If you take online security seriously, then you probably have unique, long, and completely random passwords for each one of your accounts. However, remembering all those credentials can be a hassle, if not utterly impossible. That’s why password managers exist. They allow you to secure all your sensitive information behind a master password, letting you follow online security guidelines while only remembering one passcode.
Password managers aren’t only convenient for personal use. Businesses also need to guard their accounts in a virtual vault, as a data breach can mean the end of a company. In this case, password managers go a step further by offering tools such as credential sharing and administrator consoles for a smoother workflow. While there are many free options on the market that might be sufficient for personal use, advanced features usually come at a price. This means deciding on a free or paid password manager depends on what you need, and you should be aware of the differences between the two options to prevent you from spending unnecessary money.
Free Password Managers
Everyone loves free software, especially when it provides most (if not all) the features required. Unlike other apps, it’s common practice for password manager providers to offer their tools at zero cost. Of course, these free plans come with some limitations, but they often provide the necessary features to store your passwords securely.
It goes without saying that what you can get for free depends on the provider you’re using. While some will limit the number of stored passwords, others allow you to save as much as you want. At the same time, some password managers let you use their app on any device, but others may place high restrictions on mobile usage. LastPass, for example, allows you to store an unlimited number of credentials on any device you want for free.
So, if you’re looking for a simple way to secure your credentials, there are various free options that will do the trick. Bear in mind though, advanced tools are almost always restricted. One of the main features that often requires a small monthly fee is the ability to share credentials with others. This might not be a big problem if you just want to use the password manager for yourself, but if you need to share your Netflix password with family members, you won’t be able to do so with a free password manager.
The same goes for syncing passwords between your devices. Even password managers that allow you to use any type of device usually block you from staying logged in simultaneously and don’t sync new entries throughout all pieces of equipment. This means that if you add a new credential on your computer, you’ll have to manually add it to all other devices you use – something that can become bothersome quickly, especially if you use a password generator to create strong and unique passwords.
Paid Password Managers
As we have seen, to have your password manager working at full potential, a paid subscription is necessary. For personal use, prices are quite competitive, and for a few dollars (or even a few cents) a month, password managers offer various useful features. For example, for as low as $0.67 per user per month, LastPass allows you to share credentials with others, scans the dark web for data breaches, and offers 1GB of encrypted file storage. Meanwhile, some other password managers also only offer their password audit and automatic password upgrading capabilities to paid users.
It’s common practice to have different pricing plans for personal and business use. This happens because companies usually need a set of management tools that wouldn’t be useful for regular users. Obviously, this comes at an extra cost but prices usually stay at the few bucks per user per month mark. One of the main features you’ll find is access to an admin dashboard where the company’s security manager can check everyone’s password strength, which is extremely important to keep hackers at bay. Other tools that you may expect from a business subscription are the ability to share credential folders, access to the app’s API for easier integration, and a dedicated customer support manager.
In the end, both free and paid password managers are reliable pieces of software to store your credentials. Depending on your needs, only one of them will suffice. If you just want to store your passwords and don’t mind manually updating new credentials on all devices, a free password manager is more than enough. However, if you want the app to automatically synchronize new entries and share credentials with others, paying a little extra is worthwhile. When it comes to businesses, a paid subscription is always essential. Fortunately, the software is quite inexpensive and certainly less costly than a data breach.
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