The Plain English Guide to Password Managers

What is a password manager? Why should your business be using one? Here’s everything you need to know.

Password managers offer a partial solution to one of the biggest security challenges faced by SMEs – passwords. Although vital, passwords are one of the most vulnerable aspects of your entire IT system; if a hacker can get past your system authentication, they can steal data, disrupt operations and cause considerable damage to your organisation.

One of the easiest ways to boost security is to implement a strong password rule. This means including:

  • Upper case letters
  • Lower case letters
  • Numbers
  • Special characters (!£*&- etc)
  • 10+ characters to make the password longer

The password should also be unique. Every account your employees use should have a separate, unique passphrase.

The problem with strong passwords is that they are incredibly hard to remember – or to type correctly. Especially when you have dozens of accounts across different systems.

But this is where password managers can help.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is an app that automatically generates and stores complex passwords – all you need to remember is one, secure master password to gain access. The app then takes care of everything else.

You can think of a password manager as being like a bank vault. All your passwords are securely stored inside the vault and the only way to access them is by unlocking the vault door. No key, no entry. But you only need one key to access the entire contents of the vault.

However, the password manager can create ultra-secure, unique, hacker-resistant passphrases whenever you need a new one. And more importantly still, it can automatically retrieve those impossible-to-remember passwords whenever you need them.

Solving a major security headache

Approximately two-thirds of people reuse passwords across accounts, creating a significant security risk. If hackers can obtain one of these duplicated passwords, they can use it to compromise several systems and services.

Password duplication is completely understandable (very few people can remember 20+ complex passwords unaided), but it is also a major failing in your IT defences. Using a password manager allows you to close this loophole by automatically generating completely unique passwords. And the software is simple and intuitive, so your employees don’t have to worry about forgetting any of their logins.

Until the IT industry finds a secure, robust, repeatable solution to replace passwords, businesses will continue to experience password-related security breaches. But until then, a password management app could help to significantly reduce that risk.

To learn more about password managers and how they can help keep your business more secure, please give us a call.

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