Getting a digital space organized with a password manager
I’ve used the same password manager for the last several years and I have no idea how I first chose the program. As my online work continues to expand I find myself juggling an increasing number of logins, for both my personal life and my client-based work. Now that I’ve cleaned up my Mac and removed duplicate files, I figured it was high time to dive deeper and look at organizing specific programs. First up, my password manager: what are the best password managers out there this year?
Hider 2 is the Mac solution for hiding and encrypting sensitive data with enhanced security. Alexander Kosovan, CEO of MacPaw, says: “The MacPaw team has carried out the
daunting task of hiding and encrypting users’ data safely. In most apps, the existing protection schemes give users a false sense of security. Passwords are easily identified, defeated and cracked by third-party tools giving unauthorized access to users’ hidden data.”
Hider 2 Features Rundown
- No physical trace of hidden files, so that they are unrecoverable by any means until
- Advanced secure erase options
- Ability to choose primary vault location anywhere on the drive
- Drag-and-drop support for Hider 2 menu bar icon
- Hide new files without even opening the main Hider 2 interface
This is the program I use and it was encouraging to see mostly positive reviews of the software. Keeper runs on almost every platform: iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry (does anyone still use Blackberry??) and is initially free to download and begin using. However, there are fees to sync your passwords with the cloud and/or with more than one of your devices. Currently, the cost is $10/year per device. If you wanted to sync between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac you’d need to pay $30/year. My personal experience is that if you want to run the free version of the app, you will be continually and constantly harassed with warning messages that urge you to upgrade. On the plus side, reviewers cite this app as one of the simplest, easiest-to-use on the market and that is consistent with my experiences. I love straight-forward interfaces where I don’t have to read instructions or think too deeply about next steps and this app offers that up.
Almost every list of “password managers to consider” includes Dashlane. This app creates strong passwords for you and autofills forms online — the only password you have to remember is you master password to Dashlane. Although advertised as free, you’ll want to pay the $40/year so that your devices are sync between one another and online. Another great feature of Dashlane is its digital wallet: you can enter in all of your credit cards and bank accounts for easy check out and payment. Dashlane allows allows you to store your receipts so you can track purchases and payments. Finally, Dashlane has one of the most modern looking interfaces and shows a the Dashlane team shows a commitment to consistent updates. Dashlane is much more full featured than other password managers with a relatively modest fee.
LastPass is similar to Dashlane in features and functionality. Moreover, LastPass is the pioneer in many of the features and functionality and has a long history of providing great security. LastPass is less flashy in appearance than Dashlane, but it did receive a user interface update in late 2015. LastPass functions best as a browser extension and has a long list of free features for browser-based users. However, to use LastPass on your mobile device you’ll need to grab a premium subscription. At only $12/year LastPass is far more affordable than Dashlane.
If you have serious concerns about storing sensitive password data in the cloud, than KeePass is the product to consider. All of the other leading contenders backup and sync using cloud-based systems, but KeePass stores all of your data encrypted on your own system. Plus, KeePass is a free, open-source program! All of that good stuff comes with some challenges: KeePass is best for more advanced technical individuals. To leverage the software you’ll need to customize your setup and install third-party plugins as needed. This isn’t a download and go program.
Is it time to make a change?
After reviewing the top options I’m likely to stick with Keeper, but I’m intrigued by Dashlane. For years now I’ve entered and retried passwords almost exclusively from my cell phone. I’m looking for a locked vault system that also backs up in case my phone is damaged or stolen. And that’s about it. I’m not in the market right now for autofill features, password generators, or a digital wallet. That being said, reading all of the information about security breaches has me thinking I should give more weight to password generators and other hefty security features.
Which password manager are you using or considering? Any top programs I should review that weren’t discussed here?