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Best Password Managers For Business
Generally speaking, pretty much every kind of business has some part of it digitised, whether that’s for your bookkeeping or just to store any sensitive information that you’d rather not have written down and prone to being misplaced.
Having said that, how secure this kind of information is once you’ve actually put it onto the computer is usually a concern that’s at the back of a lot of people’s minds — you mostly just want to ensure it’s easily accessible and can’t be lost, not that it’s enforced with five different layers of encryption.
Unfortunately, though, that’s one of the main reasons so many businesses are prone to cyberattacks or generally being unsafe while using the internet — and that can go for all of your staff.
From phishing attacks to accidentally leaking sensitive company data, one of the only real ways you can get around them is by getting your hands on a password manager, but, again, many people don’t truly appreciate how these kinds of services actually work.
So, throughout this article, we’ll be taking a look at all you need to know about password management tools, breaking down what kinds of things you can expect with them and if they’re actually worth investing the funds into — especially from the stance of a small business owner that’s not looking to break the bank on anything too unnecessary.
Aside from this, we’ll be covering our top six choices that are available for business owners throughout Australia and across the world — some free ones, some more pricey ones, but ultimately, all quality services that are intuitive and will work nicely with your business.
Table of Contents:
- What Is a Password Manager
- How Do Password Managers Work
- Pros and Cons of Password Managers
- 1. Dashlane
- 2. KeePass
- 3. IronVest
- 4. Keeper
- 5. LogMeOnce
- 6. 1Password
- Final Thoughts
What Is a Password Manager? 🔎️
Kicking things off, let’s walk through a little bit of background information regarding what these tools even are because the concept can seem a little bit unusual or even redundant if you aren’t yet familiar with how they work.
Put simply, password managers are a specialised kind of software for your computer for you to safely store (or even just organise) either your own or your business’s collection of passwords — usually best utilised by businesses given the sheer number of employees and passwords to keep track of in comparison to a sole trader or start-up business with only a couple of other employees.
As a result, it acts as a type of vault that you can use so that all of your login credentials stay protected by just a single master password.
We’ll come onto the pros and cons of password managers in more detail later on in the article, but the main idea here is basically to try and mitigate most of the risks that come with using either weak or generally just repetitive passwords, keeping your business far more secure in the long run.
How Do Password Managers Work? ➡️
Now that you’ve got a pretty basic understanding of what password managers are all about, let’s talk more about the kind of features you can expect to find when using these services, as other password managers tend to come with fairly different tools from one another, and it helps to know what separates them when trying to make an informed decision.
In a nutshell, these tools basically work by creating a safe password vault — encrypted to the teeth — that lets you keep all of your login information for all the various online accounts you and your employees will use on a daily basis in one place.
You’re able to assign which employees have access to what passwords, but you’ll all actually get into the vault by using a master password, which usually looks like a pretty intricate string of random characters that would be highly improbable for someone to guess via brute force.
Moving forward, let’s talk in detail about some of the more popular features that come with these kinds of platforms because there are certainly a lot of them. Again, we’ll provide a more alternative take on why you should still be a little bit sceptical about password managers later on, but we’ll mostly just cover how these features work right now:
The whole reason password managers are even able to secure passwords for your business is because of encryption, which is basically using a bunch of different algorithms in order to convert whatever sensitive info you provide into an unreadable format — completely automatically without you having to encrypt it yourself or even know how to.
Then, if someone who is unauthorised tries to gain access to your account, all of the encrypted data remains virtually impenetrable, meaning that no one other than those you’ve permitted can actually see what’s inside.
Seamless Integration Across Multiple Devices
Although the security benefits of these kinds of services are fairly obvious, they’d feel a little bit useless if you weren’t able to access the password manager across a range of different devices —- as if they were only stored locally on one computer and everyone had to access that same computer to see their passwords.
Fortunately, though, whether it’s through the desktop or mobile app, anyone who has got the software downloaded on their device is able to synchronise their password vaults, meaning that everyone has exactly the same level of consistency and security regardless of the platform that they’re using.
Obviously, it goes without saying that this type of feature works particularly well in today’s more modern business environment, where your employees are probably using at least more than one device in their work life.
