You cannot have information security without password security. Even if you take precautions while traveling and invest well in IT security, your passwords remain the foundation of keeping systems hack-free and uncorrupted.
However, the days of using your cat’s birthday and house address as passwords are long gone. Strong passwords are difficult to remember. Sticky notes in a desk drawer and written password journals create IT security nightmares. What is the solution in these new days of information security? For many businesses, that solution is a good password management tool. Here is an overview of the best password manager apps.
Why Do You Need a Password Management App?
Password management apps work by encouraging strong passwords and saving them securely, so your employees do not have to memorize them.
Passwords fall under two categories–weak and strong. Weak passwords are easy to guess. They include personally important information like street addresses, birthdays, kid names, and pet names. Anyone who knows you in a personal or professional setting can likely guess these passwords or access the needed data through social media platforms.
Weak passwords also include sensitive information. It was not uncommon for people to use social security numbers or full birthdates as their passwords in more naive times. Even if these are not easy to guess, you end up with an information security double-whammy if someone figures out your password. Not only is your password compromised, but so is your personal information.
Strong passwords are your best bet. Your password is strong if:
- It is long. IT security specialists recommend your password contain 12 to 17 characters. The previous standard was eight characters, but today’s cybersecurity atmosphere contains more peril.
- It contains random elements. The problem with your pets’ names, birthdays, and significant dates is if you can remember them, so can other people. The same is true for quaint phrases like “MyPassword,” “IluvU,” and other apparent phrases. However, a variation of something like “carportWindows” is likely random enough to count as a stronger password.
- It contains symbols, numbers, and capital letters. Passwords like “frontdoor” or “stupidprinter” may seem random, but they lack complexity. For example, if you want a variation of “stupidprinter” try something like “1$tupidPrinteri1h@te-it2much” and you decrease the chances of a hacker’s lucky guess! Mixing up capital letters, symbols, and numbers creates a stronger password.
But strong passwords have a setback. They are difficult to memorize, which leads to many workers writing them on sticky notes, hiding them in email, or maintaining a “password list” in an allegedly hidden folder or Excel spreadsheet. These measures defeat the purpose of strong passwords. That is where password management software and apps come to the rescue.
Information Security–How Password Managers Work
The best password manager apps typically offer these services:
- Strong password creation
- Password “vaults” to store passwords
- Password and log-in monitoring
- Prevention of repeated passwords or passwords that are too similar to previous ones
Generally, a password manager allows employees to access all their passwords with one encryption key and master password. The app also uses two-factor authentication to ensure security. Employees enter their password vault using their master password and encryption key. Then the app sends a text message with a code to enter. Once the employee enters the code, they access their passwords.
Once you install a password management app, you can enter log-in credentials directly into it or use the app’s browser extension to collect the information as you surf online. If you create new log-in information, the password manager will often prompt you to ask if you want to save the password.
Enterprise accounts create another layer of security. Some apps allow you to oversee your employees’ password vaults if you need to access any of their platforms. That same function also allows you to disable the vault and the password management log-in for terminated employees.
Best Password Manager Apps
Generally, password manager apps share similar features. They often look different due to platform design or additional features. Most of these apps offer a free trial period, but it is difficult to find reliable password management apps that are free. The following apps are known for their ease of use and effectiveness.
1Password is a popular password management app that offers consumer and business products. The app locks up online passwords accessible only through a master password. You can also use biometric authentication (like fingerprints and face recognition) instead of a master password for additional security. Once installed, 1Password records usernames and passwords as you sign into apps and websites. It offers auto-fill and synchronizes data across all your devices.
Unlike other apps, 1Password’s browser plug-in works in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Brave. It is also compatible with multiple mobile platforms, including Apple, Android, and Google. If your workforce has different device preferences, 1Password will likely work for all.
If you lose a device or get it stolen, your personal information remains safely locked away. 1Password offers Travel Mode, which hides sensitive information on your phone while you are traveling. Another favorite feature is Watchtower, which scans the dark web and alerts you if it discovers compromised passwords. You can then access your accounts and change those passwords immediately.
