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Why your small business needs a password manager

We all know that cybersecurity is important, yet for so many small businesses, it’s little more than an afterthought. Something to think about later, once more pressing issues – such as acquiring new customers and paying employees on time – have been dealt with.

If that’s you, we get it. Really we do, but cybersecurity doesn’t need to be stressful, expensive, or time consuming. There are many small changes that can rapidly improve your company’s digital defenses. The best place to start is with a business password manager.

1. You’ll never forget a password again

Your time is precious. Don’t waste it staring at a login screen, trying to remember what password you chose weeks, months, or years ago. Resetting a forgotten password? So tedious. No one wants to reach out to their IT department, or open their inbox and find the email with the reset link.

With a business password manager, you’ll never forget a password again. That means less stress and more time tackling problems that will make a real difference to your business.

2. You’ll be more productive

A good password manager won’t slow down your employees. In fact, it’ll do the opposite. That’s because the best password managers don’t just remember your passwords; they autofill them on all of your favorite devices and browsers. Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox. No typing, no searching. Just straight into the accounts that your employees rely on for work.

I know what you’re thinking: does a business password manager really save that much time? After all, it only takes a few seconds to type out a password. Remember, though, that building a business is a marathon, not a sprint, so consider how many times you enter a password each day, week, month, and year. Now multiply that by the number of people in your company, then by the number of years you hope your business is around for.

Very quickly, those seconds become many, many hours.

3. Store and share everything that’s important to your business

The best password managers store more than just passwords. They’re a home for everything that’s important to your business, including credit and debit card numbers. Most password managers will autofill these payment details when you reach an app or site’s checkout page – just like a password when you need to log in. It’s more convenient than grabbing the physical card and typing the numbers by hand, that’s for sure.

But it doesn’t stop with credit and debit cards. Many password managers let you store documents, such as contracts and presentation decks, and other pieces of information that are relevant to your business, such as private databases and server credentials.

The best part? You can then share this information with everyone inside your company. No more sticky notes by the office router. No more spreadsheets that are always out of date. No more text messages, emails, and Slack notifications asking what the Wi-Fi password is. With a password manager, everyone knows exactly where to find and access your company’s shared credentials.

When someone updates a password, everyone has access to the new one right away. So, if someone leaves the company and you need to change a few passwords, you don’t have to email the entire team and pray everyone reads your message before logging into the associated accounts. As long as they had access to the old credentials, their password manager will submit the new ones.

4. You’ll save some money

Admittedly, the best password managers cost a bit of money. Especially the ones that have been designed with small teams and businesses in mind. That might make you balk. When you’re building a company, every dollar counts, after all. So a password manager might sound like a luxury you can’t afford right now.

But the truth is something else. If your team commits to a password manager, you’ll actually save money in the long run. Remember: A password manager will save your team time and make them more productive each day. And as the age-old saying goes, time is money. Better to spend it connecting with customers and improving your product or service.

The savings don’t just come from productivity, though. The average business data breach cost $3.8 million last year, according to research by IBM and the Ponemon Institute. That figure covers businesses of all sizes and is likely lower for smaller companies. Still, the true cost will be far higher than the price of a password manager.

5. It’ll keep your money safe, too

We’ve already mentioned that a good password manager will store your team’s credit and debit cards. The benefits go beyond convenient autofill and sharing, though — it’s also a smart way to protect your company’s card numbers from would-be thieves on the web.

In general, a password manager is more secure than choosing the ‘remember my card details’ option on an individual store’s website. Why? Because many retailers have bad security infrastructure, leading to breaches that expose customer information. You don’t want your business caught up in one of these.

The companies that make password managers, meanwhile, base their entire business on being secure and are rarely if ever hacked. That’s why it’s safer to store and autofill your payment details using a password manager on your favorite apps and websites. Top-notch security that’s no less convenient? It’s a win-win for everyone at your small business.

6. Know when a password has been compromised

Your team is too busy to check the news for breaches. Similarly, no one has the time to go through all of their passwords and check whether they’re weak or have been re-used. That’s where a password manager comes in. Many will do the hard work for you and check whether any of your team’s passwords have appeared in a known breach.

Most password managers will also check for weak, compromised, or duplicated passwords and tell your team which of their accounts are missing two-factor authentication, an optional but highly recommended layer of protection.

7. It builds customer trust

The success of your business depends on building a relationship with the customer. It’s about proving to them, slowly and consistently, that you’re just as professional and dependable as the competition: a company they can trust to deliver a quality service or product, and treat customers’ private information with respect.

The fastest way to damage that hard-earned trust? With a data breach.

If any of your team members have a weak password or use the same password for multiple accounts, they’re putting your business at risk. If a password is short or predictable, it’s easy to memorize but also simple for a hacker to guess. Reusing the same password is similarly risky; if it’s ever included in a leak, cybercriminals could use it to access all of that person’s accounts, including the ones they use while working at your business.

Imagine if someone took over your company’s Facebook page and started sharing offensive material, or accessed an online spreadsheet that contains sensitive customer information. All of that hard-earned trust would disappear in an instant.

You can avoid these scenarios by adopting a password manager that gives everyone a fast and convenient way to generate and autofill strong, unique credentials.

8. It’ll give your team peace of mind at home, too

Building a new business can be tough. Real tough. For many, it involves long hours and a to-do list that never seems to get shorter. To succeed, you need focus and boundless energy. It’s hard to have either if you repeatedly clock off and discover that one of your personal accounts has been hacked, or you can’t remember the password for your online banking.

With a password manager, all of these problems disappear, giving you peace of mind at home and a less distracted brain in the office.

Many password managers will let you separate personal and work-related accounts with tags, labels, or folders. Some go a step farther by offering every business user a personal or family account. That way, all of your team members have a dedicated and clearly separated password manager that covers everything important to them outside the office.

9. It will create a culture of security

Your business might be so small that it doesn’t have a dedicated IT or security person yet. If so, you likely don’t have someone in place to enforce good security habits — not full-time, anyway. That means you’ll need to rely on your employees making good decisions on their own and, ultimately, keeping your company secure. Sounds scary? It doesn’t need to be.

You can avoid costly and embarrassing breaches with a culture of security. To create this, you need powerful, easy-to-learn tools that empower your employees to practice good security habits. One of the most effective is a password manager because it allows everyone to protect all of their accounts with strong, unique passwords. And, more importantly, with minimal input from you or an IT specialist.

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