Still, if you’re using the free version of whichever password manager you ultimately settle on, there’s a chance that there might actually be a cap on the number of different devices you can access your account on, so while this is probably okay for small business, bear this in mind if you’ve got a lot of different employees.
Intelligent Password Generator
Regardless of whether it’s for our business or personal accounts, it’s more than likely at least a few of the people reading this article have had basic passwords in the past, like “Password123!”. Now, this is naturally insanely generic in comparison to, say, “JnjYfJkmnCF175CJ7b”, but you’re never going to remember off the top of your head in reality.
Still, you don’t actually have to remember it with a password manager — they automatically fill in the information on you whenever it’s being prompted by a safe and reputable website. As such, instead of picking a simple password, someone is probably going to guess at some point, you’re able to generate unlimited passwords with the generator tool that comes with most of these services.
So, this actually ends up eliminating all of the security concerns that come from using the same password across multiple different platforms, generally leading to better overall security.
What’s more, this becomes particularly crucial as your business will hopefully continue to grow in size, as the increasing number of accounts you’ll now have will be far more secure in the face of any kind of cyber threats.
Secure Password Sharing
This ties in slightly to the previous point we made about password managers being useful across a range of different platforms, as another one of the main reasons businesses with lots of employees like using them is for secure password sharing.
In essence, this is basically a feature that’ll give you an opportunity (presuming you’re the administrator of the platform) to set certain users’ authorisation while keeping other users on a need to know basis — allowing the other company directors to have the password, but maybe not the teenage intern you have working for you.
Ultimately, this is one of the best ways of keeping your team in touch with each other and staying secure without ever having to compromise on how confidential your master password is, so keep this in mind if your team is fairly big or you can anticipate your company growing in size sometime in the near future.
Dark Web Monitoring
This might not be something that immediately stands out as an issue if you’re only a local business, but for the larger businesses out there, you’ll be happy to know that the majority of premium password managers come with certain features for dark web monitoring.
Now, for any of the slightly less tech-savvy company owners reading this article, let’s provide a little bit of context covering what the dark web actually is and why this feature is an important part of password management.
Put simply, the dark web is a part of the internet that you’re not going to be able to access via search engines that you normally use, such as Google or Bing, and while it’s not actually inherently illegal, more often than not, you’ll hear the dark web associated with illicit activities due to the level of anonymity it provides to those using it.
Thanks to this anonymity, the dark web becomes completely rife for a bunch of different criminal activities — whether that’s the sale of illegal goods, hacking tools, or other kinds of stolen data for fraudulent purposes.
It should be clear why it’s essential to stay ahead of any potentially sensitive data leaks on the dark web, but if it’s not immediately evident, think of it like having a group of robbers ransacking your data for valuable information to sell to the highest bidder — whether those are tightly kept company secrets or any other kinds of details that can lead to some kind of corporate espionage.
So, when you’re using the dark web monitoring features that come with password managers, you’ll be able to automatically scan the dark web to see if any of your business’s login credentials have somehow been leaked, giving you a timely alert if any such compromise is actually detected.
In essence, this gives you a chance to be proactive and add an extra layer of security so that you can address any possible threats before they end up escalating and someone unauthorised has company data.
Unlimited Password Storage
Generally speaking, the majority of people, whether it’s for business or personal reasons, tend to use the same one or two passwords across a bunch of different services, and while the convenience is obvious, it’s definitely not a safe way to run your modern business.
Aside from being able to generate an unlimited number of strong passwords for you and your employees to use, you’ll find that most password managers give you the option to store as many passwords as you could possibly wish to — regardless of how big a company you are.
It goes without saying that as your business grows and more and more employees are added to your payroll, you’re going to have a fairly extensive array of new credentials to keep track of, so this sort of feature can help make that transition a little bit easier.
Finally, let’s talk a little bit more about the security measures, given that this is essentially the bread and butter of password managers in the first place. Aside from being highly encrypted already, you’ll be hard-struck to find a password manager that doesn’t offer some form of two-factor authentication as an extra layer of protection for their platform.
