Choosing a password manager can be difficult. There are lots of options on the market, each with its own approach to protecting your data. Password management tools are supposed to help preserve your privacy by securely storing your login information for online accounts as well as other personal data like credit card information. The best password managers ensure your private information remains private using security practices like encryption and multi-factor authentication. However, no cybersecurity tool is perfect, so it’s important to carefully research a company and its software before handing over your login credentials.
Our previous post, What Are Password Managers And Are They Safe?, explored the convenience and shortcomings of using built-in browser password managers. These tools are free, easy to use, and fairly secure. However, they’re usually limited to standard, minimum security features that are inferior to what dedicated password management tools can offer. Many of them also lack the functionality of the best password managers.
If you’re serious about online security or you’re looking for more powerful internet security management, then a dedicated password manager is the way to go.
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What Should I Look For In A Password Manager?
When it comes to password management tools, some are definitely better than others. The TracSoft team considered many features when evaluating password managers, but we decided on six criteria that are critical when selecting one. The best password managers should be:
- Encrypted: Any password manager you choose should offer encryption. Encryption is a process where your password manager takes your private data, such as passwords, and turns it into a code. It also may hash or salt that information, meaning it inserts additional, meaningless information along with your real data. If a hacker breaks through other security measures and accesses your passwords, encryption keeps the hackers from actually being able to use those passwords. However, any device that you give your encryption key to (like your phone or computer) will be able to decode and use the data. In addition to protecting you from hackers, encryption keeps the people who work for your password manager from being able to use your personal data as well.
- Evolving: Cybersecurity threats are constantly changing. Old methods become unreliable as hackers find and exploit their weaknesses. As a result, the best password managers are constantly undergoing active development and updating their methods. Their goal is to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals by being at the cutting edge of internet security.
- Audited: Every company will tell you that their password manager is secure. However, not all of these tools are equally secure or equally dependable. Before committing to a password manager, check to see if the software has undergone a third-party security audit. Any capable password manager will want to be scrutinized by third-parties to improve their credibility with clients and make themselves more marketable.
- Able to Generate Passwords: Even the best password managers can only be effective if you are choosing good passwords to begin with. If you’re relying on weak passwords like “1234” or “pa$$word,” then hackers can easily guess your password without breaking a sweat. This is why the best password managers suggest strong passwords whenever you create a new account or change an account password. Typically, these passwords are long and much more complex than the passwords people create, including random upper- and lower-case characters, numbers, and symbols. This makes them much harder to crack and adds an important layer of protection to your privacy.
- Automatically Backed Up: If you’re using a password manager, odds are you don’t actually know what your login credentials are for many websites. You expect your password manager to do that for you! But what happens if your password manager goes down? With automatic backup and restore, you don’t have to worry. Your passwords will be constantly updated in secure storage so you always have access to them no matter what.
- Convenient: Most people won’t use security tools they find inconvenient. That’s why most users don’t enable two-factor authentication (2FA) despite how much more secure it makes their accounts. To get the maximum benefit from your password manager, find one that offers features that make it easy to use. For instance, the best password managers often sync across devices so users never have to remember their passwords. Another handy feature is browser plugins. Simply login to the plugin and it will automatically populate passwords for you when you land on a site. If your password manager makes life easier, you’re more likely to use it consistently.
What Are The Best Password Managers Of 2020?
There are lots of great password managers out there. As demand for better web security tools increases, competition between these companies is leading to better, more comprehensive tools. Similarly, as these tools become more mainstream, they’re also becoming increasingly user-friendly.
Another trend among companies that make password management software is that more and more of them are bundling their products with other important cybersecurity tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs), encrypted cloud storage, and secure web browser plugins. This is another factor to consider when choosing a password manager.
So how do you get a good deal and great protection? Below is a list of five of the best password managers of 2020. We’ve consolidated this list based on cost, features, reviews from security experts and ordinary users, as well as our own experience.
- LastPass: Our top pick is one of the best-known password managers on the market. The free version of LastPass offers unlimited password storage, recommends complex passwords, and alerts you when passwords have been compromised. It is also one of the few password managers that allows users with free accounts to install its software on multiple devices. Logging in requires 2FA and involves a built-in authenticator to extra security. It works across most browsers and operating systems, and it offers Android and iOS apps as well. LastPass also offers a premium version for $36/year that allows users to securely share passwords and other data with other LastPass users and includes encrypted storage. Their $48/year subscription for families offers six user accounts, folders for sharing passwords all family members use, and a security dashboard for managing access and monitoring overall security.
- Bitwarden: Another great free option, Bitwarden is an open-source password manager. Theoretically, this should make it more secure since the more people who examine the code, the more likely security flaws will be found and fixed. However, if “open-source” gives you pause, consider that the software has been audited by a third party and was found to be secure. Offering many of the same features as LastPass, Bitwarden works across all major browsers (as well as some of the less common ones like Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave). Some users have complained that Bitwarden is not as intuitive as some of the other password managers on this list, but for users who are pretty comfortable learning new software, it offers a lot of features and great security. It also works with Windows and macOS, and can be used on an unlimited number of devices. A $10/year paid upgrade gets you 1 GB of encrypted storage, and built-in 2FA and USB compatibility. There’s also a 30-day free trial for the premium version.
- Keeper: The free version of Keeper gives you unlimited password storage, but only for one device. You can sync passwords across multiple devices for $34.99/year, and for $45/year you can add 10 GB of secure cloud storage. Beyond password management, it offers some other handy security features including dark-web monitoring that will check that your credentials have not been compromised and posted publicly somewhere online. All information in Keeper is encrypted and protected with 2FA.
- 1Password: Unlike many options on this list, 1Password does not offer a free version, however, it does offer a 30-day trial. Subscriptions start at $35.88/year for a single user, or $60/year for a family plan for up to five individual users. That buys you a combo password manager and authentication app that uses encryption keys to provide maximum security for your account. 1Password also alerts users when passwords have been breached, and users on family plans have both individual and shared password folders so that common information (like the wifi password) can be easily accessible, but more personal information can be kept private. One feature many users rave about is 1Password’s Travel Mode that allows you to remove personal data from a device while traveling and restore that same data when you return home. If you’re willing to pay for a password manager, this one is often rated as the best on the market.
- Dashlane: Users can store 50 passwords on one device using the free version of Dashlane. It works across Windows and macOS, Android and iPhone, and with the most common browsers. Like Keeper, it offers dark-web monitoring and protects your passwords using encryption. It also allows limited password sharing between Dashlane users. Paid subscriptions start at $60/year for individuals, but Dashlane offers a number of different plans for families or those who are looking for additional security tools like a VPN.
The Best Password Manager Is The One That Works For You
There isn’t one right answer to the question, “What is the best password manager of 2020?” Rather, there are many reliable, affordable options out there. The best one for you will be the one that fits your unique security needs.
And if you’re worried about your website’s security, look no further than TracSoft’s crack IT support team. We offer top-notch security monitoring using industry-leading tools. From designing secure networks to implementing end-to-end security for existing networks, we’ve got your security needs covered. Contact us today for a free security audit and let us start helping you build a customized security plan for your website or business.