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Passwords — security and actually remembering them — have spawned a new species of software: password managers. More secure than a post-it note, but are they secure enough?
As the world becomes more digital and people become more distracted, it’s more difficult than ever for us to remember the highly complex passwords that software our IT departments recommend. Eight to ten characters, requirements that there are capitals and lowercase letters, special characters — and be sure you don’t use anything that’s easy to remember such as the names of family members, pet names or special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries. Oh, and on top of all of that, you need to change the password every six to nine weeks and NEVER use the same password for more than one site. With all of these rules, it’s no wonder that most users give up and reuse a single password that’s relatively easy to recall on a wide variety of sites. It seems like digital password managers may be the answer to your security prayers . . . or are they?
People are frighteningly bad at selecting passwords, with recent studies showing that “password” and “123456” are the most commonly used passwords even in 2019. Digital lockboxes are meant to overcome our password challenges, by allowing users to remember one incredibly strong password that gives you access to all of the other passwords through a secure browser add-on. Many businesses are encouraging (or requiring!) users to adopt secure password managers, considering that these are the lesser of two evils. If nothing else, these online password managers are considered far better than storing your painfully detailed passwords on a Word document — or worse still, in Notepad in your phone.
Perhaps one of the best services that these online password vaults offer is the reminder to the user when they’re attempting to store a password on a website that is the same or too similar to passwords used in other locations. While the software is unlikely to actually block the activity, it at least brings it to the user’s attention that they’re going against the recommended best-practices for password creation and usage. When you’re selecting a digital password protection program, it’s vital that you go with a trusted solution that provides you with the level of management that you need. One item to consider: if you have an employee that leaves your organization, it can be incredibly frustrating to retrieve all passwords that are tied to a corporate account without the permission of the user since the password manager is so tightly tied to their personal identity as opposed to their corporate one.
Every time your users visit a website that includes a login function, there is the potential that they will need to spend several minutes retrieving their password or trying to figure out which password they used when they set up the account at some point in the past. When you advocate for utilizing a password manager, you might be saving more time during the week than you realize! Most digital password vaults can either generate extremely strong passwords for these sites or help remember login details so your users are logged in automatically. These solutions generally come in free and premium versions, but the premium may be worth the additional cost based on the size of your user base and the security of your information. Some of the top contenders include:
While there are many more options on the market, it’s best to stick with a well-known name to provide the highest degree of protection for your user passwords. Several of these options also offer a mobile version of their application so you can store the same passwords on your device.
Staying on top of the latest research on password management, productivity software tips and more can be extremely difficult which is why ClearPath IT Solutions is devoted to helping educate our user community through our blog. Want to learn more about protecting your business from the bad decisions that staff members can easily make? Contact us today at 309-322-2479 or fill out our quick online form to schedule your free initial consultation. Our Peoria consultants are available to help determine the infrastructure best practices that will help your organization boost productivity and smooth operations throughout your business.