Online internet secure payment and network safe communication and banking concept. Person pay in web via computer. Locks and padlocks on diagram. Concept: password manager
Italia Martinez Vallejo
By: imartinezvallejo
Read in 10 minutes

How to Use a Password Manager

Being digitally connected nowadays can be overwhelming: you need a password for everything! And let’s be honest: your memory or a small piece of paper is not the safest or the most convenient way to record all the passwords to your accounts. Lucky for you as a business owner with so many things on your plate, you can use a password manager like LastPass. It will make your life easier. So, continue reading to know more about where to find it and how to use it. But first things first…

What is a Password Manager?

A password manager is like a safety box where you keep all your passwords to all your accounts. You can lock it with a “master key” (a master password) which only you can access. Therefore, you only need to remember one password from now on: the one to access your password manager. The nice thing about this is that, besides storing and securing all your passwords, a password manager can generate complex and unique passwords automatically so you don’t have to rack your brains creating a new one every time you open a new account or want to change an existing password.

You may have this concern: what if someone else has access to my master password? That could be a risk indeed. However, it’s up to you to generate a unique and complex master password, and all your accounts will be safe in your password manager.

Why Should You Have a Password Manager?

  1. Security: Unfortunately, passwords can be stolen very easily by hackers, especially if they are very weak or you use the same password for every account. Even big sites such as Facebook can get hacked and your information can be exposed to the digital world. Now imagine you use your same password for Facebook and for your online banking account. That can be a disaster. In other words, you can avoid identity theft with a proper password manager.
  2. Convenience: You can give yourself a break: with a password manager you don’t need to memorize all your passwords or create a different one every time you open an account (trying to be overly-creative with complex passwords containing all sorts of characters). Finally, you can say good-bye to the fear of losing that notebook where you write all of them down.

As a small business owner, you probably have personal passwords and business passwords: trying to handle all of them at once can be hard, and you may be concerned that they could be stolen. A password manager can give you peace of mind when it comes to handling delicate information about your business.

Which Password Manager Should You Use?

First, you should know that there are different types of password managers. In fact, your browser has one automatically built-in, so probably you’re already using the auto-fill password feature. However, there are still risks using your browser’s password manager instead of getting one from a third-party. Also, your password manager doesn’t give you the option to create random passwords.

If you look on the internet, you will find a lot of password managers, but we’ve curated the best 3 for you to make a smart decision:

1. LastPass

This one is rated by several sites as one of the best password managers to use. One of its main appeals is that it’s free to use and you can log in from any device, create strong passwords and share with your friends and family if needed. They also have a premium version for a small price that includes some more perks; however, you can perfectly get by with the free version of LastPass.

2. Dashlane

Dashlane has almost the same features as LastPass but this one includes two-factor authentication and changes your passwords across different websites with just a few clicks. You can get it for free, get a premium account to access other features, or get their enterprise solution with a 30-day free trial.

3. 1Passowrd

The most user-friendly password manager is 1Password. It has the same features than the other ones, and it’s very simple to use. It includes the “watchtower” feature that lets you know when there’s been a breach in any of the websites you’re registered and if your information can be at risk. You can try it for free for 30 days and pay afterward just $2.99 per month, but according to the reviews, it’s totally worth it.

If you have an iPhone or iPad with iOS11, there’s a password manager already integrated on your phone that could also be helpful, in case you want to try first with this one and later on try a third-party password manager.

How to Use LastPass

Since LastPass is the best tool you can use, here’s a brief step-by-step guide on how to use it.

  1. Download the extension from their website and install it in your browser. When the file is downloaded you can just click it and it will run by itself.
  2. Open your browser and look for the 3 dot logo of LastPass in your browser toolbar on the upper right part of your window.
  3. Create an account and make a strong master password. LastPass will give you some requirements for your password. Create one that you have never used before and that won’t be easy to guess by anyone.
  4. You can start storing your passwords as you go: go to any of the websites where you have accounts, and once in the login page, fill in your information as usual. Then, instead of clicking “Sign In”, click “Save Site” and your information will be stored in your LastPass account.
  5. You can also import passwords from other password managers, including your browser’s password manager, by clicking on the LastPass icon in your browser, then click “More Options” and then “Import”.
  6. Generate a unique password by clicking on the LastPass icon in the upper right side of the window and then choose the option in the dropdown menu.
  7. From now on, the LastPass icon will appear in the text box when you try to login to any website. Click in the box to be filled and the password will be filled automatically.
  8. Flush down the toilet that paper where you wrote down all your passwords: you won’t be needing it anymore!

How to Create a Strong Master Password

The master password has to be truly unique and strong. You shouldn’t use your master password or a variation of it on any other account or application. Usually, the password manager of your choice will provide you password guidelines to help you create what you need. These are some of the common features:

  • Use at least 8 characters
  • Use at least 1 number
  • Use at least 1 symbol
  • Use uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Don’t use words from a dictionary
  • Don’t use your username
  • Don’t use personal information
  • Don’t use the same password twice
  • Don’t use your name or last name

To be able to gather all these requirements, there’s a simple trick to create a memorable but difficult-to-crack master password that also gathers all the requirements above: use a passphrase. For example mydog’sbirthdayison_Nov2016.

Now that you have all this information, you don’t have to struggle anymore trying to remember all your passwords. You won’t put your small business information at risk by using the same password over and over again. Using any of the password managers we suggested can be a good move for your business security and your peace of mind.

For more tips on how to manage your information or anything related to your small business, subscribe now to our newsletter. It’s free and every week you’ll receive an email with the latest trends, tools, and resources to grow your business.

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