This might sound a little unfamiliar at first, but it’s generally a process that you’re likely using across a range of other accounts you already have open — it basically just requires you to confirm your identity through an additional method before you’re able to be let into your account, such as a code sent to your phone, so your overall account security is stronger.
Although it can feel like an unnecessary extra step having to write two separate forms of verification, the benefits of two-factor authentication are one of the best ways you can keep another user out of your account, so the fact that most password managers require 2FA greatly reduces the likelihood of any kind of security breaches.
Pros and Cons of Password Managers
We’ve talked fairly extensively so far about what makes this kind of technology so useful if you’re running a business, but it would be slightly biased if we didn’t also offer some kind of counter argument as to why you should possibly reconsider using a password manager, also.
So, throughout this next section, we’ll be taking a look at some of the main reasons you might want to opt for a password manager for your business — as well as why you also might want to think again before investing any money:
To kick things off, let’s start positively and walk through why utilising a password manager — whether it’s a free or paid version — might actually be a good idea for your business:
Enhanced Security ✅️
Naturally, the main selling point of password managers is the fact that all of your company data and secrets are generally safer than if you didn’t have one — meaning they’re bringing a significant amount of security to the table.
Whether it’s the ability to generate complex and unique passwords (for not just yourself but everyone on your team) or then being able to encrypt them with whatever kind of algorithm the password manager you’ve chosen has, you’re ultimately going to reduce the risk of unauthorised access.
In reality, good passwords are incredibly difficult to remember, whereas awful passwords are normally easy to recall, so aside from just being able to generate a bunch of complex passwords, you’re also removing all of the burden involved with memorising them — especially if you’ve got multiple different accounts with separate, equally intricate passwords.
Time Efficiency ✅️
With the ability to auto-fill login credentials, password managers streamline a lot of the authentication process that normally takes a frustratingly long amount of time.
This efficiency becomes particularly apparent in a business context since all of your employees can now get back to focusing on their tasks without the hassle of repeatedly entering complex passwords.
Cross-Platform Integration ✅️
If you’re only using a password manager for yourself, you might not need this kind of feature as desperately (though it’d obviously still be ideal), but you absolutely need the service that you’re using to be able to seamlessly integrate across a bunch of different platforms if you’re working with even just a relatively small team.
So, whether it’s through a desktop application or a mobile app, you should find it pretty convenient to gain access to your password vault regardless of the method that you want to use.
Before we get into the review section of the article, it’s imperative that we walk you through the other side of password managers so that you’re able to have a clearer understanding of their utility.
Having said this, millions of people across the world still manage to use these kinds of services for their business, so while there are obviously going to be a few cons, as expected, you’re ultimately going to be getting a good product here:
Dependency on Master Password ❌️
We’ve talked about this ‘master password’ that you’ll need if you ever want to actually sign into your password vault quite a lot so far, and while this does act as the linchpin of security in password managers, it actually represents a slight vulnerability, too.
In reality, if worse comes to worst and you’ve somehow forgotten (or even just compromised) the master password that you use, access to the entire vault is going to be in jeopardy. Now, in terms of getting around this, it’s always best to keep some kind of physical record of your master password phrase somewhere so that you can recall it if you need to, but doesn’t that sound like the situation you were already in before using a password manager?
All of the same security risks now exist again — it doesn’t matter how many layers of encrypted file storage your company secrets are buried under; if someone finds out where you’ve written your master password, it’s all useless.
Even if you don’t keep a physical copy of this, let’s say you store your master password on a document on your desktop or even on your notes app on your phone — despite all your best efforts to keep your business data secret, hackers can definitely still access this and use your master password to bypass all of the security measures you have put in place.
Ultimately, though, this only demonstrates how important it is that whichever master password you choose is both strong and memorable, as well as why you should probably be thinking about employing additional authentication measures.
Initial Setup Complexity ❌️
Generally speaking, the vast majority of people don’t even know what a password manager is — let alone have any experience using one of them — so there can definitely be a little bit of a learning curve when you’re first getting started with this kind of software.
When you decide which password manager you want to use, one of the first things you’re going to need to do is create a master password that you’ll have to either memorise or make a very secure note of — that part is easy enough, especially if you’re only using a password manager for personal reasons or if you’re only a sole trader.
