We've all been there - you're trying to log into one of our dozens of accounts across an ever-growing list of services, only to realize that you forgot the new password after you were forced to reset it a few weeks ago. You're sure you wrote it down on a piece of paper, but you can't find it - maybe someone threw it away. You find the password recovery feature, but the recovery e-mail never arrives, it takes longer than expected, or it lands in the spam folder. Sometimes, the service might ask for additional verification or you get locked out of your account and have no choice but to e-mail customer support or try to get someone on the phone.
This is a painful ritual that has become all too common in our digital age. To cope, people may choose not to sign up for as many services, many of which could improve their life or productivity. Others opt for simplifying their life and using a single password or using a predictable pattern. This puts all of those accounts at risk, as it only takes for one provider to not use password hashing or to be hacked for that information to fall in the wrong hands.
Thankfully, password managers are here to help. Personally, I've been using LastPass and highly recommend it. However, there are many more password managers that could fit your (or your company's) needs. Just like my smartphone allowed me to blissfully forget all but the most important phone numbers, my password manager has made the concept of remembering dozens of passwords seem as quaint as keeping an address book.
Here are the top 6 reasons why you should consider using a password manager as well:
- Easily and securely share passwords by just adding users with their e-mail address. When you share, you can choose to reveal the password or only allow LastPass to autofill for the user. If you share passwords without revealing them, you won't have to change it each time you revoke someone's access.
- Automatically share password updates to everyone that you've previously given access to. For some popular services, LastPass can also actually go through the entire process of changing a password by simulating a user session on your behalf - all with a single click.
- Share groups of passwords. This one is particularly useful if you work with specific teams or functions who need access to related accounts in one go.
- Generate complex passwords easily and on the fly. Instead of using the same password over and over again. LastPass' security challenge also evaluates the difficulty of your passwords collectively and gives you recommendations for improvement.
- 'Emergency Access'. LastPass lets you give emergency access to others. Users with emergency access can make a request for access to your password. You will receive a notification of the request, and if you don't reject it within a time limit previously set by you, the password is shared. This can be quite helpful in case you are unreachable or there's an accident.
- An alternative to using social logins. Social logins can help you avoid remembering dozens of passwords. However, some apps are overly aggressive in requesting access to your or your friend's data. Using e-mail signups with a password manager allows you a lot of the same convenience afforded by social logins, but without having to give access to your social account when it's not needed.