It’s conventional wisdom that people should avoid relying on a ready-made universal password and instead use different passwords for different things.
Otherwise, if the wrong people get their hands on that password, what’s to stop them from using it with impunity? If a person uses the same password for their online banking information and their Netflix account and their Netflix password is stolen, then their online banking accounts are effectively compromised as well. Don’t leave all your eggs in one basket, the experts have been saying for decades, and do what you have to do to protect yourself in the digital age we now occupy.
The only problem with this conventional wisdom is the sheer amount of information and the sheer number of places where that information can be stored. Social media. Health care programs. Bank accounts. Streaming services. Club memberships. Online shopping profiles. Automated payment systems. Workplace software subscriptions. Just to name a few. To protect all that, it requires a daunting number of passwords. The average person needs no less than 100 passwords to keep all their information protected, according to a 2020 study of the issue by cybertechnic-securities firm Nordpass.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Who’s going to remember 100 passwords? Who’s going to remember a fraction of that number? Forget putting all your eggs in one basket, what if you can’t remember where the eggs are to begin with?
And, in the meantime, we’re forced to rely on our devices to do the heavy-lifting. We let our browsers remember our passwords — often, to auto-populate them at the point of entry whether it’s us or not — which means we’re back at square one. If somebody gets their hands on our devices, then it’s as good as handing over the keys to the kingdom on a silver tray.
That’s where password management applications like Dashlane come into play.
To put it simply, a password management system works as a kind of digital basket. You can put all your passwords — or eggs — in that basket in a very structured, detailed manner that keeps life organized. The difference is that this basket is, itself, protected by a secure password system. In effect, instead of remembering a host of passwords — or only a few of your passwords — Dashlane only requires the user to remember one.
Not only does Dashlane remember what our passwords are, it remembers where the passwords are, any relevant information attached to them, and even incorporates software — such as a Google extension — that enables Dashlane to collect passwords and file them away as we browse. This information is then accessed from any device, so long as the user has the password to their Dashlane account, and specific passwords can then be shared to trusted family members, friends and associates with relative ease.
Not only are passwords stored in Dashlane, but sensitive information (like bank account numbers), payment plans, forms of identification (like passports) and other forms of personal information are kept in a secure location that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. The interface is laid out in a professional way, if also aesthetically simplistic — the kind of point and click variety that personal computers have been perfecting since Windows hit the scene. And this means it should be user-friendly for anyone with marginal tech experience.
That shouldn’t give the impression that Dashlane is simplistic as a whole. In terms of password technology, it’s sophisticated, with software that manages passwords in terms of their health — or, identifying if a password has been compromised or if it’s at-risk, keeping tabs on whether you’ve used it for other sites and how often, judging whether the password is considered weak (i.e, how difficult it would be to crack), and registering how many passwords are being managed in total. Dashlane incorporates technology that automatically changes passwords as well, with the new password updated on its host site and in the Dashlane database as well. Dashlane organizes these passwords into genres, such as social media, entertainment, financial, and the like.
This comes in handy if, for whatever reason, you lose a password — whether it’s deleted from a browning history during a crash or update, whether it’s a case of old-fashioned forgetfulness, or just about anything in between — because Dashlane keeps a record that operates independently from that device, while still being readily accessible. With our lives increasingly taking place in a digital world that’s beyond our fingertips, the option to do this is less a convenience, more and more a necessity.
Like most services, Dashlane has tiers that users can choose from. At the bottom is the “Free” option that enables subscribers to utilize a simple password management system tied to a single device. For the $3.99 per month “Essentials” option, users can access their Dashlane accounts on two devices and utilize more sophisticated security systems — such as encrypted file storage or alerts regarding password usage — as well as automatically change passwords as the need arises. At the $6.49 per month “Premium” tier, there is no limit to the number of devices that can have access to a Dashlane account and all the software’s advanced features are bundled together. Lastly, a $8.99 per month “Family” option incorporates six separate “Premium” accounts into a single plan. By signing on for a year-long subscription, the total price is shaved by about 20% in all three plans.
To try out Dashlane, users also have the option to explore a free 30-day trial to test run the password management system.