Unfortunately, though, some of the problems can start to make themselves known if you’re working with a larger team, as learning how to configure various different settings — whether that’s assigning every single one of your employees to access rights or generating new passwords for everyone — can generally be incredibly time-consuming.
In fact, this kind of thing is only exacerbated further when you have to round up your employees and teach them how to use the software, explaining things like who gets access to which passwords and so forth.
Aside from this, you’re also going to need to integrate whichever password manager that you’re using with all the different devices you and your team are using, so this is just another headache in an already convoluted setup process.
Still, having said all of this, it’s worth noting that you’re only going to have to go through this process once (assuming you don’t migrate to a different software further down the line), so try to think of it as just a one-time investment that’ll end up paying off in the long run in terms of security and convenience.
Risk of Data Breach ❌️
At its core, the ‘one job’ that password managers have is to keep other people from seeing your private information, so if they can’t perform this fundamental part of their design, what use actually are they?
Of course, this isn’t exactly representative of every password manager out there; it’s just to raise the question — are you aware that there is still a, albeit small, chance that the platform you’re using is hacked into, resulting in compromised passwords?
Although pretty much every password manager is specifically designed with safety in mind, it’d be slightly naïve to think your system is entirely immune to a potential breach — in which very sensitive information related to your company and your login passwords will be exposed.
Take LastPass, for instance, which was actually one of the most reputable password managers available on the market at the time — they announced a massive security breach that hit their platform in 2015 that might’ve exposed thousands of their users’ email addresses, password reminders, and even their encrypted master passwords.
Now, while they did state that the encryption measures they have in place could make it a lot harder for any attackers to access your passwords, the fact remains that these platforms or vaults often serve as a target for skilled hackers to tinker with given the perceived value of whatever is being stored so safely.
As such, and we’ll help you with this in the review section shortly, it’s absolutely imperative that your business chooses a reputable password manager who can demonstrate a proven track record in cybersecurity — normally, the longer they’ve been operating, the better.
Ultimately, occasional vulnerabilities or breaches might appear, but given how integral your privacy is to the success of their business model, the developers of each password manager software are always addressing these issues promptly through various kinds of software updates and patches.
Reliance on Internet Connectivity ❌️
Finally, let’s talk briefly about some of the issues that come up if you’re ever trying to access your password vault when there is a power outage or something, given that pretty much all of them rely on internet connectivity in order to synchronise all of your data across multiple different devices so everyone can access the same cloud-based features.
Now, this might not be too much of an issue if you’re running a large business and generally tend to have quite reliable internet, but if you don’t have access to this same kind of consistency or just struggle to access the internet at all, you’re definitely going to run into a few issues with password managers.
Depending on which platforms you go to, you might actually find that there is an offline mode or some other kind of workaround for this issue, but that’s only really serving you if you’re a sole proprietor who doesn’t have to worry about their employees accessing the software.
So, if internet issues are something you find yourself dealing with fairly regularly, it’s probably best that you stick with a more reliable option for storing your passwords, despite the fact that they’re not going to be as secure as if you used a password manager.
Best Password Managers — Reviews 🔝️
So, now that you’ve got a much more comprehensive understanding of password managers — including things like how they actually work and how different-sized businesses might get different benefits out of them — we’ll be breaking down our top six choices throughout the next section of the article.
While more or less every password manager comes with the same basic features — whether that’s generating good passwords for you to use or ensuring that none of your data is being leaked on the dark web — we’ll actually be covering quite a diverse range of different services here.
For example, we’ll be covering some options that are completely free (usually on account of them being open source), but we’ll also take a look at some of the more expensive options out there that might be better suited to a larger organisation.
Let’s kick things off with possibly the most well known option out of all the platforms we’ll be covering: Dashlane.
1. Dashlane — Best Password Manager for Varied Subscription Plans
As mentioned, you can generally always find features like unlimited password or username storage and auto-filled forms, but what’s actually slightly less common are browser extensions that eliminate the stress of losing passwords whenever you or your staff switch to a different browser — which Dashlane actually facilitates.
