Setting up a password manager
For those that have never used a password manager, it may come across as daunting and complicated to set one up. It’s not – you can do this.
While it will take time to set-up, populate and organize your new password vault, and learn how to quickly access your passwords, it will become second nature over time. The key is to just get started.
Step 1: Choose a password manager
Review features and pricing and choose an option that works for you. Using your desktop or laptop computer, download software (if available) and set-up an account.
Step 2: Create a master password
Follow the guidance below on choosing a master password that is long, strong and memorable.
Setting up a master password
Your master password is a single, strong password that gives you access to your password vault. Make it long, strong and memorable.
- Use a passphrase - a sequence of random words and characters strung together to create a password (20-30 characters)
- Make sure the password is unique, and that you don’t use it for anything else
- If you change your master password, change it completely
- Test the strength of your master password – use an online tool such as bitwarden.com/password-strength
Step 3: Add browser extension
The browser extension will allow you to save all your favourite sites to your vault automatically, generate new passwords, and easily fill your login credentials.
Step 4: Populate your password vault
Start gradually – there is no need to add everything all at once. Many password managers allow you to import passwords from your browser, a CSV file and other password managers. To more easily manage your passwords as the number of stored accounts grows, group or categorize your sites.
Step 5: Download the mobile app
The mobile app will allow you to access your password vault from your mobile device.
Step 6: Perform a health check
Check for duplicate, weak, default and stolen credentials, and use the password generator to reset the passwords for those accounts.
Step 7: Plan for the future
Include your master password and instructions on how to access your vault with your estate documents and other important papers.
Step 8: Go further
- Store other information you’d like to protect, such as credit card details, passport information, and notes/documents you don’t want anyone to see.
- Explore additional features like secure sharing of passwords and/or folders. Many password managers also allow you to save time online through automatic form filling.
- Review and update your security settings.
- Don’t forget other security measures to stay safe online, such as using multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever available, and keeping your computer and mobile devices up to date..
Password Manager Options
There are various factors to consider when choosing a password manager, including cost, desired features, number of users (e.g. personal vs. family plan) and just general aesthetics/usability. The grid below compares some of the industry-leading/popular options.
For departmental/faculty use of a password manager, a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) must be completed prior to use. A PIA is not required for personal use.
|Plans||Individual / Family||Single / Family||Personal Free / Personal Premium / Friends & Family||Individual||Personal Free / Personal Everywhere / Family|
|Approx. price / per year (CAD)||$45 / $72||Free / $55||Free / $55 / $83||Free||Free / $25 / $50|
|Number of devices||Unlimited||Unlimited||Free – Limited to 1 / Unlimited||Unlimited||Free – Limited to 1 / Unlimited|
|Cloud-based storage||Free – /|
|MFA||Free – /|
|Security breach monitoring/alerts|
|Encrypted file storage|