How do we cope with our growing digital lives?  How do we manage the ever increasing amounts of digital stuff we create and use?  This is the challenge of Personal Information Management.   

 

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Tuesday
Apr122011

Getting the password management problem under control and then some

For 10 years my password management system has been a piece of paper in my desk drawer where I wrote down all the passwords to my different accounts.  Well, almost.  It seemed I never had them all in one place and was always having to reset one or another password because I had forgotten it.  Or I was at work or someplace else and didn't have access to my piece of paper.

Not anymore.  A couple of weeks ago I installed a software package called 1Password that allows me to keep all my passwords and related identity and account information in one file, protected with a single master password.  Forget or lose this password and the system fails, but in every other respect it seems a good solution. Not only does it let me store all my passwords and login information, but it lets me store all my account numbers, frequent flier numbers, software license keys, and even secure notes, so that I can remember what my "secret questions" and answers are that some sites require.  It is integrated with my browser so that I can capture and store logins whenever I access a system, and then it provides an easy way to generate strong passwords so that I can start using different passwords and strong passwords for every system I have access to, something that wasn't the case before.  

I had been thinking of getting such a tool for a while and was finally spurred on by a fascinating article about how a security firm was brutally hacked because the CEO was careless in the way he managed his passwords (among other things).  Like me he used the same password for multiple systems and in some cases used passwords that were weak and easily cracked.  With a tool like 1Password, there is no excuse for doing such a thing.  

The encrypted file sits in my Dropbox folder, which means it is synchronized across all my devices.  There is also an iPhone app that has access to this information.  So whether I need to remember the password to my wireless router or whether I need to get my frequent flier number, it's available from any of my devices.  I just need to remember the one password.  To me this is a key piece of my personal information management (PIM) puzzle and I'm glad I've got it under control.

 

   One password to rule them all


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