Aside from this, we mentioned quite a lot of security risk issues earlier on in the article, but that’s actually one of Dashlane’s strongest features, given that all of your passwords are not only fully encrypted but also stored locally on your device rather than in the cloud — essentially meaning that all of your company passwords would be completely safe even if Dashlane’s servers somehow were to be hacked.
Now, in terms of their different subscription plans, you’re getting quite a good range with their free, starter, and business plans, with the first one only including basic features like being able to manage your passwords and sync them across a few devices — probably not ideal for a bigger business.
So, if you want something with a few more features — things such as priority support, for example, it’ll definitely be best that you sign up for their business plan instead.
This one will cost you $8 per month for every employee you want to give access to, and while this is definitely a little bit steep for just a password manager, some of the more exclusive features, like their in-house VPN and the free plan for your friends and family more than warrants the price.
Finally, the starter plan we also mentioned will cost a flat rate of $20 per month, which isn’t actually that bad if you’re only running a small team that doesn’t need as many different features as the business plan.
2. KeePass — Best Password Manager for a More Simple Service
Next on our list, we have KeePass, which, unlike Dashlane, is actually entirely free for both personal and business use since it’s an open-source password manager.
If any business owners out there are slightly unfamiliar with this term, it basically means that all of the underlying code that lets the platform run can be modified or distributed by literally anyone, meaning they can modify it or even just inspect it.
Now, while there’s definitely something amicable to be said about a software that offers this level of transparency — meaning both users and developers are able to check out any possible security vulnerabilities and overall contribute to its improvement — it can be used in a slightly more precarious way.
Since all of the source code is completely public, this can actually invite hackers to use the same security exploits that the wider community are trying to fix to maliciously attack the platform — hoping to leak all of the passwords and data stored in the vault.
Still, the free price plan comes with all the features you’ll need in order to keep your passwords in check — not to mention that there isn’t even a cap on the number of passwords you can store with them, making it perfect for both large and small businesses.
Just make sure you’re comfortable with how open-source platforms work before committing to this option; you can always choose something a bit less transparent if you’re sceptical.
3. IronVest (formerly Blur) — Best Password Manager in Terms of Privacy
Moving forward, we have IronVest, which may actually have one of the most unique features out of all of the options we’re going to be covering on this list by way of its “masking” feature — a tool that essentially gives you the option to make fake email addresses that are connected to the real email address you use.
Put simply, this basically means that you and your employees are able to sign up for whatever websites you want using your work email addresses without ever having to worry about them being added to some kind of spam list.
Of course, you can also expect a password generator with IronVest if you need something to make lengthy passwords for you that are probably not going to be guessable — all of which you’ll be able to access with your IronVest master password.
Finally, there’s a feature where your team is able to keep “private notes”, which is essentially like a dashboard where you can communicate anything important — such as password changes, for instance -with each other that only you and your staff can access.
Naturally, this comes in handy when you have even more sensitive information to keep safe, whether they’re credit card numbers or other company secrets.
Generally speaking, out of all of the different options we’re covering in this review, Keeper is possibly the most straightforward service to navigate when it comes to moving around the app to change settings or even just access your passwords normally.
Now, while there is still a pretty decent free plan that comes with most of the features a small team would really need, you’d definitely want something a bit more advanced if you have more employees to cater for — so expect to pay a premium fee if you want extra features like unlimited password storage since the free plan only lets you store up to around ten passwords.
Still, this premium plan is only around $2.92 per month and comes with pretty standard password manager features like the ability to share passwords with others — not to mention that you receive priority support, too.
Their business plans are a little more expensive, though, at $3.75 per month for every one of your employees, but aside from including all of the features that are in the premium plan, there are plenty of admin tools you can utilise as well.
5. LogMeOnce — Best Password Manager for a Range of Different Features
Unlike some of the previous options, LogMeOnce is arguably a little bit safer than options such as KeePass since they’re able to audit their own platform without ever having to sacrifice their source code.
While this means that the wider community can’t get involved in exactly the same way, they’re ultimately still able to improve their service; they’re just a bit more private about it.
