Poor password management and security are some of the biggest contributors to data breaches. Reports show that 49% of Americans write their passwords down on paper, and 24% store them on a notepad on a computer or mobile device.
Add the fact that many users have the same few passwords across multiple platforms — which are often weak or not changed regularly — and you have a recipe for disaster.
To mitigate potential data breaches, password managers are a preferred option for businesses that need to ensure their login credentials are kept secure.
A secure storage facility
A password manager is a software program or app that allows for the storage and management of login credentials in a secure environment. This software can be installed on a desktop computer or mobile device. There are free and paid for options, as well as basic and enterprise solutions. This ensures that SMEs and large corporations can select the software that best serves their requirements.
Coming up with new, strong passwords can be difficult, especially when logins are required for multiple sites or services. A password manager not only stores login details securely, it helps to create better passwords that are wholly unique.
When updating passwords, the manager will give the option to update the original version in the vault. Plus, it will keep track of history and notify of any reused logins or weak passwords that have been created.
A password manager can also be used to store other confidential data and documents. However, the scope of this will depend on the software utilized.
Improving your digital security
Rather than relying on your input, a password manager creates credentials that are completely random. These generated passwords are usually alpha-numeric, include special characters and upper- and lower-case letters.
To add to the safety factor, credentials are stored in an encrypted database, making access to them very difficult.
To access the manager, you’ll need to create a master password. This needs to be strong and not linked to any other accounts, but also easy to remember. This master password will govern your online usage. It needs to be carefully selected and safely stored, otherwise you risk locking yourself out of your manager, and, by default, all the accounts linked to it.
Benefits of using a password manager
- You only need to remember one password – the master password. This reduces the risk of forgetting your credentials, and, if you opt for a cloud-based manager, you can access your logins from any location, on any device.
- You can generate strong passwords and store them safely. This means that each and every password will be a unique combination of numbers and letters, and that they’d be far harder to guess or crack.
- You can easily log in to accounts using the autofill feature. This reduces the risk of having to type passwords repeatedly and makes accessing numerous platforms or services far more streamlined. Many managers can also autofill in credentials such as your name, mail address and other regularly required information.
- Password managers don’t just protect you from data theft, they also reduce the risk of identity theft. Using unique credentials across various platforms segments the information you utilize instead of creating a pattern. This means that if one of your accounts is hacked, there’s less chance of another being vulnerable.
- They can alert you to a phishing site or security breach. If a site is not legitimate, the password manager will not autofill in your login details, as it doesn’t recognize the platform.
- If you’ve encountered a security threat, the manager will alert you that there was an attempted login and you can launch an investigation. This early warning system is invaluable, as the cost of a full data breach can be astronomical.
The advantages of a password manager cannot be understated, especially in a world where there’s an increased focus on the protection of private information. One unsecured login or easily accessible password could be the difference between a multi-million-dollar breach, fines, loss of reputation or worst case scenario, a complete collapse of your business.