Move over pen and paper. And stop storing sensitive passwords in the browser. LastPass can handle it all, affordably.
I’ve used many methods to store login information. From standalone apps and encrypted spreadsheets, I’ve tried it all. Password managers are designed to help protect this secret data, but most of them out there are buggy or expensive.
Note: Any password manager can contain bugs. There is no such thing as 100% secure. However, using a dedicated password manager is far better than other practices, especially when it comes to browser storage and spreadsheets.
What is LastPass?
It’s a web- and app-based manager that securely stores usernames, passwords and notes. Access is tied to a single, complex password (one you should never forget!). When used to access websites, LastPass can automatically log you into accounts (much like how a simple browser extension does, only safer).
LastPass works on Mac, Windows and Linux, as well as iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.
Did I mention that the basic LastPass for your computer is free? The Premium version, which supports LastPass app usage and other features, is just $12 a year. An enterprise edition is available for administrators needing to control multiple accounts and users. From what I can tell, Enterprise runs $24 / year per user.
For the computer, LastPass uses a browser plugin. Plugins and extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer. It uses Local-Only Decryption, which means passwords are encrypted and decrypted on your machine. If you’re like me, though, you want to take everything with you. That’s when the mobile apps come in handy.
Key features of LastPass:
- Multi-device, browser and platform sync (computers, tablets, smartphones).
- Form-fill – lets you save payment data, account numbers and more.
- Complex password generation (can be done solo or while completing a web form).
- Secure share to other LastPass users (like developers working on your site).
- Prompts for storing login information as you use the web.
- Security Challenge – highlights areas where you should enhance security.
- Multifactor Authentication (a second code that must be used to log into LastPass).
- Identities – Group logins according to work, personal, etc.
- Folders – group logins according to type, or share a folder of logins with another user.
I love that LastPass includes in-depth documentation and tutorials. Everything is explained in laymen’s terms, so even the greenest of users can understand how to use the tool. That leaves no excuse for not taking precautions to protect sensitive data, no matter where you are.
Give LastPass a shot. And be sure to let me know what you think!