Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

Password overload; managing multiple passwords

Creating strong, quality passwords may not be difficult, but trying to manage several passwords can be. Managing several passwords is as important as creating a strong password, so here are some tips to aid in the effort.

All passwords should be securely recorded. You never want to write your passwords down, but if it's absolutely necessary, make sure they are stored in a secure place. Avoid storing passwords in convenient locations such as in an electronic document labeled "passwords", or on a sticky note placed by your computer.

Try dividing passwords into different groups based on account type. Prioritizing accounts can make it easier to decide what passwords need to be of more concern or changed more often. Top priority accounts are those with sensitive information. Passwords for these accounts should be very strong and changed regularly. The next group of passwords, belonging to accounts with less sensitive information, should still be of quality and exclusive to each account but only need to be changed annually.

Consider using password management software. Password management software gives users the ability to access all of their passwords in one place, reducing the need for memorization, and can create new passwords for compromised accounts. The adoption of password management software can beneficial for those managing several accounts.

Whether it’s storing passwords more efficiently or using a password management system, it is important to realize that managing passwords is as important as having them.