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The Risks of Storing Your Passwords in Google Sheets

By Brian Sierakowski
Oct 12, 2018

Our team loves Google. We use it every day to search, email, store and share documents, and keep our lives (both work and personal) more organized. Honestly, how did we ever function without it?

For someone who has no system in place to keep track of their passwords then Google Sheets is a great place to start: it allows to you to separate, label and categorize. Autosaves your work. Gives some level of access control as to who can view, edit, and comment on a document. It’s free and almost everyone is already using it.

But there are three main areas of concern when Google Sheets becomes the sole keeper of your passwords: Security, Operations, and Convenience.

Security

The fact that you’ve taken the initiative to create an access-restricted spreadsheet at least shows that you are aware of the need to be secure, and have taken some steps to ensure that. Google is well-known for technical excellence, so the risk of it being hacked is reasonably low. This makes Google Sheets better and more secure than sticky notes or Excel spreadsheets, but things can get complicated quickly when you start using a Google spreadsheet for highly sensitive or work-related passwords.

Operations

Controlling access to information is easy if your company only has 3 employees and everyone has the same level of access. But as soon as you hire someone who doesn’t need access to everything — or fire someone who had access to everything, then you have issues. Now you’ll need to create different spreadsheets for different accounts in order to control who can read/write the document. You may want to give someone “view only” access but when their job requires them to create a new account for the company, they’ll have to find the owner of the document in order to update that login information in the spreadsheet. Giving everyone editing access opens the document up to more opportunities for human error — or maliciousness.

Convenience

Having multiple spreadsheets with different security levels require more management and more time to maintain — valuable time that could be applied to the real job at hand. As soon as you start managing clients’ information, you add another level of complication. Your client will want to know that their information is being properly handled and securely stored. They’ll want a guarantee that only the people working on their account will have access to their information. In order to ensure accountability, You’re going to need better processes in place.

These are just a few examples of situations where using a Google spreadsheet is inefficient and inconvenient. A password manager like TeamPassword can vastly improve your company’s security processes, increase efficiency, and step-up security. TeamPassword lets you easily create groups to manage who has access to what, write detailed labels to distinguish accounts used by several clients, and quickly onboard new employees and clients by giving access (or removing it) in just a few clicks. Our browser extensions allow you to access all your login information right in your browser window without ever interrupting your workflow.

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