Tired man at home computer tries to remember something with a paper and notepad next to him, a desk light shines on his desk.
Password management tools work seamlessly across devices and software, allowing you to access your business-critical documents anywhere. — Getty Images/pixelfit

Secure passwords are critical to strong cybersecurity. But it’s nearly impossible to remember the lengthy number, letter and symbol configurations for every cloud-based app. As a result, you may feel tempted to reuse a password or choose a simpler combination, but doing so can put your company at risk.

Likewise, you may use several devices throughout your workday. Without a password manager, your software credentials are tied to your device. Password management tools work seamlessly across devices and software, allowing you to access your business-critical documents anywhere. Below we’ll discuss why password managers are essential, how to choose the right tools and some free and paid apps to consider.

What is a password manager, and who needs one?

A password manager is a secure vault that saves passwords, and in some cases, generates them. Typically, they work on multiple devices and offer features, such as administrative management or two-factor authentication. When you open a program in a browser window or app, the password manager automatically fills in your username and password.

Without a password tool, you may use less secure methods to save passwords. For example, if you save passwords to a spreadsheet then copy them before pasting them to a login page, your password is briefly visible and could expose your sensitive data.

According to Keeper’s 2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, “seventy percent of SMBs report that their employees’ passwords have been lost or stolen in the past year.” Moreover, 54% say they have “no visibility into employees’ password practices.”

Consequently, stolen credentials end up for sale on hacker forums and the dark web, a problem that plagued Zoom’s reputation in 2020 after more than 500,000 accounts were compromised. Most companies and individuals benefit from password applications that generate and store credentials for cloud-based services, including cloud storage.

[Learn more: CO— Roadmap for Rebuilding: Protecting Business Data and Assets]

Providing a password manager app to your employees is the best way to ensure that they follow your data management policies and best practices.

How to choose password management tools

Providing a password manager app to your employees is the best way to ensure that they follow your data management policies and best practices. But, password solutions offer various features and price points, so you’ll want to look for options that fit your personal or business requirements as well as your budget.

When choosing a password manager, consider the following factors:

  • Does it support cross-device syncing?
  • Can it generate random passwords?
  • Is it easy to use for non-technical staff?
  • Does it offer browser extensions?
  • Will it flag weak or duplicate passwords?
  • Does it have auto-fill capabilities for online forms?
  • Can you securely share passwords from the application?
  • Will it notify you if your credentials are in a data breach?

In addition, you may want tools with built-in multifactor authentication (MFA), digital legacy options in case of death, and advanced user permissions for specific employees.

Password manager apps for businesses

There are dozens of password managers available. Free versions offer fewer features than paid apps, and still keep your credentials secure. In short, using a password manager — even a free one — is better than placing passwords in a spreadsheet or sticky note.

Each of the password managers below offers free trials or free versions and are suitable for business use:

  • 1Password: This app alerts you to weak passwords, provides an admin dashboard and includes 1 GB file storage per user. The business version starts at $19.95 per month for up to 10 employees, and 1Password offers a 14-day free trial.
  • Dashlane: This password manager provides an admin console for employee management, audit reporting for detecting compromised passwords and supports two-factor authentication (2FA). The free version tracks up to 50 passwords. Dashlane’s paid plans start at $5 per user per month, and there’s a 30-day free trial.
  • Bitwarden: This tool comes with an admin portal to manage permissions, 1 GB of free cloud storage, 2FA and a password analyzer. Bitwarden offers a free app or paid business plans that start at $3 per user per month.

Secure your essential passwords with an easy-to-use app

Protecting your business data is difficult, but password manager apps make it easier. They help your team log in to workplace tools and comply with your password management policies. Talk to your team about how they store credentials, and invest in a password manager that supports your cybersecurity goals.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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