Working with a virtual assistant is a huge step when you’re a business owner, but it also brings up a lot of questions. One of the first questions that comes up for anyone who has considered hiring an assistant is all about how to share passwords with your VA.
Passwords are sensitive information, after all.
And not only that, but many times a password opens the door to accounts that have sensitive financial information. The idea of sharing passwords with someone who is essentially a complete stranger over the internet is off-putting, if not downright scary.
Plus, how do you go about actually sharing the password safely?
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Fortunately, the problem of password-sharing is one that has been solved effectively.
There are online tools you can use to share passwords that won’t compromise the safety of your information.
In fact, it’s entirely possible to give someone your login credentials for any website without the other person even seeing what your password is.
There are several password-sharing solutions that work really well. Dashlane Business and 1Password Teams are both good solutions with a lot of users.
My favorite solution for sharing passwords is called LastPass.
I’d heard about LastPass for a while but had never used it until I was ghostwriting a review for a client. She needed me to log into her account for the service we were reviewing, and instead of sending me the password, she sent me a LastPass invitation.
I was hooked almost immediately!
I’ve also used LastPass with my own virtual assistants. I don’t have a long-term assistant at the moment, but I do like to outsource when I have a special project going on or there’s a backlog of things I don’t feel like doing.
I love being able to share access to my different business accounts easily without having to worry about changing my passwords every time someone comes on board or wraps up.
What I Like About Using LastPass
Password managers are some of the greatest tools invented for online users (like you and me!). They help you keep track of your passwords, which is way better than trying to write everything down.
You can install the app on mobile devices so you never have to look up a password.
They’ll also help you generate super-safe passwords that can’t be cracked AND they make it easy to use them even if there’s no way on Earth you’ll ever remember them. Personal use alone is a great way to use a password manager.
But the #1 feature of password managers that makes them ideal for any entrepreneur who needs to outsource is the way they can “share” your password without actually sharing your password.
What you’re basically doing when you share a password is sending a virtual “key” to your virtual assistant. You go into your LastPass account and you share one of your “passes” with your VA’s email address.
When your VA accepts the pass, she can “click-through” to access the online account. LastPass enters the login credentials on the site invisibly. It’s basically magic.
When you log into your account, you can manage who sees what. You can arrange all your different passwords by folder. It’s easy to give and revoke access to any password.
You can even set up a folder of passwords that your VA will use, and share that folder.
This password-sharing software is an incredible tool that I couldn’t live without, at this point. Have I convinced you to try it yet?
LastPass only works with Chrome, which is great because that’s my browser of choice. Other password managers will work with other browsers.
Most of them operate under the same premise, though: opening the virtual door for your VA to walk through, without ever sharing the actual information with the VA.
What I like about LastPass the most, though, is that I can use the sharing features for free. There are paid plans, but when you’re just sending your passwords to someone else, you don’t need a premium plan.
How to Start Sharing Passwords With Your Virtual Assistant via LastPass
LastPass is easy and effective. But it takes a minute to get set up right. There’s a great tutorial here, but I’ll break it down for you too, just in case you (like me) jump in without reading the tutorial and then get yourself very, very confused.
To set up LastPass on your computer, you need to do two things: install the Chrome browser extension and create an account.
To install the browser extension go to lastpass.com and click on the big red button that says Get LastPass Free. You’ll be prompted through the installation process, and it only takes about 10 seconds from start to finish.
Once you’ve got the browser extension installed, it’s time to set up your account. Click on the LastPass logo up at the top of your browser.
It looks like this (and yes, I have a lot of browser extensions):
When you’re logged in, that little grey square with the white dots will become a little red square with white dots.
Once you’ve got your account set up, it’s off to the races!
Every time LastPass sees you log into a site, it will ask you if you want to store that password in your vault. (I always say yes! Store those bad boys!)
When it’s time to share a password, go to lastpass.com and log in.
You’ll automatically land on your list of sites with stored passwords.
Find the site you want to share. When you hover over it, you’ll have the option to Launch (clicking on this will open the site in a new window and log you in), and you’ll also see three little squares appear in the bottom right. The middle square is where you want to click to share your password.
You’ll get a pop-up where you’re prompted to enter the email address of the recipient. (If this isn’t your first time sharing something, you’ll be able to pick from a drop-down of past recipients or enter a new one.) You can also check the box to let the recipient see the actual password, if you want.
Hit the red Share button, and your part is done!
For the sharing feature to work, your recipient will also need to set up LastPass on their computer. That means installing the Chrome extension and creating an account.
How to Revoke Access in LastPass
If you ever need to revoke access, that process is even simpler than sharing.
Here’s what you do:
Log in at LastPass.com and click on the share icon in the grey strip on the far-left side of the browser window. Locate the password you want to un-share (aka revoke), click the checkbox, and then go to the Actions drop-down menu and click on Revoke Access. The other person won’t be able to use that login anymore.
See what I mean? Magic.
Now you can cross “I don’t want to share my information” off your list of objections to hiring a VA.
When you’re ready to move forward, I highly recommend checking out the VA Finder service here at Horkey HandBook. It takes a ton of the guesswork out of finding a qualified VA and leaves you with the task of finding someone you “click” with. You can learn more here