Minor changes will transform the effectiveness of LastPass.
If you don't have LastPass, there's no time like the present to sign up for this ingenious (and free) password manager.
In a nutshell, this solution is a secure, encrypted online vault that catalogs all of your critical websites and their log-in credentials. You only need to remember one Master Password.
Once you're in LastPass, you click the website's icon you wish to access, and you are automatically logged in.
It's not the only option out there. (More on other password manager alternatives in future blogs.) However, I've been using LastPass since 2014. I will vouch for its role in improving three critical aspects of my life: online security at home and in the office, personal organization, and time management.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month, observed every October, is right around the corner. The theme for 2021 is "Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”
With this annual event in mind (now in its 18th year), let's review five simple steps you can take to better protect yourself, your family, and your employer in cyberspace with LastPass.
#1 - Upgrade from LastPass Free to LastPass Premium
Using the free version is an excellent first step. This secure vault is a major upgrade for those of us who are accustomed to storing passwords in Outlook contacts, on Excel spreadsheets, or on yellow stickies.
You'll love its ability to generate complex passwords (if you don't want to make up your own), save and automatically fill in passwords for every site in your library, and trigger Multi-factor authentication (MFA).
But the free version only covers one device, so you'll need to choose between your smartphone, your desktop at work, or your laptop at home.
Since most people use more than one device, the choice is clear: $36.00 per year is a small price to pay to avoid paying a lot more if you or your company get hacked.
Learn More: LastPass Pricing Options
#2 - Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA requires you to enter a unique six-digit code delivered via cellphone or email in addition to your Master Password before being admitted into LastPass. This extra step capitalizes on the low probability that someone else would have your cellphone, the access code, and be in front of the browser (at the exact moment) you are attempting to enter LastPass.
Confession: Although I've changed my LastPass Master Password every month as far back as I can remember - ditto on the passwords for each site in my portfolio - I didn't activate MFA for LastPass until this week. The good news is I've never been breached.
The bad news is (like a lot of people), I'm busy and sometimes procrastinate while managing deadlines and other distractions.
Even if you don't have the paid version, please visit the LastPass "Security Dashboard" right now and activate MFA.
If you don't have a second cellphone as a backup authentication device, ask a relative or close friend to lend their number to the initiative. Take this step before you begin the activation process because they need to provide the code to complete the setup.
#3 - Leverage the LastPass Security Dashboard
Previously called The LastPass Security Challenge, the newly named Security Dashboard automatically scores your safety from low, medium, high, and highest based on the following factors:
- The total number of passwords you have stored (you can't have a perfect score unless you have at least 100 in the system.)
- The use of complex passwords
- Assignment of a unique password to every site
- Activation of MFA
- Disablement of offline access
- Blocked access to unrestricted mobile devices
I have been in the highest safety quadrant for years with an 88.5%. However, since activating MFA, I'm now at 97.5%.
Gamification and scoring make the whole process a lot more fun.
Learn More: The Security Dashboard
#4 – Grant Emergency Access to Trusted Family and Friends
LastPass is a repository for all of my banking, mortgage, investment accounts, and more. In addition to the safekeeping of passwords, the application allows you to store secure notes and upload important documents like home titles, wills, property deeds, and passports.
(If you choose LastPass Premium, you get 1GB of file storage and Emergency Access, neither of which are available with the free plan.)
In the event of my untimely demise, two "People I Trust" will get Emergency Access to settle the details of my estate.
Emergency Access also allows you to track "People Who Trust Me" so you can do the same for them.
#5 - Protect Parents and Grandparents with a Family Plan
While I was on the phone with my brother getting permission to use his cell number as a backup option for MFA, I talked him into upgrading to a paid plan and created interest in shifting everyone to a family plan.
Like many adult children of aging parents, it's critical to protect vulnerable seniors from the predations of cybercrooks.
Among many other goodies, the "Families" plan comes with a Family Manager Dashboard to administer six personal vault licenses and oversee synchronized sharing between the accounts.
It's not uncommon for an eighty-year-old parent to need enhanced online supervision, and LastPass makes this endeavor considerably less challenging.
This plan also allows us to combine forces to back each other up and reinforce the protection of family assets.
I just scratched the surface on a few of the fantastic benefits of LastPass. For instance, I didn't mention their Business Plans.
While I use this password manager to secure access to business accounts, I do so with the permission of my employer. If we decide to go corporate with the application, I will keep a personal/family account and migrate all business credentials following my company's Acceptable Use Policy.
I also didn't mention the Dark Web Monitoring feature. I have not activated this yet and plan to do a future blog once fully vetted.
Learn More: The Dark Web Explained
ProviDyn has been vetting solutions for our clients since 2008, and we welcome any of your questions.
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