Want to know the #1 action to take as your first accomplishment in 2017 that will benefit you for a lifetime?
Start using a password manager.
Seriously - it's that simple, but also that meaningful and everlasting. Here, we help you think about the process to choose the best one for you.
Passwords - The Keys to Your Kingdom
Passwords are the keys to your kingdom, and the need to manage digital credentials is here to stay - including, if not especially, in your personal life.
If you are not using unique 14-character-plus passwords for every signon you have the odds are astonishingly high that there is a bad ending for you ahead that will include financial loss, inconveniences, and headaches that will last for years before going away. Unfortunately, these odds only mount the longer you wait and no matter how smart or how high your IQ, your brain is simply not wired to memorize more than six or seven passwords at once, much less at 14-characters-plus each.
So, start today, get'er done, and be in a much better spot to think about everything else besides bad password habits that's coming looking for you online in 2017, much less over the coming years.
The Right Password Manager For You
It's easy to search the internet and find good reviews on the solid password managers that are out there today. Some are free, all are absurdly affordable, and we will add our two-cents to the subject soon. But first, some context:
Using a good password manager is easier than you think.
Password managers are getting better all the time and once setup, vastly improves the experience of navigating the ever-increasing element of our digital lives. They synch across all your devices and over time and with some adjustments and tweaks you make along the way, begin to work almost magically and intuitively; it's there just when and where you need it to be.
It's not just a place for passwords.
Think of a good password manager as a digital safe for the important stuff - credit card details, insurance information - all your electronic identifying information belongs in a password manager for security and easy recall. It's like the perfect cubby-hole to stash this stuff and yet have immediate access, complete control, and with high security all around.
Password Managers come with beneficiary features now.
Want to make your #1 loved one especially miserable when you die? Leave them without access to your passwords.
Ask the bank, or your lawyer - the process is tedious and accessing accounts and information without credentials is extremely time-consuming, paperwork intensive, and potentially expensive to your beneficiaries.
Creating the Perfect Master Password
You can forget most of what you learned about a good password.
First of all, it should be longer than you may have been led to believe, and secondly, the use of multiple character types doesn't help. I suggest using the power of math to your benefit and using 14-characters or more for your master password - the one you use to get into your password manager so it can do the rest of them for you.
The best approach to a long password is to string a few random words with one and another that give you a visual you can remember and use for recall when you need it.
Example: cowboy-palm-street-ocean. (Use of hyphens is for clarity and not necessary for the password.)
I just made this up but now have a 21-character super-solid password that I can easily recall with a visual image in my head of a cowboy leaning on a palm tree along a street crossing the ocean. This example is a great master password to use for accessing the password manager and letting it do the rest by creating, storing, retrieving, and populating password fields when signing on over any device I own.
Like Everything Else in Cyber Security, It's a Process!
Ramping up and getting your password manager up and running is a process. We talk about this all the time with customers and in training sessions. It's the reality we all face - to survive and succeed in the Digital Age certain adjustments must be made and the sooner one gets started, the better. Adaptability and agility are words that equate to survial and success in the Digital Age. This is not avoidable - embrace it and consider these traits and skills part of your everyday being.
The first steps are the hardest but once up and running with your password manager and some personal customization for efficiency of use, you will find greater enjoyment and less friction in your daily online activities.
And, best of all, with this one step you have made significant progress toward reducing the risk you can expect to endure in your personal and professional life for many years to come.
Which Password Manager to Use?
This is the easy part, and you don't need me to find the right one. Just search the internet, and you will find recent articles by trusted sources that will give you analyses and review of the best one's available today and suitable for your use.
But, I do have a lot of experience with them and have a sense for which are most favored by amateurs and professionals alike.
Personally, I use LastPass and like it very much. Others prefer 1Password for its user-friendly interface, and I notice IT professionals seem to favor Dashlane, another excellent product.
Pick any one of these three, and you will not go wrong, but in the process pay particular attention to how they encrypt and store your passwords to find which works best for you.
Need help? Coaching? Training? Consultation?
Contact us here.
For more on the smart way to craft passwords "The Art and Science of Passwords - Redux".
Thanks for reading, and your next move? Privatize email and come off the abuse of "free" email forever. Read more here: