Keep a record of passwords
In a busy world where every task seems to take too long, accessing an online service can feel like a bit of a drag. And with each new password that we create, an extra element of complexity is added to our lives. Unsurprisingly, most of us will take advantage of the save this password to your computer facility.
We’ve all become accustomed to creating a unique password for each new application, and we’re well aware that if we don’t keep a record of that password, getting in the next time is not going to be easy. It will involve requesting a new password, following a link sent to our email account, creating the new password, and, again, being tasked with remembering it.
It’s not unusual for one person to be the guardian of more than 100 passwords and user IDs. When it comes to accounts such as online banking, email, website, Trustpilot, newspaper archives, e-Bay etc – those we anticipate accessing on a regular basis – we make an effort to keep some sort of record of the password. This might be in the form of a handwritten note tucked behind the clock on the mantlepiece, a mental note tucked into our memory, a digital note tucked into a document on a device – or, best of all, it might be stored by means of a specialist app such as Dashlane.
What about those seemingly one-off logins?
Let me share with you a recent experience.
A client came to me with a three-year-old laptop whose hard drive was totally knackered. In the process of installing a new hard drive, I needed to transfer Windows’ Office software, so I asked my client for her Office sign-in details. She had no idea what they were.
Apparently, when she installed Office 2016 onto her new laptop, three years ago, she assumed that it would be a one-off exercise, and just didn’t bother to keep a record of the login details.
What should have been one of the easiest parts of this job became a logistical headache. The client searched her home for paperwork and scrolled through documents for forgotten notes. She even conferred with family members in an attempt to piece together the details of that set-up process.
Don’t throw away the key
Long story short – we got there in the end.
But this experience – just one of the many similar cases I’ve come across over the years – highlights the problems caused by a nonchalant attitude towards passwords.
Remember: if you need to make a password, you need to keep it. There’s no point in being given a key if you’re just going to throw it away.