With the rise of new services comes the need for more accounts. More accounts create more passwords. You probably have dozens — if not more — accounts for all kinds of services, some of which you’ve probably forgotten ever creating. In this piece we’ll talk a little about making your life easier in this regard through using password managers.
This rise in accounts for every single little thing is leading to more problems like tech support agents spending anywhere from 10-30 percent of all calls on passwords, or users requesting about 40 “forgotten password” emails this year alone. Employers have lost an estimated $420 per employee in productivity because of lost passwords and the time it takes to retrieve them.
Dashlane, a password management we’ll talk more on later, found that users from the U.S. typically have more than 100 accounts linked to one email address. That’s a lot of usernames and passwords.
Unfortunately, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The number of accounts we’re each each expected to have will likely reach 300 soon, meaning managing all this information, some of which is the key to sensitive and personal information, should be a priority for anybody and everybody.
Why You Need a Password Manager
Because remembering the passwords for over 100 different accounts is hard, people often take shortcuts, like reusing the same password on different accounts. Unfortunately, this innocent little habit leaves you vulnerable to big consequences.
In just the last two years, data breaches have occurred in credit reporting agencies (like Equifax), retail stores, hospitals, celebrities’ phones and more. Despite these breaches and the many warnings from security experts, most people are still using horrible passwords.
Password managers work by securely storing all your passwords while hiding them behind a master password, a single password that unlocks all the others on your account. Once a user enters the master, they don’t need to enter anything else.
Of course, that master needs to be really, really strong as well as easy to remember. Getting this down right is pretty tricky, but not as hard as you’d think: we detail the what and the how in our guide on creating a strong password. We also have a password generator that will make uncrackable random passwords for your other accounts.
Picking the Right Password Manager
To make choosing the best password manager easier, let’s take a look at the three top password managers — Dashlane, LastPass and 1Password for Teams — in the market. Each of these services offers slightly different features which might appeal to a certain type of user.
Some features, however, are the same across all services, such as password generation, single-key login, two-factor authentication and, of course, advanced encryption protocols to further increase security.
Best Simple Option: Dashlane
If you are looking for a basic, user-friendly password manager, look no further than the impala logo of Dashlane. Dashlane is a password management service that is known for its user-friendly design and easy-to-use screen that helps users breeze through the setup process.
Dashlane also offers a free account (limited to one device). Premium accounts allow syncing across multiple devices, advanced security features and have priority technical support available, all for $40 per year.
Dashlane isn’t just a password manager and generator, though. It’s also an educator. This password management tool comes with a security dashboard that helps users assess their current passwords and upgrade to less hacker-friendly passwords. It also updates your password on an incredibly large number of sites with just one click.
Best Advanced Option: LastPass
Compared to Dashlane, LastPass is less about user-friendliness and even more about security. LastPass uses AES-256-bit encryption and plenty of other advanced security settings to keep your data safe. Still, however, the company has fallen prey to two security breaches: one in 2015 and one more recently in 2017, though did react quickly and appropriately both times.
LastPass uses zero-knowledge security and stores passwords locally, meaning that your data is stored on your device, not with LastPass. This keeps your data safe from everyone, including any of the company’s employees. Unfortunately, if you lose the master password, LastPass can’t help you get it back.
LastPass isn’t free, although it does offer a 30-day trial. Still, for the advanced security it offers the $24 it charges annually isn’t too much of a hassle. At $48 per year, you can cover up to six users. LastPass offers a variety of security features that are designed to make your data impregnable.
Best Option for SMBs: 1Password for Teams
If you want an inexpensive password manager an entire team, 1Password is a great option. This password manager packed with a lot of advanced security and access features. It is also the only password manager that has a new form of cybersecurity, called web crypto API, which provides an extra level of security in apps.
Another interesting option, however, is at the 1Password Pro ($11.99 per person/year) level which allows user to fine-tune access to a very detailed level along with unlimited file recovery. The control along with file recovery make it a great option for teams who need that level of security in addition to the standard service.
1Password features end-to-end encryption, meaning that your data is encrypted twice: once going out, and once coming in. If having end-to-end encryption wasn’t enough, 1Password also uses a “secret key” that an additional layer of security, 1Password offers users get at least 1GB of encrypted file storage.
The recommendations and tips above should help you manage your ever-growing list of usernames and passwords with a bit more ease on your part, without the frustration of having to constantly reset the login data for little-used sites.
Do you have experience using any of the above password managers, or do you know even better ones? Please let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.