Choosing the best password manager for your computer

The best password manager is the most trustworthy system utility to securely store and manage your passwords. Learn how to find the one that best fits your needs.

What is a password manager and why do we need one?

These applications store our passwords and other personal data by applying higher levels of encryption thereby boosting the safety levels of our confidential data. The best password manager is the one that balances ultra-strong security techniques with convenience.

All of us need to remember passwords, which can be for anything like passwords for our email accounts, social networks, online bank accounts, forums, E-commerce websites and so on – the list is endless.

With so many passwords to remember it becomes difficult to manage and recollect the correct password. In order to simplify matters for ourselves, we tend to keep simpler and similar passwords or even note our passwords on pieces of paper, in text files, spreadsheets. Neither of the two strategies is a safe approach as both increase chances of our passwords getting hacked, critical personal and business data compromised, and in the worst case, stolen.

Important points to consider while choosing a password manager

While many of us have started to realize the benefits of using a password storage and management systems, with so many of them available, it can be challenging to choose the best password manager which fits our needs.

Let's take a look at some of the points that help in making an informed decision -

  1. Security and the encryption technology used – The most important factor, a password manager must provide rock-solid security and must support complex encryption algorithms and must store all data in encrypted form so that its safe from malicious hackers.
  2. Ease of use and user-friendliness – Must be easy to install, easy to use, simple to configure and customize. Users should be able to start using the application with minimal or no training at all.
  3. Portability – Must be portable across machines, especially important in case there's a need to switch to a different computer.
  4. Integration with other applications – Does it integrate with browsers so that usernames, passwords in online forms could be auto-filled, thereby saving time
  5. Pricing – What price do I need to pay for using it? Is it available free of cost? If it’s paid, then what advantages does it have over existing free tools? Is there a free trial available?
  6. Extra goodies – Does it support adding notes to the password entries? Does it allow defining rules such as password length and other characteristics? Does it provide alerts while storing weak passwords?
  7. Available support options – What are the support options available in case help is required? Does it have a forum and active community? Do they respond to queries over email or via phone calls?
  8. User reviews and testimonials – How strong is its existing user-base? What is the feedback from users who have tried the password manager? Do they recommend it to others?

Here's a list of commonly used password managers

  • LastPass – Amongst the most popular and widely used password manager, it is available in free as well paid versions. The Free version has all basic security features along with extensions for browsers. The premium version has advanced features, is available for a free trial and costs about $1 a month.
  • Norton Identity Safe – A secure and convenient product from Norton, its packed with all standard features and supports multiple browsers too. It’s available on mobile too with free apps for iOS, Android. It is free and there are no fees.
  • KeePass – The grand-daddy of all password managers, it is open source, lightweight, uses strong encryption with lots of plugins and apps available for all leading mobile platforms. Above all its free!
  • AceBIT Password Depot – Easy to use yet extremely secure password manager with special protection against brute force attacks. It can be used by single users as well as multiple users. A fully functional version is available for free 30 day trial, after 30 days the application switches to 'freeware mode' with some functions disabled.
  • Password Dragon – A free and extremely easy to use password manager, that can be even run a USB pen drive. While it may not be loaded with too many goodies, it supports all basic features expected from a password manager.

Conclusion

A password manager is undeniably an important tool that helps increase our online as well as offline security. It is our digital wallet, a must have tool in today's information age which is why we must take good care while choosing the best password manager.

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