Books under lock and keyThis is Day 3 in the 31 Days to Become a More Efficient Virtual Assistant Series

Previous post: The Ridiculously Easy Way to Make Conference Calls

Depending on what services you offer as a Virtual Assistant you will likely have business owners sharing passwords with you. If they are banking passwords (if you offer virtual bookkeeping services) it’s even more important to keep those passwords locked up securely to help prevent undesirable things from happening.

When I first started my business I kept all passwords written down on a “password sheet” which I kept in a file for each client. That method isn’t too bad if you live alone but it doesn’t work well when you’re traveling or working from a remote location.

There are some who keep passwords in a shared Google Doc but there are security drawbacks to that method. There can be unintended access to those passwords if a computer or smartphone are not password protected and then that device is lost or stolen. Another thing to consider is that Google accounts have been hacked in the past.

Have you had accounts hacked in the past? Has your credit / debit card been compromised? Nowadays it’s not a matter of if, it’s more a matter of when you’ll become a victim of credit card fraud. Years ago I had my Facebook hacked and then shortly after that my Google Account was hacked. About a month ago my credit card information was stolen and someone went on a spending spree.

Six easy ways you can combat hacking and theft:

  1. Enable two-factor authentication on as many sites as possible (a few which offer this are Google, Facebook, and Dropbox)
  2. Use different passwords on each site (this way if one of your accounts is hacked the hackers haven’t taken your password for other sites)
  3. Use a random password generator and use upper case, lower case and special characters. Also… the longer the password, the better (but don’t go overboard!)
  4. If you have a WordPress site and still have “admin” as your username, get rid of it now! It’s easy to do and my friend, Nancy Seeger, tells you how in this post: How to Change Your Admin Username on WordPress
  5. Don’t send usernames and passwords via email
  6. Use ISIS Mobile Wallet for your credit cards

Now you may be wondering how you can keep up with all of the various passwords, not only for yourself, but also for your clients. This is where a good password manager comes in. I have friends who love Lasspass and 1Password. I personally use Passpack so it’s the one I’m most familiar with.

Passpack for Secure Password Management

I was introduced to Passpack a few years ago by a client and have since fallen in love with it. Here are just some of the reasons I love Passpack and why you may want to give it a try.

  • Not only do you have a username and password but you also have what’s called a “Packing Key”. This Packing Key is so important to gain access to your account that you’re out of luck if you ever forget it. Forget “lost password” – not even Passpack can tell you what your Packing Key is.
  • You have the ability to tag your entries which essentially puts your passwords into “buckets” so they are easy to find by tag. (I use my client’s last name as the tag and can then easily drill down to their passwords in mere seconds)
  • With a paid plan you have the ability to share passwords, on a case by case basis, with other people. This enables you to grant access to just the passwords that individual needs vs. giving them keys to the entire Kingdom. (I love using this feature for sharing only the passwords each of my team members need). This also means that other Passpack users can share passwords they have with you.
  • You have the ability to chose between view only or view and modify each password you elect to share with someone else

Productivity Tip: Save your credit/debit card info in Passpack and you’ll save yourself running to your purse/wallet when you make online purchases.

As I mentioned before I’m not all that familiar with Lasspass or 1Password so I don’t know how their features compare to Passpack. If you use either of them I’d love to have you comment below to share with the readers.

Working online subjects you (and your clients) to the possibility unsavory things will happen but hopefully with these tips and a trusty password manager you’ll be able to reduce the likelihood this will occur.