How to Use a Password Manager

Password managers store passwords for both enterprises and personal users. Password management software is useful because it allows users to create and store strong, unique passwords that they don’t have to remember. Password managers also keep users from having to write passwords down to remember them while creating a substantial security risk. 


New to password managers? Read our in-depth definition.

Popular password management systems include:

This article will mostly focus on using 1Password (one of the most popular and secure password management tools for businesses) with Chrome’s desktop browser. 

How to use a password manager on desktop

If your organization is using 1Password, you will receive an invitation to create an account. Enter your company email address and a master password into the correct fields. 

Make sure the master password is both a strong password but something that you can remember. Like other password managers, 1Password requires that your master password have a minimum of XX characters and use upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and a special character. Your master password is the only password you will ever have to remember, but you must make sure you know it so that you can access every other password.

Find 1Password (or other manager) on the Chrome Web Store or another browser’s app store. This tutorial will show some instructions in Safari but mostly in Chrome. 

1Password is a browser extension; download the extension to your browser. In this case, the extension has already been downloaded, so there is an option to remove it from Chrome.

image—download 1Password extension to browser.

If you are not already logged into 1Password, navigate to the web page—1password.com, or whatever iteration of the URL that uses your company name—and log in using your email and master password. The browser extension allows you to quickly enter passwords, but to do account maintenance or manage vaults, you must use the browser window. 

signing in to 1Password on browser.

To create a new vault:

Click the + New Vault button at the top left of the home page.

creating a new 1Password vault.

Add a Vault name and an optional description. Click Create Vault. 

naming a new password vault.
Within the Vault, you can manage details. If you want to add a coworker to your vault, click the Manage button by People.

adding people to vault—managing vault.
You can search coworkers within the search bar, and everyone you work with who has a 1Password account is eligible to add. Click Update Vault Access once you have selected coworkers. Once you add them to the vault, they will be able to use the password, too, so only add people who need to use that password and are within your organization (or an approved third party). 

add people to a vault.

To use the browser extension to log into a specific account, first navigate to the other website’s sign-in page. 

On the Facebook sign-in page, the email and username both show password manager logos. The email field shows 1Password’s logo; the password field shows LastPass. If you have two password managers, you can choose which one to use for autofill. If you click the 1Password logo, it will reveal any passwords you have saved for that account. If you’re currently not logged into 1Password, you will need to enter your master password before you can autofill those fields. 

1Password logo in login fields.

Enter your master password. When the credentials for Facebook pop up, select the blue Autofill button. This will automatically populate your login credentials. 

If you want to save a new password, log into an existing account or create a new one. Let’s say you want to save your Facebook password to 1Password. Fill in your email address and password fields.

When 1Password asks you if you want to save those credentials, click Save in 1Password.

saving credentials in 1Password.

If you want to update credentials, open either your browser or your extension, select the item you want to change, and select Edit at the bottom left corner. If you do this in the extension, it will take you to a browser window.

Reveal password in 1Password.

You can now change the password field. Once you have edited the password, click Save at the bottom right corner.

Using a password manager on mobile devices

To use 1Password on your mobile phone, download it from the App Store on iOS devices and the Google Play Store on Androids.

Log into 1Password. You will either need to enter your organizational address, email address, secret key, and master password, or you will need to log into your browser on your computer and scan the QR code using your phone. 

When you open the app after your phone has been asleep, you will have to enter your master password again. 

Once you have logged into your 1Password account, you can create a new vault. 

In Settings, select Vaults.

1Password mobile settings.

Click New Vault.

1Password mobile—click new vault.

Add a vault name and optional description. Click Create New Vault.

1Password mobile—create new vault.

To turn on autofill for your mobile browsers, go to Settings on your phone (not 1Password settings). Select Passwords

Settings—select passwords.

Turn on Autofill and tap 1Password, activating the check mark beside it. 

select Autofill for 1Password.

For Androids, open 1Password and select Settings. Toggle Autofill on.

Now when you navigate to a login page and enter your credentials, you’ll be asked if you want to save them in 1Password. Enter your master password and then select Autofill.

How to export and import passwords

In our example, your password records in 1Password can be exported for use in other password managers. To export data from 1Password, choose a vault from which you want to export.

Within the vault, select File. Choose Export. Click All Items.

When prompted, enter your master password to approve the transfer. Choose between .1pif, .csv, and .txt file formats; the last two are for exporting to another password manager. A .1pif file format is for transferring the data to another copy of 1Password.

To import data from another password manager into 1Password, select your name at the top right of your screen. Choose Import

The screen will ask you where your data is coming from. Choose the correct software option. Paste all CSV text from the previous password management system into the indicated box. Your data will then be imported. It’s best to check all passwords to make sure they imported correctly.

 importing passwords to 1Password.

Why should businesses use password managers?

Businesses use password managers to store strong passwords so that employees don’t have to memorize them or write them down in places where they could be stolen. Password management software also eliminates the need to share plaintext passwords with coworkers by leaving a note on their desks or sending them an email with the password.

Too, password managers largely eliminate the need to share login credentials for business platforms and enterprise applications across internal communications channels.

With companies relying on cloud-based platforms for business-critical systems like customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, finance, logistics, product lifecycle management, shared cloud storage, wireless networks, VPNs, productivity suites, and many more, an enterprise-wide password management system reduces the password fatigue that arises from needing to remember multiple passwords.

For example, if several employees are responsible for updating their company’s social media presence, IT may make the decision to issue a single set of credentials for the employees to share. In a situation like this, those employees might need to send the shared username and password through email, over chat channels, or even pass a sticky note from cube to cube.

Password managers not only collect these credentials in a secure environment, but also allow IPSec teams to easily control access for new employees, revoke access for employees who have left, and even enforce password complexity and aging standards.

The stakes for keeping passwords safe across the enterprise as a comprehensive data security strategy have never been higher. In a 2021 study by Infosys, researchers estimated that the world’s top 100 most valuable brands stood to lose value totalling between $93 billion and US$223 billion were a breach to compromise their mission-critical systems.


Try 1Password and LastPass free, or Check out eSecurity Planet’s in-depth review and comparison.

 
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a writer for Webopedia.com, Enterprise Storage Forum, and CIO Insight. She covers data storage systems and data management, information technology security, and enterprise software solutions.

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