How a Password Manager Protects You and Your Data
Password managers help you create strong, unique logins and protect them with encryption and advanced security.
If your organization uses a password manager, you might wonder how it keeps your information safe. A password manager protects your accounts by helping you store, manage, and share logins and other information securely. But is it safe to keep all your passwords in one place? While countless digital tools aim to help you tighten up your cybersecurity, not all of them are equally secure.
Read on to learn why password managers are the best tool for securing logins, how password managers work, how zero-knowledge architecture keeps your logins secure, and how Dashlane’s features protect your online activities and boost your organization’s cybersecurity.
Why a secure, trustworthy password manager makes a difference
Did you know that 61% of data breaches across all sectors involve compromised logins? For many people, password safety isn’t high on the priority list. But that’s often because they don’t understand just how big of a deal a few leaked logins can be. The average cost of a data breach for an organization with fewer than 500 employees is $2.98 million—a devastating expense for most businesses. But taking simple steps like implementing a password manager can significantly reduce the chances of a breach.
A password manager can boost your security and help you better meet customer expectations: 83% of consumers prefer to do business with companies that prioritize their data protection. The more you can showcase your company’s security, the more comfortable your customers will be trusting you with their personal and payment information.
Like any tool, a password manager is only effective if it’s used. Since lack of trust is the second biggest reason employees hesitate to use a password manager, choosing a tool with top-rate security can increase employee adoption rates and decrease uncertainty.
Password management 101
Safeguarding both professional and personal logins is one of the simplest and most impactful ways to protect yourself and your workplace from hacks and breaches. When you use weak or compromised passwords, you’re putting yourself and your organization at risk. Even your personal logins can be an attack vector if you’re one of the 22% of people reusing them at work, which is why it’s important to be protected everywhere.
Passwords are highly valuable to cybercriminals. Stolen or weak passwords allow them to bypass cybersecurity measures such as firewalls and endpoint security because they can simply log in to accounts to access your company’s information systems or data directly. Once inside, stealthy attackers can carry out their objectives without detection for a long time—often for weeks, months, or even years.
Still don’t think this applies to you? It only takes one weak or compromised login to start a major breach, as we’ve seen in several recent cyberattacks. The supply chain attack on SolarWinds, which gave threat actors access to government and private company systems, was blamed on an intern’s weak password (solarwinds123). A compromised employee password also led to a major breach at GoDaddy, one of the largest website hosts, exposing the data of more than 1 million customers.
Following best practices such as using unique, strong passwords and securely storing them prevents your passwords from being compromised—and password managers like Dashlane make this easy.
Check out our top five FAQs for answers to common questions about getting started with Dashlane.
How a password manager works
A password manager is a software application that stores all your logins in a secure location. The app creates long, random, unique passwords for you and securely stores them, so you don’t have to memorize them or write them down.
Unlike passwords stored through other means, such as spreadsheets, email, and browsers, passwords stored in a password manager are encrypted—and, in the case of Dashlane, can only be decrypted on a verified device associated with you.
In addition to being secure, password managers are convenient and simple for you to use because they:
- Sync across all your devices so you can access your accounts from your computer, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices anytime
- Eliminate the need to memorize all your passwords except the master login that unlocks your password management app
- Allow you to quickly and safely share passwords with coworkers for shared accounts or onboarding purposes
Password managers allow you to easily follow best practices recommended by cybersecurity authorities such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)—without negatively impacting your productivity.
Here are a few recommended practices, which are simple to adopt with a password manager:
- Use a different, strong password for each account
- Don't use personal information (including pet names and anything that cybercriminals can guess from social media) or dictionary words from any language to create passwords
- Use the longest password or passphrase that each account allows
- Require at least two methods of user identity authentication with 2-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible
- Update passwords for any accounts that have been compromised in a data breach or another security incident
- Don’t write down passwords and leave them on your desk or taped to your computer
- Don’t store passwords in your web browser
- Use a password manager to generate and store unique passwords
How a compromised password brought down Colonial Pipeline
Just like the Solar Winds and GoDaddy breaches, the 2021 Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that crippled the largest U.S. fuel pipeline started with one compromised password. The attackers gained initial entry through a virtual private network (VPN) account, which gave them access to the company’s network.
This compromised VPN login was likely obtained from the dark web. Once the attackers got in and got started, the attack shut down operations for several days, causing widespread gas shortages and panic-buying on the East Coast. Colonial also paid a $4.4 million ransom, which was later partially recovered, but the reputation costs that come with data breaches are much harder to recoup.
Protecting your passwords is critical—while many think of hacking as breaking in and cracking a code, more often than not, cybercriminals are simply typing in stolen passwords. So it’s important to make sure yours are locked up tight, and only you have the key.