How to Secure Your Google Account

Too often, I’m working with a client and request a few of their account passwords for one reason or another only to find that their passwords for multiple accounts are nearly identical and do not fall under the description of being “strong”. While using the same, simple password across multiple accounts may seem easier to manage, this method can quickly and quietly create a potential digital disaster and it all starts with your email password. Therefore, I’m highlighting Google Account’s security features to find various ways to keep digital information safe.

Two Factor Authentication

In its most basic form, two factor authentication changes the way you log in to your accounts by adding an additional step. You still enter a password as usual, but then incorporate a mobile phone number into the mix. The phone number helps to verify a pin number via text message or voice, utilize security keys that you generate and confirm, or even use a USB thumb drive for authentication.

Once you go through the two-step authentication once, you can choose to register that particular computer or device and only login via your password.

The benefits of this process are that it is essentially adding another layer of security and it allows you to manage where you are comfortable logging in and where you are not.

Review Connected Apps and Sites

Make sure you don’t have any shady apps or websites connected to your Google account by reviewing and potentially revoking permissions. Use Google’s Connect Apps page under your account to complete this step. Take the time to review what is under your account and if you’re unsure of the website, revoke access immediately.

Review Device Activity

This is a great place to start to get an overview of which computers and devices are logged in or have been logged in to your Google account. Tighten up the security under Recently Used Devices by again reviewing and potentially revoking access. You can also manage how and when you get email or text alerts when there is suspicious activity.

Make the Switch to Passphrases

My fellow co-worker, Tim Howe, wrote a great post about passphrases last year and stated it perfectly – “common techniques that we’ve been told that make for a stronger password [are] often more difficult for a person to remember than for a computer to guess.” Enter passphrases.

How to Secure Your Google Account
Passphrases are great for a person to remember and difficult for a computer to guess.

A passphrase is easy to remember yet hits all the marks to make it difficult for a computer with a longer typical length and contains all the requirements for safe and secure account entry.

Managing all those Passwords

To manage all the passwords I encounter, I personally use a combination of LastPass and Chrome’s native password management, which has worked well for me. There are also other programs that offer different options for various needs. Check out some of these great password management services, all of which offer a free plan:

In conclusion, it is extremely important to keep your accounts safe and password management is one way to do this. And with so many ways to implement different security features, avoiding a digital disaster has never been easier.

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