Using unique passwords is one of the best practices for securing online accounts, but trying to memorize dozens of passwords across all your applications is nearly impossible.
A password manager helps to protect access to online accounts by securely storing credentials. In this article, we discuss the features and benefits of a reliable password manager and how they work.
Defining a Password Manager
Password managers are software applications that often use encrypted databases to track, store, protect and manage online credentials.
According to Ponemon Institute’s State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors Report, 35% of respondents have experienced a takeover of their accounts. The same report reveals that 51% of employees share passwords with their colleagues at work, and 14% do so for business reasons. This is where password managers come in to play.
Benefits of Good Password Managers
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 8% of data compromises in the first quarter of 2022 were a result of system and human errors, both of which password managers can help prevent.
Other benefits include:
Autofill login details. Save time by having your password manager automatically fill your account login information with the necessary credentials. This feature creates convenience and allows you to use complex and secure passwords since you don’t have to memorize them.
Share credentials securely. You can provide friends or colleagues with access to your accounts without writing out the specific characters.
Additional layer of security. With a master password and encrypted vault, you can ensure that your credentials are secure and prevent unauthorized access to your account.
Strong password suggestions. According to research by Statista, password managers were primarily used for creating unique passwords across multiple systems in 2021. Keeper includes a password generator feature that suggests secure combinations for your accounts.
Factors To Consider When Selecting a Reliable Password Manager
With many password managers available, finding the right solution can be quite challenging. Look out for some of these password manager features to know you’ve selected the right one.
1. Zero-Trust Security
Zero trust is a cybersecurity framework that secures an organization by validating each stage of digital interaction. Using platforms that follow this framework helps ensure that only legitimate users will have access to your systems, greatly reducing your organizational risk.
The zero-trust framework also enforces strict user authentication and least-privilege access, which restricts user access to resources that are necessary for the successful completion of tasks in a given role. According to Enterprise Strategy Group’s (ESG) Zero Trust Impact Report, 72% of organizations already implement zero trust or are in the process of adopting it.
2. Regulation Compliance
Software compliance regulations ensure a certain standard across all solutions and may vary depending on industry and location. Gartner predicts that compliance policies across multiple industries will expand in the next two years.
Here are some standards your password manager should comply with:
Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). While this is primarily for government software vendors, a password manager that complies with this requirement enforces more security controls in managing data.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Mostly for Europeans, GDPR is arguably one of the strongest data protection laws in the world, which means that a password manager in compliance is likely handling your data appropriately.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This regulation sets requirements to guarantee the security of payment processors when handling your debit or credit cards. If you’re paying for a password manager, they should partner with vendors who are PCI compliant.
3. Compatibility with Your Systems and Software
An ideal password manager works cross-platform, which includes mobile devices, tablets and PCs. Any password management solution you’re considering has to be compatible with the Operating System (OS) on all your devices.
For example, the Keeper app is available for download on the Mac, Linux or Windows OS for desktops, and on the App store and Play store for mobile devices. Users can install the KeeperFill browser extension to use the password autofill feature.
A password vault is the part of a password manager that actually stores the passwords for multiple applications. Password managers must have encryption, which scrambles credentials and makes them unreadable by attackers. Also, providers must store your password in its encrypted form as this makes them unable to access your credentials as well.
5. Automation (Browser Extensions Should Work Automatically)
Password managers can fill credentials into sites that match records in your vault. This feature prevents password practices that risk security such as credential reuse or weak passwords. For this process to work, a password manager should have a browser extension that autofills passwords.
Keeper’s separate browser extension — a customer favorite — recognizes sites and apps that you save within your vault and automatically fills in your credentials.
6. Password Generators
Weak passwords defeat the purpose of a password manager. A good password manager should have a password generator that offers unique combinations and enables individuals to choose the length and complexity of their credentials.
According to research by Microsoft, MFA can prevent 99.9% of account compromise attacks. A reliable password manager should require 2FA or MFA in addition to your master password before providing access to your account.
How To Set Up A Password Manager
You need to set up your password manager properly to get the most out of it and stay secure. These three steps are standard with most password management solutions:
Download the software. Start by downloading the latest version of your password manager software on all devices you intend to use. Many credential managers offer a browser extension for desktops and mobile apps.
Create your master password. Next, you need to create a master password that secures all the data you want to store in your password manager. Remember to create a strong password because this combination unlocks the encrypted vault, which stores your credentials.
Save your passwords. Log into the accounts you want to manage and save the credentials in your password manager
The day-to-day use of the system is usually through a browser extension or mobile application. When you open your browser or app, your password manager should prompt you to log into your account using a master password.
Trust Keeper for Your Password Management Needs
Keeper is an easy-to-use password manager that is built with a proprietary zero-trust architecture and end-to-end encryption to secure your credentials.
Can I use a password manager across multiple devices?
Yes, you can and you should. Password managers are not for securing computers only. You can safely store and share credentials on other devices such as phones and tablets.
What is a zero-knowledge password manager?
A password manager that has no access to the encryption key that can unlock the content of your vault is zero knowledge. This principle aims to guarantee the security of credentials since the designers of the solution cannot access your data.
What is a password management system?
A password management system is a solution that facilitates a safe and simple way of storing, sharing and retrieving credentials from an encrypted vault.
Craig Lurey is the CTO and Co-Founder of Keeper Security. Craig leads Keeper’s software development and technology infrastructure team. Craig and Darren have been active business partners in a series of successful ventures for over 20 years. Prior to building Keeper, Craig served at Motorola as a software engineer creating firmware for cellular base station infrastructure and founded Apollo Solutions, an online software platform for the computer reseller industry which was acquired by CNET Networks. Craig holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University.
Get the latest cybersecurity news and updates sent straight to your inbox
Share this blog
You May Also Like
Passkey vs Password: What’s the Difference?
There are several ways in which passkeys are different from passwords in terms of how they are created, how they are filled into websites and how they are secured. Passwords are user-generated whereas passkeys are automatically...