Getting Started with Password Management

Taming Password Management

Virtually all services we need today require an online account to function. Keeping track of these user names and passwords without a secure password manager likely means you’re using the same password – or a basic variation of one – for everything. Reusing simple passwords leaves you susceptible from letting others get access to a few, if not all of your online accounts.

Managing Passwords the Wrong Way

Years ago, I fell into this trap. Every single one of my online accounts were one of a handful of password combinations I committed to memory. My mental organization had the same “secure” password for my critical accounts – banking, email, Amazon and the likes. Simpler passwords would be used for random services like social media, Uber and other services I used occasionally. The least secure “disposable” passwords were reserved for random services, like RSS readers, games and other random apps.

I thought this password scheme was ingenious at the time, but looking back, I can’t believe how dumb it was.

As data breaches became more common, I realized a leaked password could let a potential hacker into an entire segment of my online accounts. And if I was honest, my passwords weren’t **all** that different from one another, offering a skeleton key to my entire online life to anyone who broke into just one of the dozens of services I was using.

Enter the password manager

Once bigger companies started disclosing compromised data – I think in my case it was Target – I began looking for a password manager before deciding on 1Password for my needs. There are others out there with various supported platforms and price points, but 1Password had everything I needed. I haven’t looked back since, and I switched in 2014.

Here’s what I was looking for – and what you should consider – to find the best password manager to organize (and protect) your accounts.

Platform Needs

My work and personal devices are all within the Apple ecosystem, making the experience simple for me using 1Password. While 1Password offers a Windows application, usage between Mac, iPad and iPhone platforms feels consistent and incredibly Apple-like.

Password Generation

My password manager not only stores my existing account login details, it also creates strong passwords for new accounts using a highly customizable password recipe.

Proactive Alerts

The 1Password watchtower feature alerts me if any of my passwords are shared between accounts or if one of my services recently had a breach so I can update that login and avoid issues.

2-Factor Authentication (2FA) Support

Beyond having a strong password, services are now beginning to offer support for 2 factor authentication (2FA). Services leveraging 2FA security add an additional security layer by prompting you for a one-time password that resets every 30 seconds that can be managed from password management providers. 1Password supports this, allowing for added security for your most sensitive accounts.

Biometric Logins

While your master password is required to access your passwords when you restart your phone or device, you have the ability to login using FaceID or TouchID allowing you to quickly access your login items.

Browser Plug-ins

On the Mac, 1Password allows you to install plug-ins for Chrome, Safari and other popular browsers. This plug-in lets users quickly fill out form details – usernames, passwords, addresses, credit cards and more – for common web forms using a fast shortcut (command + backspace) without the need to open the 1Password app and manually copy and paste this information.

Just the Beginning

Migrating everything to a dedicated password manager like 1Password takes time and patience. But once you do, you’ll never forget passwords to anything, and you can rest assured that you’ll be protecting your online life by using unique and secure passwords for every online service you’re using today.