Author: Joanna Thomas

The 4 Best Password Managers

Which is the best password manager for 2019?

We’ve done some assessment of the top password management systems on offer and compiled everything into one easy to read comparison table to make the decision-making process easier.  This is our comparison on what we believe are the top four password managers currently on the market. 

Password Manager Comparison Chart​

The best password manager?

The systems reviewed are currently the top performing password management systems on the market.  Determining the best password management system is dependent on your unique needs.  Dashlane is a great solution for personal use and small teams but its administration console isn’t as comprehensive as the offerings from PassPortal1Password and LastPass.

In terms of customer support, we left this off the table because it varies greatly depending on which plan you subscribe to (most password management systems offer free, personal, family and business packages).  As a general rule, all the free and single user plans, offer a fairly poor level of customer support.  There is no phone or chat service if you run into difficulty.  Instead users need to rely on online forums for answers or contact the company via email, which can take up to 2 days to receive a response.

That said, the business-based plans offer much better customer service.  1Password and LastPass enterprise plans give you access to a dedicated account manager to answer any queries.  Similarly, Dashlane will provide you with a customer success manager once you exceed 50 users.  PassPortal is designed for business rather than personal use, so regardless of how small or large you are, you will have a dedicated administrator who is contactable 24/7.

For a more thorough review of each password management system that we investigated please read our individual reviews on the PassPortal1PasswordDashlane and LastPass password manager systems.


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LastPass Password Manager Review

How much is LastPass?

LastPass offers a free version of their application which is a great solution for a single user.  A free account allows users to store unlimited passwords, password auto-generation, secure storage of notes, 2-factor authentication and access across multiple devices (which was not previously offered in the free version) including your computer, phone and tablet device.

For home-based users the free account with LastPass is fantastic.  For small to medium businesses then a paid plan is recommended as this allows password credentials to be securely shared between users, includes better support should you run into a problem, and allows you to grant emergency access to other individuals should something happen to you.

LastPass offers a variety of options for teams and small to medium businesses.  Here is a summary of their offerings and the current pricing.  For small based teams then the family action would also be worth considering as an option.

Which operating systems does LastPass support?

LastPass supports Windows, Apple, Linux and the Chrome OS operating systems, which means that it can easily be set up on multiple devices, regardless of the operating system used.

LastPass is accessible remotely

LastPass has a convenient to use app for iOS, android, windows and blackberry devices.  This means that you can always access your passwords wherever you are on your phone or tablet device and use the auto-fill function to login to websites with less hassle.

Auto-generation of strong passwords

Like most password management applications, LastPass allows you to auto-generate passwords.  It allows users to select their preferred password length, use of capitalisation or special characters and the overall level of difficulty and memorability.

LastPass will also notify if one of your passwords is breached and regularly audits your account and informs you of weak, old or duplicate password entries.

Auto-fill your passwords securely within the browser

LastPass has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Explorer.  When you land on a site, LastPass will display a small, transparent logo to the side of the entry box, allowing you to quickly login within a couple of clicks.

Auto-fill options for forms

LastPass allows you to store and auto-fill more than just passwords.  You can also use its auto-fill function to automatically enter your name, address, phone and credit card details.  Multiple credentials can be stored, you can even create a home and work-based profile on the application.  This improves efficiency for both personal and business users, making things like website registration, online purchasing and organisation of travel reservations a breeze.

Is LastPass Secure?

LastPass uses the industry standard AES 256-bit encryption and salted hashes to secure your data from end-to-end.  This means that your data is encrypted before it leaves your device, in transit and at rest, protecting you your data from being intercepted by cyber-criminals.

This same encryption technology is implemented within our banking institutions and the military, so you can be assured that your data is secure.  LastPass also has a zero-knowledge, policy, which means that all the data in your vault is kept a secret, even from LastPass.  Your master password and encryption key are locally generated and are encrypted so that they’re only accessible to you.  LastPass regularly conducts security audits and penetration tests and releases transparent incident reports to its user-base.

That said LastPass has been at the centre of two major security breaches, one in 2011 and another in 2015.  No passwords were stolen but users email addresses, encrypted master passwords and master password hints were stolen.  This is one flaw of storing master passwords on the server, and the best way to combat this type of attack is to create a strong master password using the password generator and use two-factor authentication to ensure your data is kept secure.

Does LastPass support 2-Factor Authentication?

For extra security, LastPass allows you to set up 2-factor authentication with Google Authenticator, Transact and Yubikey (this last option is not available on LastPass’s free account).

