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Forget all your passwords

Most of us utilize some type of home security system, whether it is a video camera or pet watchdog. These days home security has gone way beyond protecting the physical assets in your home. Cybersecurity is becoming a big deal.

As chief compliance officer at Ranch Cap, much discussion and action has been taken from a compliance perspective to protect ourselves in the virtual world. In this article, I want to provide insight on how to protect yourself using a password manager.

A password manager is not someone you hire to manage your notecard or notebook of scribbled usernames and passwords. The password managers I am referring to are security programs that house all your usernames, passwords, and other important data you want to keep secure. A password manager service helps generate and store long, unique passwords for all your online accounts, making it easy to store passwords, keeping them up-to-date and secure.

I have had the opportunity to research a few different password managers, and I found that these programs are beneficial for business and personal use.

Here is how it works.

Pick a password manager you want to use. These programs are all very similar. Some of the top names include 1Password, Keeper, NordPass or Dashlane. The manager’s cost ranges from $2.00 to $3.00 per month for a personal membership and around $5.00 per month for a family membership. I believe paying for the service and features is worth the cost. For example, if you have a family or business plan, you can share password information securely. You can also store and share credit card information and other vital passwords or combinations.

Most programs have a free trial period and some offer free versions. I tried both Dashlane and NordPass. Dashlane was recommended to me; however, I didn’t purchase it. It was easy to use and had a lot of great features. You could request a demo on their website. Days later, I received an email that they were too busy and could not provide demos to potential customers. I ended up purchasing NordPass instead. This was mainly because of its ability to integrate company-wide settings for all our users. The overall look and feel of the programs were very similar. I have included a link here with rankings and a comparison chart of several highly ranked password managers.

As I was using the software, I realized it can be used as an important estate planning tool. Many times, we see family members stepping in to help their elderly parents manage their personal financial affairs. This involves accessing accounts online.

Using a password manager requires one login and one master password. Utilizing this type of service with a parent or family member would be especially useful to gain access to information and help manage their affairs, especially if a Power of Attorney is required. Even in the event of death, having access to a loved one’s online accounts via a password manager is much easier than spending hours online trying to gain access or reading through scribbled notes on a piece of paper.

I would encourage you to look at using a password manager. It doesn’t take much to set up and you can use the free version or pay the minimal monthly fee. Have a password management program safely and securely remember all your passwords, so you can forget them!

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