Where Are The Passwords Kept?

Mar 12, 2013 by

www.jamesandshilo.comNow that James and I are living the “Laptop Lifestyle”, one of the things we have to manage virtually are passwords. Easier said than done. Being the nomads we are, having important info in a scribbler tucked in the secret hiding place in the closet doesn’t cut it anymore. We’ve had to go digital.

Plus, when you have a team of virtual employees or contractors working for you, and you are sharing some of your passwords with them, it no longer behooves you to use only one password for everything. My friend Susan had a falling out with her virtual assistant, and because many of her passwords were similar/followed a common pattern, her disgruntled VA “cracked the code” on some of her other important accounts, changed the passwords and contact email, leaving her high and dry – with no access to her Facebook, Gmail and other crucial accounts!

When James and I heard of this, we began a new Password Policy whereby we:

  1. Change our passwords minimum every 6 months and some we now change every 3 months.
  2. Never use the same username or password twice – we now use unrelated patterns, different combinations of numbers and letters, longer passwords etc.
  3. Use the maximum number of characters allowed in a password.
  4. Never use “easy substitutions” (ie. “pa55word” or “w3ird”).
  5. Set up bogus security question answers or create your own customize questions – it’s easy now a days with the coming of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. for someone to “crack” the answers to your birthday, where you were born, your friend’s names, your pet’s name etc.

to keep our various online resources, marketing tools, financial info, educational platforms (and more!) safe and secure…

www.jamesandshilo.comHowever, it’s too much to keep track of my own passwords in my head, let alone James!

So now we have a spreadsheet – with a hefty password of it’s own – to store our various passwords. For us, it became a necessity when we began doing more marketing online – everything requires a password! I know the password to James’ password file and he to mine. I should probably even back the passwords file up in our online file storage (services like Sugarsynk, DropBox etc).

This is actually a critical process for snowbirds. Especially if only one person takes care of the bill payments, managing investments online etc. A friend was sharing with me today that a friend of hers passed away, and the surviving spouse cannot access anything. Her husband has taken care of all of the financial matters for decades, so she’s never given it a thought… until now.

Here are a few things to consider as you move to a more virtual lifestyle:

  • Be safe and be thorough ~ don’t assume that getting hijacked will never happen to you.
  • Make recording and updating passwords a part of your digital routine, just like managing emails and backing up your hard-drive.
  • Make sure your partner/spouse (at a minimum!) or adult child has the password/secret hiding spot to where the rest of the passwords are kept!

We love the freedom that comes from travelling and experience life on the go! We don’t regret it for one second. And, there are things that make the process simpler / give us more peace-of-mind as we go. Keeping our passwords up-to-date and easily accessible for each other is one of them.