Is LastPass a suitable management system for small to medium businesses?

LastPass allows you to securely share password credentials with other colleagues and group employees by project or department to speed up password management.  For sensitive information, you can also select to hide the credential information and only allow auto-fill, so that if an employee leaves the organisation they are not aware of the credentials.  LastPass also allows administrators to see how and where information is being accessed by employees, monitor password changes and revoke access if required.

LastPass also allows you to share encrypted passwords via email with external contractors.  However, there is some doubt cast on the security of this practice so we advise against using this feature.

How easy is LastPass to setup?

Setting up LastPass is straight forward.  Upon installation LastPass allows you to import passwords from other password management system, or from the web browser (we’ve discussed on a previous blog on why storing your passwords in the browser can put you at risk of a security breach).  If you install the browser extensions LastPass will prompt you to save your password as your login to different websites.

Does LastPass give you much control over the way passwords are organised?

The LastPass interface organises your passwords visually in tile form, which is visually appealing and promotes ease of use.  It allows you to easily organise passwords into different folders, which is much cleaner than the tag-based systems used by other password management systems.  The folders can also be expanded and collapsed, which keeps things tidy even when there are lots of entries stored in the vault.

How responsive is LastPass’s support?

There is no phone or online chat available for LastPass and their response to emails is very slow according to other users.  If you’re looking for an immediate answer you’ll have to rely on their community forum.  If you want more support from LastPass then you’ll have to sign up for one of their enterprise-based plans which provides you with a dedicated account manager.

Conclusions

LastPass’s free account offers just about everything you need as a single user, and is far better than any of the free plans offered by other password management systems we reviewed – namely, 1PasswordDashlane and PassPortal.

If you are a business customer then LastPass offers a number of different plans to suit businesses large and small.  It’s fully featured admin control panel and the ease with which is lets you securely share passwords with other employees makes this an attractive solution for business.

Concerns have been raised regarding the data breaches of LastPass on record.  However, during these attacks cyber-criminals were unable to access any useful data due to the encryption techniques employed by LastPass.  LastPass exceeds the standards for safe storage of password credentials and the main learning from these breaches is for users to ensure that their master password is difficult to guess and unique from all other passwords in use.  Users concerned about security should also take advantage of LastPass’s 2-factor authentication options in order to protect their data further.

Despite its poor customer support, LastPass offers some great features and ranks among the best password management systems for it’s ease of use and security.

It gets our tick of approval, however, if you would like to read more about some of the other password management systems on the market then check out our reviews on the 1PasswordDashlane and PassPortal password management systems and decide which one is going to be the best fit for you.


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Dashlane Password Manager Review

How much is Dashlane?

Dashlane offers a free subscription, which is well worth testing out.  However, be aware that it will only store a maximum of 50 passwords and it can only be accessed on a single device.  Dashlane’s paid plan costs $3.33 USD per month (which is just under $5 AUD per month), making it one of the most expensive password management systems on offer. 

They also offer a business plan which costs $4 USD per month.  This package includes an admin console for user and policy management, and allows secure password sharing within groups.  For accounts of over 50 users, your company will also benefit from your own customer success manager.

Secure Password Management

Dashlane uses 256-bit AES encryption to store all passwords, which is an industry standard.  This type of encryption has never been cracked and while it is theoretically possible it would take billions of years with current computing power.  It currently has no breaches on record, which can’t be said for all password management systems.

Like most other password management systems, Dashlane is never sent your master password and it is not stored on any Dashlane servers or stored locally, ensuring your account is kept secure.  The downside of this is there’s no way to recover your account if you forget it. 

Security monitoring service

In Dashlane’s admin screen it will provide with you an overall security rating based on your passwords in use, and prompt you to update passwords which are weak, old or duplicated.

Dashline also offers a security breach feature.  It scans the dark web using your credentials and if your information becomes compromised it will prompt you to change them.  Another great feature of Dashline is it provides the option to automatically update passwords after a specified period of time.  This is a feature which is lacking in other password management systems.  

Password importation

One of the best features of Dashlane is that it offers to import all your passwords upon installation.  It supports password importation from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.

Categorisation of passwords

Dashlane allows you to put your passwords into categories but it requires you to manually edit each entry individually, which can be time prohibitive.

Supports two-factor authentication

Dashlane also supports multiple 2 factor-authentication tools, including Authy, Google Authenticator, Free OTP, WinAuth and YubiKey.  This allows you to implement a higher level of security for more sensitive information.

