In 2006, our family moved from Toronto to Montreal. We put our computer in the moving van and carried the original software and backup CDs in our car. Our theory was that if the movers damaged the computer, we would still have the CDs to install software and our documents on a new computer. However, the day before we moved into our new home, thieves broke into our car and stole the CDs. And stored on those CDs was our version of a password manager – an unencrypted spreadsheet containing all our usernames, passwords, account numbers, and more.
Fortunately, our computer worked when we unpacked it. Afterwards, we spent the better part of a week changing our login credentials. It was a long, frustrating ordeal. We vowed that we would find a better solution. Then, in 2008 we happened to be reading an article in the (now defunct) TUAW, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, which suggested using 1Password to secure and organize our passwords and other sensitive data. So, in 2008 we purchased the family plan and have never looked back.
The Benefits of a Password Manager
There are many benefits of using a password manager. First and foremost, I free my mind to focus on things to do, not passwords to remember. Likewise, I experience less worry and anxiety when I store my strong, high-quality passwords in an encrypted cloud file. Other benefits of using 1Password include:
- Automatically generate strong, random, unique passwords
- One-click logins with the auto-fill feature
- Sync usernames and passwords across devices
- Share login credentials securely with other 1Password users.
- Access passwords on another device in case of emergency
- Receive alerts if a username and/or password was exposed on the dark web
- Update or change passwords quickly and easily
- Easily use 2-factor authentication and biometrics for extra security
That covers the basics of password security, but there are more ways you can use 1Password to streamline your personal and business life.
Notes and Tags
There is a Notes section for each login where you can store a plethora of information, such as the security questions and answers, an account number, the phone number, the email associated with the account, etc. As a result, pertinent information is handy when you log in to a website, call customer service or share the login information with someone acting on your behalf (spouse, partner, etc.).
1Password also allows you to add tags to logins. I use several, and an important one is “address change.” When I click on that tag, I can see every account/website that has my postal address. So, when we move house, it is easy to see all the accounts where I must change my address. Likewise, the credit card tag allows me to see which accounts have direct billing on my credit card. When I get a new card with a new CVV code and expiry date, I click the tag, go to those accounts, log in and change the information. No more missing payments!
More than Logins
In the beginning, 1Password worked only on the Apple platform. Now, it is available for both Mac and Windows, and you can securely store so much more than just logins. Create an Identity and Wallet to fill in contact information and credit card details with one click. Securely store your health card, driver’s licence, passport, social insurance numbers, medical records, API Credentials, and more.
In Case of Emergency
No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios, but stuff happens, and it is better to be prepared. The 1Password Emergency Kit allows you to access your account if locked out. Or it will enable someone else to access your account if you can’t. For example, let’s say you were caught in a natural disaster without internet service or had an accident and were in the hospital. If your power of attorney had your 1Password Emergency Kit, they could pay your bills so your credit score would remain intact. In fact, our family members have our Emergency Kits stored with our wills and powers of attorney – and we have a copy stored on an encrypted cloud drive.
Another bonus of 1Password is that Canadians can store their data on an encrypted server in Canada. Ensure you’re at the Canadian section of their website when you purchase and look for the Canadian flag.
Honestly, 1Password is my top productivity tool because it protects me, my family, my business, and my clients. And allows my brain to be a creative centre, not a password storage warehouse. Do you have questions about using a password manager or how 1Password can streamline your life? If so, reach out and let’s have a chat or visit 1Password University to learn more.
The featured image is a photo I took in 2016 at Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean, Coleford, UK. The quote is by Jeffery Goldberg, Principal Security Architect at 1Password.