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Best tools for protecting passwords

David Strom | Sept. 4, 2013
Passwords are a security weak link, but these products help shield passwords from attackers

RoboForm Enterprise
RoboForm, as you might surmise from its name, approaches bulk password management from the forms automation business.  It is a study in contrasts. In its favor are its solid password management features. There are two disadvantages: how the software is constructed and supported.

Getting the software installed is a bear, and will require a certain sequence of prerequisites that aren't well documented. This isn't helped by the lack of support that we received. Our problem was unique: In the middle of our review, the team responsible for supporting the Enterprise software left the company. Hopefully, by the time you read this, this vacuum will be filled. Once you get everything installed, you shouldn't have too many issues getting it deployed to end users because it comes in several handy packages, including Windows MSIs.

The software is sold in several versions, including Pro, Enterprise, and managed console (which seems like an odd name). Each are priced differently in two basic configurations: a standalone Workstation version and an Enterprise version. The console software costs $5,000 for the first 50 users, with volume discounts, and an annual maintenance fee of $1,000 on top of that. The Workstation licenses are charged by user and by device, so you want to stick with the Enterprise pricing. Yes, this is confusing.

The managed console includes the cloud synchronization service called Everywhere. This means that every hour (or more often if you change the default), users' passwords are synchronized from their vaults, so they can access them from whatever device they choose. There is another add-on module called 2Go, where you can copy your password vault to a USB thumb drive and move it around. And there is also a Web client, which is useful on a borrowed PC for example.

The tool comes with a browser plug-in that can access its features like other products reviewed here, including bringing up a complex password generator and a button to force synchronization with its cloud service. The plug-in also contains various menus, such as for configuration control, to set up new logins, and to support a Windows biometric fingerprint reader.

You can set up autologoff time outs for screensavers or when the PC goes into standby, as most of the other products reviewed here also can do. One differentiation is that it creates a portal start page where you can directly click on your saved logins, similar to how Single Sign On products operate. You can save both files and logins to its vault, and you can also assign files to particular users or groups for secure collaborations.

The product has the second widest mobile OS support, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. It supports Chrome, IE, Firefox and Opera browsers and has a status screen showing you which browser plug-ins have been installed, although IE information is segregated to another set of screens for some odd reason.


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