If you’re a daily internet user, I’m sure by now you’ve realized that there’s a fine balance between convenience and safeguarding your data when you’re online.
Everyone wants to keep their data (usernames/passwords) safe but no one wants to remember and keep track of dozens (or hundreds) of different logon credentials.
That’s where a password manager come into play.
LastPass is a free multi-platform password management utility that solves the password fatigue problem.
It’s called LastPass because as long as you remember your LastPass master account, it’ll be the last password you need to remember.
In this article, I’ll explain how LastPass keeps you safe & organized.
How It Works
The software functions as a browser plugin that collects usernames & passwords as you enter them.
Once these usernames & passwords are collected, they’re encrypted, stored locally on your machine, and then sent to the LastPass servers.
Because the data is stored both locally and remotely, users have the ability to access their LastPass password vaults from any machine with an internet connection.
For those concerned that their sensitive data is being stored on remote servers, keep in mind that all data is encrypted prior to being sent to the LastPass servers.
Even if a LastPass employee tried to improperly access customer data or the LastPass servers were hacked, the data would still need to be decrypted for the intruder to gain access to any valuable data such as credit card numbers, logon credentials, etc.
What It Does
LastPass is much more than a simple password management utility, another helpful tool includes the auto form filler.
Once you sign up for a free LastPass account, you can create ‘identities’ by entering common form data such as name, address, payment info, or whatever else you want. Then, whenever you need to create a new account at website, you can use the ‘identity’ to auto-fill the information.
I’ve found this feature to be super helpful as I use separate address, phone, email, etc., information for my personal accounts and my web portfolio accounts.
Any time you enter logon data on a site, LastPass will give you the option to store the site’s logon credentials in your LastPass vault.
Site specific data stored in the LastPass vault can be organized by profile as well as customizable groups.
Extra features include the ability to sync data stored in your LastPass vault with any other machine with an internet connection.
Instead of sending username/password data via e-mail to your spouse, family, etc., you can simply provide them with your LastPass credentials and they’ll be able to access the same data you can.
The synchronization feature also works across any major browser so if your home machine runs Chrome and your work uses Firefox, no big deal! Simply grab the browser plugin, enter your LastPass username and password, and you’re good to go!
LastPass offers a free and premium version ($12 annually), the main difference between the two versions is the premium version works with mobile devices as well as multi-factor authentication options such as YubiKey or Sesame.
Why not just use a spreadsheet or text file?
- Not encrypted, leaving all your data vulnerable.
- They don’t integrate with your browser meaning you would have to manually find, then copy & paste your logon credentials into each site… hardly convenient or efficient.
- If the internal/external hard drive you store your password spreadsheet/text file on stops working, is stolen, etc., you lose all your data.
LastPass offers free and low cost options to safeguard your sensitive data such as usernames and passwords. Instead of wasting time trying to remember dozens of usernames and passwords, LastPass users only have to remember one master password.
In addition to this master password, LastPass Premium offers its users the ability to use multi-factor authentication options.
One of the best features that LastPass offers is all your sensitive data is encrypted and stored locally and remotely. If you lose internet connection or the LastPass website goes down, you’re still able to access your data.
On the other hand, if your machine goes on the fritz, or you need to access your LastPass password vault while on vacation, you can logon remotely using a simple browser plugin.
In addition to storing encrypted usernames and passwords, LastPass also offers the following great features:
- An auto form filler function (super convenient for creating new accounts)
- The ability to securely store any text (for notes or other important data you want to protect and/or share)
- Securely generate strong passwords
If you’re tired of having to remember a thousand different usernames and passwords, check out LastPass today!
What about you? Do you currently use a password manager? Why or why not?