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How to Choose the Right Password Manager

How to Choose the Right Password Manager

We’ve all become acquainted with passwords regardless of age or work status. Whether for an email account or your social media page, passwords are the first layer of safety and are essential in maintaining security and privacy.

With so many accounts and just one brain to memorize all the passwords, we usually set one password and use it for all accounts. Though it’s a common practice, it increases the chances of your accounts being vulnerable to hackers. All they need is one combination, and they have the keys to all your locks. This is where password managers come into play.

What Is a Password Manager?

A password manager is like a key master. It’s a software application that securely stores all your online credentials and saves you the trouble of remembering them. It allows the use of strong, unique passwords for all your accounts and their automatic retrieval whenever necessary.

A robust password manager should also employ advanced security measures, such as integration with Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools, ensuring that the password manager is built upon secure and trusted components, protecting sensitive information. You can find additional insights on the topic through reputable sources like JFrog, known for its DevOps solutions expertise.

Why Do You Need a Password Manager?

Now arises the question of why use one anyway? No one likes the prospect of their privacy being breached. The more new websites and platforms spring up, the greater the chances of theft and people trying to violate your privacy. Since the manager creates encrypted passwords and secures them in a vault, it means a dual or even triple layer of security. It’s not just for personal use; several big firms and businesses also use it to protect their important files online and ensure secure file transfers.

What Features Should You Consider in a Password Manager?

There are several password-managing software out there, and each is unique. However, when choosing one, there are some factors that you should always take into account.

1.     Compatibility

People don’t always have a single device. It’s usually a combination of phones, laptops, and computers. Hence, they use their accounts on multiple devices, and all of these need not necessarily have the same operating system. Your phone might have Android or Ios; similarly, your laptop or PC might have Windows or Mac OS.

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When choosing a password manager, examine whether the application has multi-platform support that can automatically sync across devices. You don’t want to be dependent on just one device.

2.     Password Generation

One main reason for choosing a password manager is to have unique passwords for different accounts. The software generates a random combination of numbers, alphabet, and special characters to make a strong password. Ensure that the manager you’re going for allows you to tailor the strength of the generated password.

It should use a CSPRNG (cryptographically secure pseudo­-random number generator) or a TRNG (true random number generator).

3.     Secure Encryption and Vault Location

Your password manager should serve as the middle person. What this means is that it should only do the job of fetching the password without ever being able to know it. This endeavour is efficiently carried out if it has end-to-end encryption. This way, your provider won’t have access to your credentials, and if it gets hacked, they will still be safe. The standard encryption that most software deploy is AES 256-bit encryption.

The vault has all your passwords. What matters is where this vault is kept. It can either be in the cloud or on your device. The catch with on-device vault storage is the chance of losing all your passwords in case your device gets compromised. Additionally, you’ll need to sync your password across your gadgets manually. The solution is online cloud storage. You must ensure that your software application has firm security protocols to guard the online vault.

4.     Password Sharing

If you’re heading a business unit and have to share passwords with your team, or if you wish to share some credentials with your family, your chosen password manager should allow you to do so easily. It should have options that allow you to add multiple users to your account and modify the access level.

Suppose it has multi-factor authentication here; all the better. Alternatively, it should have options that allow you to grant or reserve access to user profiles. This way, you can choose to regulate access to a certain platform without revealing the password, and that too, with limited people of your choice.

5.     Security Breach Alerts

If multiple people use the password manager, you should be able to keep track of their usage patterns. Your password manager should have a feature that gives you a custom report about granted permissions and recent, frequent logins, along with dates and times, accompanied by the resources each person used.

Additionally, if there’s any irregular activity, you should be notified with breach alerts to keep you informed. Accessing the usage patterns allows you to prevent potential threats before they harm your firm in any possible way.

6.     Secure Export and Recovery Options

If you wish to export your passwords, there should be a secure way to execute the export. You might have different reasons for wanting to do that: switch between different password managers or create a local backup.

You have to have a password for the password manager itself. Who takes care of that one? If you don’t remember it, you might lose valuable credentials. But not if your password manager has good recovery options. Ensure you know how these options work so you aren’t helpless when needed.

7.     Usability and Other Friendly Features

It’s less emphasized, but having a user-friendly interface is very important. Some factors to consider are as follows:

  • Does it auto-fill? It’s essential for saving time and prevents having it saved in the clipboard if you need to copy-paste. Your password manager should also automatically save newly created passwords without being prompted.
  • Does it come with built-in storage? It would be best if you sometimes protected your passwords and accompanying files that might be highly confidential. It’s ideal to have a place that can store them securely. What better option than your already encrypted password manager?
  • Can it group information? This feature allows the manager to save your details, making filling out long, tiring forms easier.

The Bottom Line

No application is one-size-fits-all. It may take some time to figure out the right one, but knowing the odds is important. You don’t want to invest money in software that won’t favor you in the long run.

Now that you know the purpose of password managers and the importance of their features, buy the plan that best fits the requirements that you or your firm might have to keep your data safe.

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