Dashlane allows storage of more than just passwords

Dashlane also supports storage for personal info, credit cards, PayPal accounts, IDs, notes and receipts.  This data can also be encrypted and set to an emergency contact in the event that something should happen to you.

Auto-fill passwords and remote access across different devices

Like many other password management application Dashlane allows you to auto-fill your password within the browser.  Whenever you arrive at a page with a login screen most password management systems will display a small logo to the side of the login box.  You can then select the accounts associated with that login and select auto-fill.

Dashlane takes this a step further, allowing you to skip this process entirely and request which websites you would like to be automatically logged into.  This is a fantastic feature, however at the time of writing it has its glitches.  Sometimes Dashlane has trouble detecting which field should receive which information.  It also has issues when there is more than one credential for a given website, as Dashlane may automatically login to the wrong one on your behalf.

Like many of the other password management systems Dashlane has applications for both iPhone and Android, allowing users to remotely access passwords on their devices.  Dashlane’s auto-fill feature is also compatible on iPhone, iPad and Android-based phones, making remote login fast and secure.

Password management tools for business owners

Dashlane offers an admin console to business users, which shows how many active users there are in the account.  It also provides information about the passwords in use within the organisation and their overall security score.  For each user it will show which passwords are safe, weak, reused, or compromised.

 It’s group sharing feature allows users to efficiently and securely share multiple passwords and secure notes with other users.  To improve security across the businesses Dashlane also allows you to limit the other users ability to share, edit or passwords which have been shared.  

Despite these positives, Dashlane’s administration console is lacking compared to other password management systems, which provide much more detailed and more easily accessed information on how passwords are being used and shared within the organisation.

Automatic password updating

One of the most useful features of Dashlane is the ability to automatically update passwords on your behalf.  Dashlane will login to the accounts you use, generate a strong, unique password and change it automatically, across multiple websites.  This is an incredible feature, particularly when an employee has left the organisation and the logins they had access to require updating.  The time savings in this instance are significant.

Conclusions

Dashlane is largely targeted at the personal user and offers some great features, particularly the option to automatically change passwords at bulk.    It is a great option for small teams, but for larger scale businesses it’s admin console is not as fully featured as other password management systems on the market, and it might not provide the level of security information required by larger scale businesses.

It’s also one of the most expensive password management systems on the market so we recommend having a look at 1Password, LastPass and PassPortal before deciding which system you want to subscribe to.


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1Password Review – Key Benefits & Features

How much is 1Password?

1Password is an excellent password management system and for personal and business use.  Its family package is fantastic value!  You can also trial the software for free for 30 days.

They also offer several options for business users.  The teams option allows a maximum of 5 users at $3.99/month per user.  If you are a larger business, it’s $7.99/month per user.  1Password also offers Enterprise by quote, which means you will be assigned a dedicated account manager, receive setup training specific to your business and an onboard engineer.

Secure Password Management

1Password uses 256-bit AES encryption to store all passwords, which is an industry standard.  It’s very difficult to crack.  If every computer across the world attempted to crack a single password, it would take 77 septillion years (77 with 24 zeros).

When you install 1Password it will create an “emergency kit” which is a PDF file with your sign in address, email and a 128-bit secret key.  This key is generated locally and never sent to 1Password, providing added security.  Your master password is also encrypted and isn’t stored on a 1Password server or locally, providing added security.  These credentials are individual to you and can’t be recovered in the event you lose it.  That said, for the business-based plans an administrator is given the exclusive ability to restore an account should a master password be lost.

Unlike other password management systems, like Dashlane, 1Password doesn’t offer an automatic password changer, which can offer users additional piece of mind.

Setting up 1Password

To access your 1Password vault you will need to install the secret key on the device, and you will also need to know the master password.  This 2-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security; however, it can also make things time-consuming if you are setting 1Password up in large businesses with many employees.

Importation of passwords

1Password won’t automatically import your passwords, instead, they must be added manually when you log in to each website using the browser extension.  1Password also allows you to import using a CVS file, but it must be set up to the correct specifications for this to work correctly, which isn’t highly efficient or user-friendly.

Notifications of Security Breaches

1Password has also recently integrated with “Have I been Pwned” discussed in one of our previous articles.  This helps provide around the clock security alerts as soon as a login or password becomes compromised, allowing you to take immediate action.  This allows you to quickly change the credentials before the problem escalates further.  You can also use their security audit feature to find duplicate and weak passwords and improve them using the inbuilt password generator.

Store Unlimited Passwords and Recover Deleted Credentials

1Password allows you to store unlimited passwords and provides up to 1GB of secure document storage.  1Password keeps deleted items for up to a year, so if you delete a password by accident it’s easily recoverable.  Not all the password management systems offer this.

