Tech Tips: Password Managers

One of the greatest sources of annoyance for me is passwords. I literally forgot mine EVER SINGLE TIME, and so I got in the habit of doing a ‘forgot my password’ EVER SINGLE TIME until 12 months ago, and it was a game changer. So now, everyone I know who runs or owns a small business the #1 tip I say that saved time and frustration is, use a password vault.

Key reasons:

  1. Scary news headlines about data breaches

  2. It’s super annoying and time consuming to reset your password

  3. Thinking of a new password that is unique is important (we know that), but realistically who can remember them???

Obviously there are much more technical answers to that and if you want to read more, there are plenty of great articles specific to password vault’s that are linked at the bottom of this post. I am only going to speak from my experience, because I really think every farm operation (or really any person who uses a computer or the internet) should use a password vault.

I have used a couple of different different password vault’s but I recommend only 2 in the interest of saving you time….

  1. iCloud Keychain - Free for Apple devices

    Pros: Perfect on my Mac and Apple devices, so I use on anything I know I don’t want to use cross device

    Cons: I have more than 1 Apple account so not smooth sailing and I have an Android phone

  2. Dashlane - Free tier OR Paid tier options

    Pros:

    1. Synchs Apple, Windows and Android devices

    2. Supports 2 Factor Authentication (2FA), so you can have the site text you or call you with a unique code to validate it really is you trying to access the site

    3. Can have multiple identities (great if your kids use the same computer for homework, can store their passwords in their own identify so your 4th grader isn’t doing your 2nd grader’s homework)

    4. Most importantly has a Digital Legacy (in case something God forbid, happens to you, you can state who can access your accounts if you pass away or become incapacitated) which is important if it is your business financial accounts or operations information, probably less critical for your social media accounts!

      Cons: It’s more expensive, it’s preventative - so you are spending to help prevent password theft or to save you time

All password managers either take time initially to set up, or can learn over time as you log into a site each time. Once you have a password manager the best thing to do is to go ahead and re-set passwords to be distinct across each site - because if you are at all like me - you probably have reused a password or two in the interest of remembering them.

If you would like to investigate more password management options here are a few articles from reputable publications with additional options and reviews.

PC Mag - Best Password Managers for 2019

Consumer Reports - Tips for Better Passwords

Consumer Reports - Everything you need to know about password managers

Hopefully these cold days of January give you a chance to check out a password manager and see if it might help you and your farming operation to save a little bit of frustration during the busy months in filling out your passwords and keeping your digital life secure!