We live in a world where a sizeable chunk of our personal lives is now over the internet. Be it social security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers and what not, we require them on daily basis to carry out our day to day tasks.
The integration of technology and finance has brought both convenience and challenges in our lives. Still, the ease that smart financial solutions has instilled in our lives greatly outweighs the accompanying risks. The first line of defense against misuse of any personal info is passwords.
Here is the irony about passwords. Choose an easy password and it will be cracked in a moment. Go for a difficult password with many different characters and you’ll end up forgetting it yourself. So where does one go in this ordeal. Well, the answer is password management software.
You can consider Password Management Software (PMS) as online vaults that store your passwords in an organized manner. Moreover, a good password management solution will immediately recall the password you need for a specific application or process and make it a hassle free affair.
The good news does not end here, not only are such PMS available, but some of them are even free and today’s post will cover some of the industry’s best solutions that come at no cost. Some of these software also have premium versions in which you have to pay for certain bonus features.
So far as basic functionality is concerned, you will get it without any charge. Some of these solutions date back to the early 2000’s but they have evolved and also maintained a strong track record of protecting user’s passwords.
We have prepared this post in the form of a matrix and tried to highlight features of each software for a more objective comparison. This in turn will help you zero in on the best software solution based on your specific needs. Please note that the PMS have been tabulated in no particular order.
|PMS /Feature||LastPass||KeePass||Sticky Password||Roboform||Dashlane||TrueKey||LogMeOnce||Identity Safe||Enpass||Keeper|
|Cross Platform Support|
|Two Factor Authentication|
|Auto Password Capture|
|Auto Form Fill|
Although the above table may look a bit overwhelming on first glance but once you have a second look at it, you will realize it will make your decision process much simpler and quicker. It is less about which the best solution is but more about choosing what’s best for you.
Quick Links to Top 10 Free Password Management Software’s
In today’s technology driven world, we need passwords every now and then to execute even the simplest of day to day tasks like paying our outstanding credit card bill. However, passwords are notorious for either being too simple to be cracked or too complex to be remembered.
This is where the role of Password Management Software (PMS) comes in the picture. Most such tools will act as online vaults for your precious passwords and make them readily available as soon as you require them.
Most quality solutions come pre equipped with a very useful auto fill function that even saves you the trouble of copying and pasting your password every now and then. Simply access your PMS and it will deliver the password to the required field.
How do PMS Secure Your Passwords?
Most PMS rely on strong encryption techniques to secure your passwords once not in use. These PMS are equipped with a host of user authentication techniques that come in handy before granting access to all the stored passwords.
Some of the most common user authentication techniques include two factor authentication, one time password, fingerprint recognition and face recognition. Few PMS will store your passwords over the cloud while some will maintain your password data locally.
Types of Password Managers
Let’s briefly cover some types of password managers:-
This type of PMS installs on your system and stores data locally.
These are web-based PMS that store your data over cloud servers.
These PMS are used to store biometrics such as fingerprint or retina etc.
Users Can Access Data of PMS Both Locally as well as over the Internet.
Tip for Using Password Management Software (PMS)
All the PMS we have covered in our post are free of charges. Some PMS do offer paid versions that carry additional functionality but all the basic features are provided free. These PMS are very convenient to change as there are no switching costs to your migration.
When migrating, you should have two major considerations in mind. Firstly, the PMS should offer password importing functionality that will save you a lot of hassle. Once you have migrated to another PMS, always delete your data or account permanently from the migrated PMS.
Are Browser Based PMS Useful?
Upon an in depth analysis of many stand alone PMS, a valid question is why not use password managers embedded in most browsers. Firstly, they do not employ strong authentication and Encryption Protocols to secure your passwords well.
Secondly, most browser embedded password storing solutions display the password to the end user. This feature can easily be misused by someone who for instance knows our Windows password or randomly finds our PC unattended even for a short span of time.
Do You Really Need a PMS?
The answer to this question is certainly yes, at least in the immediate future. With our increasing reliance on web based payment and finance solutions, the need for evolving password management platforms is also rising fast.
In the near future, we will be fully migrating to dynamic or person specific authentication protocols such as fingerprint scanner, face recognition or even retina scanners. Until the proliferation of such available but still costly authentication solutions, PMS are here to stay in the near future.