img-desktop-vaultI manage login information for over 100 websites. I have a system. My passwords have just the right variety, complexity, yet consistency to allow my blood pressure to rise every time because this system does not work. I recognize that resetting a password and updating a spreadsheet isn’t exactly a hardship, but even the trivial takes its toll after enough time. Throw in the need to access those same 100 websites from multiple locations and you develop a Pavlovian sigh at the sight of the words LOG IN.

Two weekends ago a work emergency called for me to log into three different accounts. Between a down VPN connection to my work PC and 15 minutes of credential attempts, I conceded that my “system” was so broken I would have to head into the office. I had already known about Lastpass, but it took this weekend interruption to force me into action. I wanted password management off my plate.

I paid the $12, downloaded the App and it asked me to create one password – long and complex – that would be the last one I’d every have to remember. Lastpass is set up so that in the event they are hacked or coerced by the powers that be, they don’t have a record of your password to give up. I gave the program access to my browsers, and almost instantly every login and password I’d ever used was populated in neat little tiles. I pruned a few that were dated, then generated a more complex password for one and tested it out. It worked perfectly, which I realized would now be the norm.

I can log into Lastpass from any browser, and set how long I want to stay logged in. Logging into all my sites from there is a non-issue, and I can operate from my “vault” where I can organize everything in folders, sort by use frequency, keep notes on different accounts, etc. I can also choose a bundle of sites and share their credentials with a coworker, so if the next emergency hits while I’m on vacation I won’t be the only gatekeeper. I can even set an emergency contact to gain access under certain circumstances.

We shouldn’t be tasked with figuring out passwords. They should be the moment before the task. Lastpass makes logging in and out of websites as mindless and secure as it should be. $12 well spent.