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The Importance of Password Managers

In today's digital world, passwords play a crucial role in protecting our online identities, personal information, and financial data. With the increasing number of online accounts and services, remembering all those passwords can be overwhelming, and this is where password managers come in!

A password manager is a software tool that securely stores and manages all your passwords in one place, eliminating the need to remember multiple passwords. Here's just a few of the benefits to using a password manager to manage your online identities.

  • Strong and Unique Passwords: A password manager generates strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts, making it more difficult for hackers to access your information. A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. With a password manager, you don't have to worry about coming up with new and secure passwords for every account.
  • Auto-fill Login Credentials: With a password manager, you don't have to remember all your passwords. All you have to do is remember one master password to access your password manager, and it will automatically fill in your login credentials for you when you visit a website or application.
  • Secure Storage: Password managers use encryption techniques to store your passwords securely. This means that even if someone were to gain access to your password manager, they would not be able to access your passwords without your master password.
  • Cross-device Synchronisation: Most password managers are available across multiple devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. This makes it convenient to access your passwords no matter where you are.
  • Protects Against Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, by posing as a trustworthy entity. A password manager can detect and warn you about phishing attempts, reducing the risk of falling victim to a phishing attack.

A password manager is a crucial tool for anyone who wants to protect their online identity and sensitive information. By using a password manager, you can have peace of mind knowing that your passwords are secure, and you won't have to remember multiple passwords. With the convenience of auto-fill login credentials, cross-device synchronization, and protection against phishing attacks, using a password manager is a no-brainer.

But what happens when you lose trust in your Password Manager?

LastPass, one of the most popular password managers on the market, recently announced two security incidents to the press, impacting their service. The first incident, occurring in June 2021, involved unauthorized access to its network, while the second incident taking place in December of that year involved unauthorised access to one of its servers. In both incidents, LastPass stated that no sensitive information, such as passwords or payment information, was ever compromised. However, the company did acknowledge that some user email addresses, password reminders, and other non-sensitive data may have been accessed.

Despite the lack of sensitive information being compromised, these incidents still raise questions about the security of LastPass - If a company that specialises in password security experiences a breach, what does that mean for the average user?

LastPass is just one of a multitude of Password managers on the market so we asked a couple of members of our Tech Team about their favourite alternatives to LastPass.

Jon - IT Technician and Cyber Expert - Dashlane

What are your favourite features of the product?

"I like the range of options Dashlane gives businesses'. The ability for admins to actively monitor the health of businesses' passwords while also allowing employees to store personal passwords in a separate vault is extremely useful. I also like the fact Dashlane can monitor 'the Darkweb' to make sure there are no problems with your accounts."

What do you least like about the product?

"The high price is the main con to Dashlane, but if it is in your budget you would be hard-pressed to find a password manager with more useful features useful to individuals and businesses"

Does the product offer value for money?

"Prices start from $2 per user/month for the starter package of up to 10 users, up to $8 per user/month for the all singing all dancing offering.

Paul - IT Service Delivery Manager - Bitwarden

What are your favourite features of the product?

"I like the integration across platforms, browsers and smartphones, and specifically the product's ease of use. Generating complex passwords is a cinch, as is the sharing of passwords and secure information across the team, which I'd always found a little clunky in LastPass. I also like the open-source nature of Bitwarden"

What do you least like about the product?

"A small niggle is that I need to trigger a hotkey when I want to engage Bitwarden in the browser. It's not a big deal but it isn't just "there" when I need it, which I liked with LastPass. I'm sure there must be a setting to adjust this, but as I haven't found it yet it must be hidden away! I've only been using Bitwarden for a few weeks but I have overwritten new passwords with the old ones on a couple of occasions, which can be a bit frustrating!"

Does the product offer value for money?

"Bitwarden is free for personal use which is great. To make use of the password sharing and team management features a Teams Organisation subscription is required starting at $3 per month per user. Yes, I think Bitwarden offers good value for money for its feature set compared with its competition."

Rob - Systems Admin - NordPass

What are your favourite features of the product?

"Nordpass often hits the top spot in consumer reviews and it's easy to see why. Nordpass is a fully featured and nicely polished Password Manager, but that polish comes at a price. I like how Nordpass identifies old or weak passwords and offers to update them automatically. Nordpass' real-time breach alerts if your email address appears in a published breach report, is also a stand-out feature. It's also incredibly easy to use!"

What do you least like about the product?

"This is a tough question as personally, I'm a fan of Nordpass. As mentioned, all these features come at a price and I think that price may be too high for some organisations"

Does the product offer value for money?

"As with most Password Managers, Nordpass offers a free cut-down version of its premium offering, which is a robust solution for most personal users. Nordpass also offer a premium personal subscription for around £1.24 per month, incorporating some enhanced features such as weak password detection and real-time breach notification. The fully featured subscription for teams and businesses starts at the upper end of the scale, priced at £3.60 per user per month. If your budget supports the higher premium, you really can't go wrong with this solution in my opinion"

A word to the wise: Password Managers are an excellent way to improve the security of your online identities, but as the breaches experienced by LastPass over recent months can testify no company can be 100% immune to malicious intent. Always use multifactor authentication to secure both your chosen password manager and online identities.