you’re following password best practices, they are all complex, include upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and a few random characters as well. Remembering all of them is difficult, and let’s be honest, not something most of us will be able to do if we intend to function during our regular lives. The answer? A password manager.
What Is A Password Manager?
A password manager is an application that stores, and manages your passwords, so you don’t need to remember them. The storage part is nice, but the management part is even better. Typically, password managers help identify weak passwords, duplicate passwords and encourage you to change them. And, most offer the option of generating unique, random passwords for you, so you don’t need to come up with yet another combination of characters. Pretty nice, right? But, some password managers do more than that! Some offer the ability to store notes and credit card information, auto-fill forms on your behalf, and even incorporate dark-web monitoring.
What To Look For In A Password Manager?
- Compatibility with your devices and preferred browser
- Quantity of passwords that it will store
- Ability to sync across devices
- Webform filling capability
- Authentication options (two-factor, biometric)
- Number of users
- Extra capabilities
- Comfort level with the interface
The importance of the criteria listed above is most certainly a personal preference, and choosing a password manager is a personal choice as well.
Password Managers To Consider
There are a number of password managers available, which can be overwhelming. We break down a few that we believe are the most beneficial and offer the most in terms of variety of options/prices.
The free version focuses on password management, password generation, and one-to-one sharing. The paid versions include access on all devices, security dashboard, and score, 1GB of file storage, and dark-web monitoring. (Free, $3 per month for one user; $4 per month for 6 users)
Stores up to 50 passwords and functions on one device. Includes auto-fill capabilities and personalized security alerts. The premium version includes unlimited passwords and unlimited devices as well as dark web monitoring and alerts. (Free; $4.99 per month; $7.49 per month for six people)
Open-source password manager that generates and stores strong passwords and offers auto-fill capabilities. Files are stored locally, not in the cloud. (Free)
Stores passwords and syncs them across devices, as well as auto-fills login credentials. Extensions are available for most browsers. The app stores information locally (not on the cloud) and does not require a master password to login – fingerprint, face ID, or a pin code will provide access. (Free; $3.99 per user per month paid annually for a minimum of 5 users)
Google Password Manager:
Stores and suggests strong passwords, saves your login information, and auto-fills credentials within the Google browser. (Free)
Firefox Password Manager:
Creates strong passwords, saves logins, and auto-fills credentials within the Firefox browser. (Free)
Saves and auto-fills passwords for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. (Free)
Offers unlimited password storage and 1GB of document storage and can be used on multiple devices. Sends alerts for vulnerable passwords and offers a travel mode.
($2.99 per month; $4.99 per month per family of 5)
Which Password Manager Should I Choose?
The password manager that you choose depends on what criteria makes the most sense for you and whomever else will be using the application. Take some time to review two or three options mentioned above and check them out further. Download the free trials and try them out to determine which password manager that you are most comfortable using and which supports your needs. Whichever password manager you choose, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that the passwords that you have will be unique and stored securely.