So much of our lives are spent online these days. We search for information, store information in the cloud, use an online data backup service, purchase things online and manage bank accounts. There are a lot of websites that we use that require us to setup an account with a password for security reasons, so that no one else can access our personal information.
When we create an account, we are required to create credentials; a user name and password. Each website has their own rules for creating credentials and a lot of them require you to change your password periodically. We are told not to write down credentials in case someone gets a hold of our personal information. We are also advised to create passwords that we will remember, and to make each account password different.
This is great advice, however, with all of the online accounts that I have, there is no way I’m going to remember different credentials for all of them. To begin my quest for some sort of way to remember all these credentials, I started writing down the names of all the accounts I have and quickly filled up a page of notebook paper. I know, I know, we are told not to do this. But really, how is anyone going to remember all that information? I think it’s what you do with your list that is key to keeping your sensitive information protected. There are some strategies that I came up with that may help. All of them involve documenting your accounts and their corresponding credentials in some fashion.
Personally I use a spreadsheet, save it to a flashdrive and keep it in a fireproof safe at home. If you go the paper route, I encourage you to also keep your list in a fireproof safe so that no one can get to your personal information. Check out the strategies below and let me know if you feel that any of them will work for you.
• Spreadsheet – Create a spreadsheet with columns named, Source/Website, Date, User Name, Password, & Notes. The Date field is significant because when you change your password, and you will need to do this periodically, change the date to when you actually change the password. The Notes field can be useful for anything specific to that website that you want to remember.
• Smart phone apps – There are many apps you can get to store passwords, both free and paid. Typically, you create a master password so you can access all your passwords.
• Websites – The websites work pretty much the same as smart phone apps. There are free and paid websites and you create a master password to access all your passwords.
• FreedomFiler template – FreedomFiler has many lists you can print on their website and one of them is for passwords. You can find them under the Help Desk tab at the top, then click on Forms & Lists on the left hand side of the page.
• List – If it’s easier for you, you can just hand write all your accounts and credentials on a piece of paper.