Autofill passwords & Access your Passwords Remotely

1Password supports allows you to store your passwords on unlimited devices across multiple operating systems, with applications for iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS. This means individuals/employees can easily access their passwords on their computer, phone or tablet device.  It also offers browser support for Chrome, Explorer, Firefox, Opera, allowing users to auto-fill passwords, as well as save and generate new passwords with minimal fuss.  The auto-fill function is also compatible with mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, and Android) which is a welcome feature.

Travel Mode

One feature unique to 1Password, not offered by other password management systems, is “Travel mode”.  This allows you to remove sensitive information from your devices while traveling, and quickly restore access upon arrival, providing extra piece of mind should your device get lost or stolen in transit.

Produce audit reports for your business

For business accounts, 1Password offers comprehensive usage reports on how employees are using the software and like Ocular, it also allows for advanced permissions, so you can decide who can create, access, view and edit information.  You can also set things up so users accessing a password can only use the auto-fill function on the login page, they can’t see or copy it to a clipboard at all.  This offers quite a unique security advantage, particularly if an employee leaves your business.  If they aren’t aware of the password credentials, then there is no need to change them upon their departure.

Share passwords securely

One thing 1Password doesn’t do as well as other password management systems is controlling which passwords are shared with other users.  You can do this via the shared vault and personal vault features, but it is not as streamlined as other systems like Ocular. 

What 1Password does well is that it allows you to temporarily share passwords with contractors.  You simply invite them as a guest and you can give them limited access the credentials you wish to share.

Organise your passwords

1Password lets you organise passwords into folders, but the names of these are predetermined, unlike most of the other password management systems.  Passwords are listed in alphabetical order and you can add tags to each entry to help make it easier to find.  There’s also a search function.

What’s unique to 1Password, which many other password management systems don’t offer, is that it allows for unlimited custom fields.  For some credentials, you may need to store a username, password and a pin, or you may like to list the address or phone number, or client names to the file.  1Password allows you to do this with ease.

Two-factor authentication

1Password supports several 2-factor authentication applications including Authy and Google Authenticator and makes it easier for you two turn this function on for accounts that require an added level of security.

Customer support

1Password doesn’t offer any phone support or instant chat service if you run into a problem, which is typical of most password management systems.  The only way to get assistance is via email and it can take up to 48 hours to receive a response.  They also offer a forum, which is monitored by 1Password representatives, but it can still take a couple of days to receive an answer to your question. 

 That said, a higher level of support is offered to businesses signing up with the enterprise packages, with each business being allocated a dedicated account manager.  This is certainly worth consideration.


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Ocular Password Management System Review

Password Management System Designed for Businesses

Ocular is designed for small businesses.  It allows easy management of multiple employees and their access rights to passwords and other critical information.  You can easily decide which users/or groups have access to which credentials.

You can track who created, viewed, edited, or archived client credentials.  It will also provide when they performed the action, and from their internet location.  One of the best things about this software is when you have a case of departing employee, the system allows you to create an audit report which highlights all the passwords that the employee was privy to, significantly reducing the number of passwords you need to update to maintain security.

 Organise your Passwords, Autofill using Ocular’s browser extension

Like most password management systems, it allows you to categories passwords into folders.  It will also generate strong unique passwords which can be automatically auto-filled within the internet browser.  Ocular currently offers browser support for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and all Chromium based browsers.  

Access passwords remotely with Ocular’s mobile apps

Remote access of all your passwords and data is possible via Ocular’s mobile apps for iOS and Android.  This means that your employees can login to anything they need whether they’re in the office or out on the field, using both their phone or tablet device. 

Secure Password Management

Ocular is highly secure. It uses AES-256 to encrypt each password, which means that each password is encrypted a minimum of 300 times using 6 different hash keys.  This far outweighs the security of an excel spreadsheet stored on a shared network drive!

 Two Factor Authentication

It also integrates easily with Two factor authentication allowing it to be integrated with Duo mobile, Google Authenticator Microsoft Authenticator as well as email, text messages and a phone call service.  This is helpful for job share type positions such a reception.  The 2-factor authentication can use a central email address which is accessible by all the individuals which fulfill the role.

 Excellent customer support

One of the best reasons for using this system is the support.  Many password management systems offer email support only, and it can take up to 2 days to receive a reply.  If you set your business up with Ocular you can call us anytime during business hours and we’ll endeavor to resolve your query on the spot.  You can also email us if you would prefer.


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