Recently we sat down with a client to help them set up our client-only website, MySummitPlace.com. The client was excited to link all their financial accounts and see their full asset photo in one place. So, after looking at their invested portfolio, we started identifying the online access information for their insurance, bank and mortgage. The customer knew the general information, but had to find the last password. They knew they had to change their passwords regularly, but admitted they sometimes forgot to update where they kept their password list – a little yellow pillow in a desk drawer nearby. We’ve often seen this, think smartly about passwords that can fail terribly due to yellow sticky notes, compromised email accounts, or text files on a computer desktop. But there are great password management solutions these days!
You know it’s important to use strong unique passwords on all your devices and accounts. Strong passwords use both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. If you make them yourself, avoid using your name, initials, date of birth, or any part of your Social Security number (or that of your children or grandchildren).
However, remembering all these passwords can be quite challenging. The solution is a password manager! These applications protect all your passwords and login information in one encrypted database, so you only need to remember one master password. In times like these, when asked to change passwords regularly, these applications are very useful because they can also generate random strong passwords for you for any site.
A few to consider:
1Password was one of the first great password managers. The software is on your computer as well as on all your other mobile devices. For a low monthly fee, passwords and logins are automatically synchronized. There is also a family plan to share with others. This is useful for sharing with your immediate family, as well as sharing with a loved one, perhaps to ensure that all important accounts are known and accessible. 1Password also has a wallet function to securely store credit cards and other numbers that you want to use paperless at home and on the go.
Roboform also works on all your computers and mobile devices and offers a limited free version. For an annual fee, the premium version syncs all your devices, has a secure wallet / safe, and offers two-step verification. Roboform also has a family plan to share securely with family members
Dashlane offers a free password manager that stores your current passwords, generates secure random passwords for any site, and also provides limited access to an emergency contact. The premium version is synchronized across all your devices, shared with others and automatically backed up your information.
We are sure there are even more choices you could find, and the choice between them is mainly about your personal choice of features and ease of use. We hope you could use your summer to dive into a more secure approach to your password management. Throw away the yellow post on the wall, the scribbled index cards in the back of a drawer, or the piece of paper folded into your wallet! We take your financial cybersecurity more seriously than ever and hope we can help you with that.