Most of us are vulnerable to hackers in some form who could exploit information we give online. The easy solution to this is the use of a password manager. Yet, people are reluctant to use password managers.
The marketing of password managers, to date, has not been very effective. In this article, we’ll explain why only about 10% of internet users enlist the help of one and what can be done to get people over these barriers to keep their online information safe.
What is a password manager?
A password manager stores your passwords in a secure way. You can access them with just one master password.
Some password managers will enable you to fill in your password for you when you visit a site where you already have an account.
Some work by generating a strong password on your behalf.
Getting people to trust password managers
There are two main methods in getting people to take up password managers.
- Show people the dangers of using simple passwords they write down in their computers (in their browsers, in spreadsheets) or using the same passwords for different sites
- Focus on the positives of using a password manager
Both have not been very effective, with the 1 in 10 adoption figure showing low penetration.
What’s keeping people from adopting password managers
Filling out your passwords into a password manager takes time. Many already have them stored in their web browsers, believing the task is already taken care of for them.
Others write them down.
Many just use 1-3 different passwords and try to remember them.
Giving your passwords to a password manager involves trust. People use brands they know and feel comfortable with. Password managers are a relatively new technology. Many password managers are from companies that aren’t well-known.
So, why would people give their passwords to an entity they don’t trust? They may feel more secure keeping the passwords themselves.
Potential to lose passwords
For password managers that operate off a master password, there’s the chance that the password may be forgotten. Accordingly, you might lose all passwords.
What can be done
The effort required to migrate account passwords should be addressed. Being able to import passwords from browsers or from spreadsheets could help adoption.
When it comes to trust concerns, a password manager’s entire business is built around storing passwords securely. Not being able to store them safely would possibly (and for good reason) mean the end of the business.
For concerns over the loss of a master password, a password manager could encourage users to write it down somewhere and store it safely in multiple places – in a drawer, in a safe at home, or anywhere only the customer would have access to it. Hackers couldn’t access it.
Password managers can also allow users to create hints to either help them remember or serve as an answer that could unlock a password. People’s memory bank is often strongest from the age 10-20 period (their formative years).
The name of someone’s first car, 5th-grade teacher, where they met their spouse, and so on could be a quality hint for users. It also probably can’t be known or looked up by hackers.
Password managers will need to address current concerns that are holding up the adoption of the product. If not addressed, the growth of the product will remain stagnant.
Addressing common concerns and raising awareness of the advantages of password managers and the risks of not using them will be key.