In an effort to strengthen network security employees are expected to remember more and more complex passwords, in addition to a host of other confidential information. Furthermore, just when you have begun to remember a password you’re often required to change it! If you aren’t using one already, a password manager could be your saving grace.
Password managers store your login information for all the websites and applications you use and help you log into them automatically. They keep your passwords secure by encrypting the database with a master password – this is the only password you have to remember.
Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer all have integrated password managers, however these cannot compete with dedicated password managers. For one thing, Chrome and Internet Explorer store your passwords on your computer in an unencrypted form. People could access the password files on your computer and view them, unless you encrypt your computer’s hard drive.
In addition, many password managers offer several benefits over the built-in browser functionality including encryption, cross-platform and cross-browser synchronization, mobile device support, secure sharing of credentials, and support for multifactor authentication. In some cases, usernames and passwords must be copied from the password manager into the browser, reducing the ease-of-use but increasing the level of security by requiring entry of the master password before accessing stored log-in information.
Some password managers store your credentials locally, others rely on cloud services for storage and synchronization, and still others take a hybrid approach. Some of the options using local storage still support synchronisation through Dropbox or other storage services.
Deciding which password manager is best for you will come down to cost (some are free), features, ease-of-use and determining where you feel most comfortable storing your passwords.