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It feels like two or three times a day, there is a report in the media about a company admitting its data was breached and customer information, including passwords, was stolen.

Even large firms or companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Target have admitted to breaches.

The truth is, no organization is immune from these attacks.

What most people need to be told is that you need to protect yourself not only by paying attention, but by carefully managing your various passwords.

When it comes to managing passwords, everyone is different. Some people write them down in a notebook and keep them in their desk. Others like using a spreadsheet. Some folks write them down and hide them under a keyboard.

Businesses have rules on password security, and those rules do not include writing them down, hiding them in a drawer, or even keeping a spreadsheet with a password on it. Today, most businesses require the use of a secure password manager.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is a program used to keep your passwords in one location, usually encrypted, as well as backed up to the cloud.

There are many managers to choose from - some paid, some free.

You can try searching for one, but may be overwhelmed with all the choices.

This blog from PC World helps to narrow down the choices for free password managers.

To protect yourself online, every website, email or personal account needs to have a different password. The reason for this is if a data breach occurs, you have one password to change, not dozens. Having separate passwords for each account will result in many different passwords to keep track of, which is why a password manager can help you maintain your security.

Some of these programs have two-factor authentication to help secure your passwords even more, and some can be run off a thumb drive so you can remove it from your computer and lock it up for even more security.

In the end, the investment you make in a password manager will benefit you and save you time and headaches down the road.