Passwords, Codes, and Log-ins—Oh, My!

Jul 31, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 8.43.12 AMIt’s that time of year again…the start of school for many of you. Everyone and their mother is probably sending you a password to SOMETHING. New to your district? Okay, here’s your log-in to the benefits system. Create your user ID and password; there must be 2 numbers and 3 symbols included. New teacher training? Here’s your PowerSchool log-in and password. It will expire in 48 hours so remember you’ll need to change it later, too. Making a last minute purchase for your classroom? Create a Staples account, sign up for rewards. . .wait a second,  where THE HECK IS THAT REWARDS NUMBER?!

People, it’s raining passwords.

Now how on earth to keep track of them in a simple and safe (if you care) fashion? Here’s our take, from lowest to highest tech:

  • A somewhat organized piece of paper. We love this Password Worksheet created by Melissa B. in Kansas City. Melissa is a smart school leader who passed (no pun intended, heh heh) this worksheet out to all teachers at her school. It gives them a handy way to record all the passwords coming their way. Now, of course, this requires actually USING the sheet and keeping track of it and not losing it and not letting it get into the wrong hands. No easy feat, to be clear. And it is certainly not secure unless you actually glue it to your body. But for innocuous passwords that aren’t guarding any secret lottery winnings or Swiss bank codes, this may be the way to go. Short, sweet and simple. We love how she put the actual website details in for her teachers.
  • A digital list. You COULD keep all of your passwords in EvernoteOneNote or another digital method that’s easy to alphabetize or sort by various tags. Again, not secure, but it’s super easy to pull up your Delta Frequent Flyer number on your smartphone with one of these apps (or an Excel doc saved to Google Drive or Dropbox).
  • Web-based password manager. LastPass looks like the most popular of the web-based password managers, but some people get nervous about having their stuff online—even when it’s promised to be secure.
  • Local password manager. If you don’t want stuff stored online, you could use a local (desktop) password manager. Accessibility on-the-go (see Delta example) may be an issue, but you could find ways around this. SplashID and 1Password are the favorites here.
  • Digital locker. This NY Times article kind of freaked me out, but there is a point here. Seriously, what happens to our digital presence when we pass away? I could imagine using one of the services in this article to keep track of my benefits, social media, and other really serious passcodes.

As for me, well, I’m not going to reveal my method (and I won’t make you reveal yours). In doing research for this post, though, I’m inspired to get a little more serious about both my master password list and my social media afterlife.

And PS, we have no affiliation with any of the above companies, nor do we take responsibility if they screw up. We are just here to share some info! As always, we don’t care what kind of system you have, as long as you have SOMETHING that works well for you!

Discussion question: Anyone else have any favorite resources for password management? Pass (heh heh) it on!