I always had this question in my mind so I finally went ahead and tried LastPass, a very popular third party password manager.
At this point, I was pretty happy with the features the inbuilt password manager of my browser, the Google Chrome, offered.
Just wanted to make this clear that Pretty much every browser has an inbuilt password manager and they work the same way, that is, remember the passwords for you and let you log into any account automatically without having to worry about remembering the passwords on your own.
Third party Password Manager apps like LastPass, Dashlane and even the free ones like Icecream Password Manager offer the similar functionality but a little-improved one.
Apart from being a password manager, they are also a password assistant, meaning you can take their help in creating new and strong passwords required for different websites.
You can also add other members and let them use an account on a website without sharing the password with them.
Also, they help you fill the forms automatically, which is something some inbuilt password manager also do.
If you use Google Chrome, which is my default browser also, it does the similar things and does the job of auto filling the password pretty well.
So, how does third party Password Managers Differ?
Well, the Inbuilt Password Manager in Browsers might be the easiest and most obvious solution for the password management, it is not so helpful when it comes to cross browser compatibility or an even broader use case of cross platform.
This is where the Third Party Password Managers like LastPass or Dashlane come handy, They offer smartphone apps (Android & iOS), which makes them truly cross platform or cross browser.
For example, If you are using Opera browser and Firefox both on your PC, you can surely import the bookmarks to and fro but there is no better solution to keep them synced until you use a third party password manager.
Also, importing and exporting bookmarks doesn’t really important auto fill forms or the credit card information saved in the browser a problem which, the third party password managers can solve.
How secure are the browser password manager and third party managers are?
The inbuilt browsers offer the sync feature for the ease of using it on different devices, but it seems storing sensitive information is not their forte. Looking at the report by Wired.com, the Opera servers were attacked by hackers and they are able to access users’ information.
It’s not that the third party password managers are hacker proof, but there is an extra layer of security to it. And moreover, they are specialized in storing sensitive data.
Final Thoughts: While it may offer a lot of features with an extra layer of security, my only reason to use a third party PAssword Manager would be its availability on every platform and the ability to give an account access to a team member without even sharing the actual password.
For someone who uses three different browsers on a Mac and Windows and also does a great deal of work on his phone, a third party password manager only makes life easier.