1Password does not have a free version, but you can try it free before committing. If your office has ten or fewer employees, the Teams Start Pack only costs $19.95 per month and offers unlimited shared vaults and accord storage. When your business grows, the cost is $7.99 per user each month, and your employees may also open free family accounts.
If you seek features, Keeper may be your best choice. It offers 5 GB of cloud storage, and its browser plug-ins work with Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer. Like 1Password, you lock up your passwords with a master password. Only you can encrypt the password data because Keeper stores it on your device, not the server.
You can add two-factor authentication too. Your employees can verify authentication through a smartphone or a smartwatch.
Also, like 1Password, Keeper works with many platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Browser extensions only work for auto-filling login information, which helps with device compatibility. If your employee does not have access to the app, they can see their vault through Keeper’s website.
Features include KeeperChat, a messaging system with self-destructing messages, and a media gallery. Security Audit checks passwords and evaluates their strength, essentially eliminating weak passwords from your agency. Keeper also offers a dark web scanner called Breach Watch, which lets you know if any log-in information gets stolen. Keeper offers a 14-day free trial, and business accounts cost $3.75 per user each month. You pay for Keeper annually, so you do not have to worry about automatic payments each month. Its only disadvantage is that if you decide to switch to a different password management system, there are few options for exporting your data from Keeper to the new app.
RoboForm is one of the first password managers. It offers an industry-standard password generator, simplifies password creation, and includes two-factor authentication and syncing across devices. It remains a favorite today.
It is a favorite with smaller businesses because it allows you to share your login information with other users in your account. This feature proves helpful if you have one master account for accounting or research purposes and do not give employees individual logins. RoboForm also supports autofill, allowing authorized users to log into websites with one click.
RoboForm also offers dark web monitoring and assesses password health. If you or your employees repeat passwords or quit using strong passwords, it will alert you.
A significant advantage of RoboForm is the price. The app offers a free version, but if you want expanded features for business, you can try a 14-day free trial first. While the free version works well for individuals and consumers, most companies prefer purchasing a paid account.
If you decide to upgrade to a paid account, it is affordable. RoboForm offers discounts for multiple-year subscriptions. The monthly price starts at $39.95 per user each year for one to 10 users. If you purchase a five-year subscription, that price decreases to $29.95 per user each year for one to 10 users.
Dashlane is flexible and easy to use. It imports login information straight from your browser and works with Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Edge. If you have an office evenly split between Apple, PC, and Android users, this app will work well for all of them.
The app offers multiple options for secure log-in, including biometrics using Touch ID or Face ID. You can also install two-factor authentication using either a PIN code or biometric login. The only limit is the type of device used by your employees.
The dark web scanner with Dashlane checks password health and scans emails for potential information leaks. The spam email you ignore can contain hints of login leaks into the dark web. Dashlane finds these dangers and allows you to neutralize them.
Another unique feature in Dashlane is the built-in VPN. Since VPNs allow better information security while traveling or working remotely, you likely want this investment. If you do not already use a virtual private network, you gain that IT security advantage with Dashlane.
You can try most of the features and enjoy the security of military-grade encryption for free for 14 days. Dashlane does not post its prices for business accounts but instead gives you a quote at the end of your trial period. If you decide to try it, make sure all of your employees participate in the trial so you know for sure whether this product works for your agency. Dashlane does not post its prices for business accounts but gives you a quote at the end of your trial period.
Guard Your Information–and Your Passwords
The world of information security seems to become more complicated each day. This situation can create a nightmare for smaller businesses like your insurance agency.
American Agents Alliance helps agency owners navigate the IT complexities of insurance, including information security. However, the right IT tools, including the best password managers, can make this easier to handle. You can also benefit from professional support and experience. Learn more about our member benefits, agency management, and cybersecurity protection through Scott IT Consulting by visiting our website.