The most sensitive and important data to protect out of the gate is arguably usernames and passwords for the various financial applications and institutions you use to conduct and track business. But what are you doing about it?
Our news is often consumed with government and corporate data hacks – a regular reminder of the necessity to protect our data and the data of our clients. And one of biggest lessons we’ve learned from the advent of cloud accounting is the reliance on dedicated apps that are focused on a very specific customer problem.
Vaults and Apps
Username and password protection vaults are one of those categories where you should be relying on a dedicated solution. While your browser’s inbuilt password log, for example, might give you a protected area to save and recall those credentials, it has other business priorities ahead of ensuring password vaults are continually secure. It’s not nearly as secure as apps that are singularly focused on this area.
Singularly focused apps that are all about identity management live and breathe by their ability to protect against hacks within their systems. One breach or failure would mean the end of their entire business. It’s this paranoia and desire to stay ahead of the hackers that you should put your faith in.
Making a Choice
When choosing identity management software for your firm, there are a few key capabilities you need to consider:
1. Your solution must easily recall numerous username and password combinations for a given singular web address. You probably use the same set of cloud accounting tools or access the same financial institutions across your business, so you must be able to access each client’s data within a click or two when landing on a given website. Some providers offer this flexibility, while others only offer one set of credentials for each website.
2. You need a solution that gives you access to your usernames and passwords across all your devices. You never know when you are going to take a call or do some work on your tablet on the road, so you must have the ability to quickly recall and login no matter which device you’re working from. Be sure to choose a vendor that syncs between your various devices and supports the devices you use most.
3. You need to find a solution that has the ability to generate and automatically save strong passwords upon creation. You should also be able to specify the length of characters and which characters are included, to support the various password requirements you’ll be asked for.
What's Out There?
Among approximately 20 vendors in this space, there are three that currently meet the criteria above that you should consider: 1Password, LastPass, and Dashlane. A complete list, including reviews and a comparison chart, can be found at G2 Crowd or PC Magazine.
I have personally used the three I mentioned above and would recommend any of them. All have free and paid versions based on your level of need, so you can try one out to get a sense of what features are important to you and your clients.
Ultimately you need a solution that gives you and your clients the assurance that you have 100 percent protection of key financial accounts and details. Just one slip could leave you and your clients paying the heaviest of costs. Don’t be one of those data points.