06 May 2015

Use a Password Manager for Safe, Easy Retrieval

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Use a Password Manager for Safe, Easy Retrieval

Keeping track of passwords is a chore for many Trustee offices, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re still using scraps of paper to manage passwords in your practice, you should consider the benefits of using a password manager for easy storage and retrieval of passwords.

Password managers can take several forms. They can be stand-alone applications that run on your computer or mobile device. They can also take the form of add-ons that work seamlessly with your browser. The solution you choose will depend in part on the types of software (cloud-based or desktop) and the combination of computers and devices you use in your practice.

In addition to storing passwords securely in an encrypted format, password managers can help with a range of password-related tasks. For example, they can help users generate strong, unique passwords, which can help protect against hacking attempts.

Using a password manager can also make it easier for your office to stay in compliance with the Chapter 7 handbook requirements regarding passwords. As we’ve written about before, the rules forbid sharing passwords, including email passwords. By making it easy to create and keep track of multiple passwords, a password manager can help Trustees stay in compliance with the Sample Rules of Behavior Governing Computer Use.

Here are some password manager utilities already used by some BMS clients:

LastPass – Last Pass is designed for saving webpage passwords, and not application or other types of passwords. This very popular browser add-on stores your passwords securely online. It requires some set-up, but once you have it working it offers a very seamless experience. Tutorial and videos on the LastPass website, as well as a clean interface, make it simple to get started. The basic version is free, but for only $12 a year you can get additional useful features like the ability to sync across mobile devices.

Note: Webpages that have a popup window to login are a bit trickier, as the auto login feature doesn’t work. You have to use a copy to clipboard/paste technique…but it sure beats forgetting your password!

KeePass – This free application runs on Windows and stores your passwords locally on your computer, for almost any application or website that requires a password. If you want to keep things simple, KeePass provides that experience. However, if you are a little more technologically adventurous, you can take advantage of various add-ons and additional clients that allow you to run KeePass on mobile devices, Linux, Mac and USB sticks.

The auto login feature is not nearly as user friendly as the one in Last Pass, but where it shines in comparison is the ability to store passwords for virtually anything, and it is not limited to just webpages.

Other popular solutions to investigate include DashLane and 1Password, which have solid reputations. If you choose a password manager and are not happy with it, it’s usually not difficult to export your passwords for use in another password manager. So don’t worry about being stuck with a solution.

If you need help installing a password manager, please contact the Hardware Support Technicians at the BMS Support Center for assistance.