Cyber security is on everyone’s mind these days.  Now, more than ever, it is important to protect your information from those who would steal it and use it with mal intent.  Having strong and different passwords for all of your online accounts is a good place to start.  With more activity on the internet today than ever before, I find that most of my clients struggle to keep track of their passwords, are NOT making them challenging enough and hardly ever change them.  Sound familiar?  Password Managers are a quick and easy solution to these problems.

LastPass is the manager that I use for myself and one that I frequently recommend to my clients.  LastPass keeps your information safe by encrypting and decrypting your data at the device level.  This means that your master password and the keys for data encryption are not sent to the LastPass servers.  Therefore, they are never accessible to LastPass.  Two-factor authentication is also available and adds extra security.

LastPass can be added to your Smartphone and an extension is available for all major browsers on your computer.  Using the browser extension is a handy way to have LastPass autofill account information without storing that information in your web browser (never use the “remember password” option on your web browser).

To get started, simply download the LastPass app and/or the browser extension.  The setup process requires you to create an account, including a VERY STRONG Master Password that you CANNOT forget or lose.  Your master password should be kept in a separate location that is not in the cloud.  Be aware that because your password is not accessible to LastPass (as mentioned in the above paragraph on security), you cannot retrieve it if you forget it or lose it.

Once your account is set up, start filling your password vault.  This can be done by manually adding site information, allowing LastPass to save new sites when you log in for the first time, importing sites from your email or importing/uploading sites from another password manager.

Within your LastPass account, you can categorize your sites.  For instance, I have categories for medical, financial, insurance, travel and more.  There is a memo section for each site that is a handy place for storing the answers to your security questions and other information that might be associated with your online account.

LastPass also has the ability to auto-generate new and complex passwords of any length and combination of characters that might be required for a particular website.  And, LastPass makes it as easy as a click of a button to change and save your Passwords regularly.  In addition to complexity, changing your passwords every 90 days adds an additional layer of security.

The standard version of LastPass is FREE!  The premium version of LastPass costs $1 per month and is billed annually.  This allows you to have LastPass on multiple devices.  Personally, my husband and I share a LastPass account for all of our household and joint online accounts.  The premium version allows us to sync our information between our devices, will notify us if a site we access has been hacked and will allow us to quickly and easily generate secure passwords for new accounts.

You can also save multiple logins for the same site.  For instance, two family members may each have an Amazon account.  When you access the Amazon website, LastPass will give you the option to choose which of the two (or more) username/password combinations you would like to use.

If you are interested in learning more about some other password managers, PC Magazine published The Best Password Managers for 2016 and Lifehacker published a similar article called Five Best Password Managers.

If you need help getting a password manager setup and running, The Streamlined Office would be happy to help.  Contact us or call 480-221-0588 for a FREE Consultation.