Unfortunately, everything tells us one of the best ways to protect our accounts is to use different credentials for each account we create. There are times when you may have ten to fifty accounts at any one time. The more accounts you have, the more difficult it is to remember each set of credentials when you need them. If you cannot access your own accounts, you have defeated the purpose of protecting your data altogether.
To address this issue, there are two main ways you can protect your credentials and have access to them when you need them. First, you can subscribe to software to keep track of your credentials and provide them to account prompts as needed. There are many software options available and some will even negotiate passwords automatically so there is less likelihood of your credentials being hacked. If you prefer not to pay for protecting your accounts, you can create a master list of your account credentials and encrypt the file on your computer for free. This post covers the process for encrypting a file on a device running Windows 7 or Windows 8 Pro.
Once the file has been created, right click on the file and select "Properties". On the General tab, click the "Advanced" button under Attributes near the bottom.
Check the box next to "Encrypt contents to secure data" and click "OK".
Choose to accept the default of encrypting the file and its parent folder, or select the radio button to encrypt only the file you selected and click "OK".
In the wizard completion window, click "Finish" to create the exported file. If you are unsure where the file will be created, scroll to the right in the completion window to list the file location.
Whichever way you choose to protect your account credentials, it is imperative not to write credentials down or to use the same credentials over and over with multiple accounts. Using either of these practices puts your data at a much bigger risk than if you used a service to store and protect your credentials or simply encrypt any files with credential information. Lastly, it is always important to backup your files, with an online backup service for instance, to protect your files and ensure you can recover if a disaster occurs. If you encrypt files, be sure to backup your encryption certificate as well.