By Bryan Orr
Passwords: One of the more annoying things to have to keep track of.
If you use a lot of software tools in your small business, like we do, you will quickly find that password management can become overwhelming. It’s difficult enough trying to manage my own passwords, let alone those of our entire business. When running a multi-member team you will inevitably get the question, “What’s my password for_____?” The whole world stops until that password is located.
Add to that the ever impending threat of being hacked when you use the same password over and over on different sites. I remember calling tech support for a web company and asking to reset my password only to have a gentleman respond in a thick accent, asking “Is your password___________?” (He proceeds to name a super secret password that he probably shouldn’t know…not cool). Sure, many e-commerce sites and web services take great caution with your passwords, but it’s all about that weak link.
With password safety, we generally keep these practices:
- Use super abstract passwords.
- Only share passwords securely.
- Attempt to remember all of our crazy passwords (writing them down is a risk).
I have found the above process to be mostly impossible when dealing with multiple team members’ passwords (plus my own). The good news is that there are two industry leading software products that do almost all of the mind boggling work for you. Dashlane and FastPass allow you to easily create and save random and secure passwords and use them across all of your devices including Android, IOS, Windows and Mac. These tools allow you to share passwords securely between team members, as well as implement two-factor authentication for secure areas.
You may ask “But is it safe to use a password manager?” Good question. The truth is there is no such thing as absolute security. While you could be a victim to malware on or off a password manager, you’re still going to be better off having one set up than not. Using a password manager allows you to:
- Use absurdly complex passwords composed of all those letters, numbers, and funny-characters-that-you’re-not-even-sure-how-to-type-without-resorting-to-google symbols
- Share passwords with other users at the click of a button, instantly, and without any permanent record anywhere.
- Remember as few as one, single, lonely, boring password, and let the password manager do all of the asterisk-spilling, form-filling remembering for you.
It may seem confusing or too much of a hassle to set up a password manager, but by cutting off the time you have to search and figure out the passwords yourself, plus the security that you’re placing on all of your online activity, makes it well worth the initial investment.