If you’re only a sole trader, all of the individual plans — including security perks like two factor authentication (and other kinds of features for recovering lost passwords) — are as cheap as $2 per month, but there are also plans for larger teams if you need something with custom branding or any other kinds of team management features.
6. 1Password: Best Password Manager for a Well Rounded Service
Finally, let’s round things off with another one of the more famous password management tools out there, 1Password. As with most of the options we’ve covered thus far, you’re able to do all the things you expect — whether that’s password generation, the ability to store all of your company credit card info, or even just automatically fill out web forms so you can save a bit of time.
Aside from this, though, there are a couple of additional features worth mentioning, like the fact they support multiple different vaults for you to use — as well as features like watchtower and travel mode.
Anyone with a team smaller than ten people would probably benefit most from their team’s plan, which starts at a relatively affordable price of $19.95 per month — it’s worth mentioning that 1Password specifically recommend this subscription package, given that it’s actually the best-value option for the size.
We’ve mostly discussed packages for smaller businesses and start-ups so far in the article, so it’s great to know that there is an “Enterprise” plan for all of the large business owners out there that you can access for a customised fee — coming with a range of premium features like cybersecurity training and an onboarding engineer to get you settled.
If you’re still not impressed, there’s also a free 14 day trial you can take advantage of to see if it’s worth investing in, so you can avoid any disappointment if it’s ultimately not for you.
Final Thoughts 🤔️
To wrap things up, it’s worth reiterating that if your alternative to a password manager is either writing things down on paper or you simply use the same basic password for everything, you’re probably going to run into some troubles at some point down the line that’ll inhibit your business growth.
Out of the six different password managers we’ve talked about throughout this article, more or less every one of them can provide some level of utility for your business that you were previously lacking — whether it’s in terms of organisation or even for compliance reasons.
Of course, some of the more basic free options that we’ve talked about might only be beneficial for you and your employees if you’re running a tight ship, given how many of the advanced features it’ll be lacking.
Still, the bottom line is that you benefit from password managers without spending a penny, so there’s really no reason not to at least explore one of these services to see if it’s worth it for your company or if you’re better off with whatever you were previously doing.
Just make sure you remember not to be overly reliant on whichever password manager that you choose for your business and you still keep at least one handwritten copy of your password in a secure physical location — you’d never want to be in a situation where you and your employees are unable to access any of your business accounts because the internet is down or something trivial like that.
Is There a Free Password Manager That’s Suitable to Use for My Business?
Generally speaking, most password managers come with a free version with far more basic features if you’re unwilling to pay for anything, but while these might be alright if your business is fairly small and has limited needs, you’d definitely rather pay for the premium version if you’re running a much larger enterprise — given that you won’t have access to some of the more advanced functionalities such as dark web monitoring and unlimited password storage otherwise.
Can a Password Manager Protect Against Phishing Attacks That Might Target Your Employees?
Absolutely, and one of the main ways your password manager will actually contribute to this is through their auto-filling features, essentially only ever inputting your business credentials if the website you’re on is actually legitimate. Put simply, this means you’re no longer going to be entering sensitive passwords on fraudulent sites, naturally safeguarding all of your employees from potentially falling victim to any kind of scam.
Is It Possible to Use a Password Manager for Both Personal and Business Accounts?
Though it’ll usually depend on which particular password manager you end up choosing, you’ll find that the majority of them will have some kind of support for you to manage both your personal and business accounts all on the same app — giving you a chance to streamline all your password management since you’ve now got a much more organised approach in general, ensuring you never lose anything.
Can Password Managers Help Businesses Comply With Regulatory Requirements on Data Protection?
It’s probably one of the lesser talked about features, but password managers can actually play a fairly crucial role when it comes to data protection compliance since they essentially ensure all your access controls and storage are completely secure. Not only does this protect things on your end, but it’ll help you meet whatever regulatory requirements are related to the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive business or employee info.
What Happens If an Employee Leaves the Company? How Is Access to Shared Passwords Managed?
If an employee of yours ends up leaving the business, all the admin needs to do is revoke or even just reassign access to all of the shared passwords. Obviously, this makes sure that any of your departing employees won’t be able to see any critical passwords, keeping all your sensitive information completely safe, even during personnel changes.
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