Secure passwords help you keep personal information safe, prevent someone else from accessing your various accounts online, and protect your files, emails, and photos.

For years, cybersecurity experts have been providing guidelines on how to keep your passwords secure. They recommended uppercase and lowercase characters, special characters, and even completely random passwords.

The catch is that those kinds of passwords are difficult to remember, especially if you have to update it frequently. That led to the rise of password management systems like the one we usually recommend, LastPass.

But in reality, most users just ignored the guidelines because they were a pain. As a result, the National Institute of Standards and Technology recently changed its guidelines for creating new passwords, and they are much different than before.

Now, the organization recommends you keep your password simple but long. Long, simple passwords are easier to remember but still extremely secure. They’re just as secure as short passwords that mix uppercase and lowercase letters with special characters, if not more so.

While password managers are still useful, these new guidelines can help you even if you don’t use one.

Of course, the previous guidelines did result in secure passwords, but they made the process so challenging that most people ignored the guidelines. As a result, the guidelines hurt more than they helped.

Hopefully over time the password requirements of various websites and services will be updated to reflect these new guidelines.