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Guide to Managing Passwords: How to use a Password Manager

Password Manager

Cybersecurity is one of the scariest words in modern business, even in Omaha and Lincoln, NE. It feels mysterious and complicated, and to be fair, it is often both of those things.

Even so, cybersecurity can realistically be simplified to specific tools and training. If you use good password practices, you eliminate the vast majority of security risks. It actually can be that easy, and it gets even easier when you utilize a password manager.

Why Do You Need a Password Manager?

Password managers are useful for safely storing your passwords, and that becomes apparent pretty quickly. How many different passwords do you use in a single day? According to research by, the average person contends with 100 passwords on a regular basis. That’s obviously too many to remember.

So, the password manager remembers them for you, and that saves you time resetting them.

In fact, it’s so convenient that a lot of people don’t even realize that their phones provide native password management. How many times do you have to type a password for an app on your phone? If the answer is just once, that’s because the phone’s password manager handles things after that.

The convenience of a web-based password manager might be obvious, but there’s a second, more important reason why you need a password manager: password hygiene.

Password Hygiene

What does this mean? Password hygiene is a term that describes how healthy and safe your passwords (and password-related habits) are.

You’ve probably heard the basic rules before. Don’t reuse passwords. Make them long. Use letters, numbers, and symbols.

A password manager helps you follow these rules. It doesn’t just remember passwords for you. Good password manager apps will also suggest strong, secure, unique passwords that are hard to crack. The password manager takes care of password hygiene for you.

While it’s providing convenience, it’s substantially increasing your business information security in Omaha.

In fact, this is worth exploring a little deeper.

The World Economic Forum posted an essential study on the matter. If you have an eight-digit password that just uses lowercase letters, a malicious attacker can crack it instantaneously. Bump that password up to 12 lowercase letters, and it suddenly takes 3 weeks to crack. Mix in some numbers and symbols (and maybe some uppercase letters), and suddenly the same method can’t crack your password in the next 30,000 years.

It doesn’t take that much to turn a weak password into a strong one. The problem is that remembering strong passwords is even harder.

Thus, the password manager saves the day in more ways than one.

Using a Password Manager

Now that you’re sold on password managers, how do you actually use one?

You’ve already used something to that effect on your phone, but it doesn’t necessarily work with your office computer. Things can get a little hairy and weird.

Fortunately, managers are made to simplify life, and you can fully utilize it by learning a handful of easy steps.

Finding the right one

This seems like a natural place to start. Find a password manager that you like. There are a ton of good ones out there. When you’re shopping around, you’ll compare the obvious attributes. How much does it cost? How hard is it to use (many have free trials so you can test that firsthand)? Does it work with all of your devices?

Those are all important considerations, but the most important thing to check is extremely easy to overlook. How secure is the password manager?

Password manager companies devote substantial effort to maintaining their security standards. While using a strong password for the manager is crucial, there's another step that is even more important: enabling multifactor authentication (MFA) for your password manager. If MFA isn't available, it's advisable to switch to a different manager.

For anyone unclear, MFA is where you put in your password to log into an account, and then you also need to get a temporary security code from a text message or an email. There are other ways to do it too, but the point is that this makes your password manager much, much more secure.

Types of managers

Something that can help you understand password managers is learning about the different types:

  • Full-feature apps
  • Cloud accounts
  • Browser managers
  • Native device managers

Each of these will remember passwords for you, and the vast majority also suggest strong passwords. That said, full-feature password management apps are the best way to go for a couple of reasons.

First, a browser password manager only works with that one browser. If you use the same browser on all of your devices, it will remember passwords for you across those devices, but it can’t remember passwords for apps outside of the browser. That means you need something else to manage those passwords safely.

Native device managers tend to run into the same thing (Apple’s Keychain is a prime example). These managers work great on one device (such as your phone), but they might not work universally across all of your devices unless you change the settings.

Cloud accounts that manage passwords might actually work across all of your devices and apps, but they only work when you have internet access.

A full-feature app covers all of this. It will work universally on all of your devices. It works whether you’re in a browser or using a different app. It does sync across the cloud, but it can also work offline. It’s the ultimate solution. 

Utilizing the tools

With all of that covered, how do you actually use the manager once you pick one?

They’re pretty intuitive, but a quick guide will make sure you’re in the know.

First, you have to set up the password manager with an account. It will walk you through this when you install it for the first time. That’s when you will pick your master password for the manager (it’s the only password you need to remember now). It’s also when you set up multi-factor authentication. Don’t skip that.

Once that is done, you can start filling in passwords. Every time you type in a password on a device (that has the manager installed), it will offer to remember that password. Even better, you can ask it to suggest a strong password using the password generator feature and update that account record.

In fact, this is a good idea. Start with the accounts you use and care about the most, and make sure you have a strong password on each of them. It’s ok if it takes a little while to get through your list, but ultimately, you want all of your passwords to be strong and remembered by the manager.

From there, as long as you allow the manager to run, it will take care of the rest. It will recommend passwords whenever you create a new account, and it will remember every password indefinitely. It will also automatically update passwords if you have to change them.

Ensuring compliance

If you happen to work in a leadership role in your place of business, you might consider standardizing password managers in the workplace. That’s a good idea.

If you want to ensure that everyone is using the manager to good effect, consider a couple of things.

First, pay for a company account for the manager. You can usually get bulk rates to have dozens of users (and more if needed). This gets all of your staff on the same manager (which makes it easier to support), and it removes any barrier to entry.

From there, offer training to use the manager. Many people won’t need training, but some might. If that training is available, you get rid of excuses, and everyone wins.

That’s really it. If you make things easy, people tend to like it. Password managers can do that for you, and you can do that for people in your place of work. Cybersecurity in Omaha and Lincoln, NE has never been more accessible.

Topics: Password Management