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6 Small-Business Password Managers

The right password manager can help bring enterprise-class security to small businesses. Here are a half-dozen candidates to strengthen your access management.

Good passwords are messy. They're long, chaotic, and very difficult to memorize. That's what makes them so strong. To keep them good and useful, though, requires a tool — a password manager.

The idea at the core of most password managers is simple: A database that matches user names and passwords to login pages is stored under the protection of a single strong password. When a login page is encountered, the password manager springs into action, filling in the necessary fields when unlocked with the master password.

With a password manager, the security best practice of a different strong password for every account can be followed, and changing those passwords on a regular basis becomes much less traumatic.

Any password manager worthy of consideration will perform this basic task well, though differences exist in how it is performed, how credentials are protected, and how the tool integrates with other security, directory, and network management components. These differences are especially critical for small businesses. Since smaller companies tend to have smaller budgets for IT staff, the need is high for a password manager that has features to fill in the blanks left by other products, is easy to integrate into existing infrastructure, and protects passwords for users who might have access to significant caches of critical data.

What products fit the bill? Dark Reading scoured the Internet for user comments, professional opinions, and published reviews of password managers of use to small business IT. We found half a dozen candidates that span a wide range of capabilities and prices.

As you click through the list, you'll notice there are no free or open source options. That's because all of the options in those categories are most suited to individual consumers, are quite complex to integrate into business infrastructures, or both.

We'd also like to know: Which password manager do you use for your small business? Do you worry about integration, or do see password management as a purely end-point issue suitable for a free-for-all solution? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

(Image: beebright VIA Adobe Stock)

About the Author(s)

Curtis Franklin, Principal Analyst, Omdia

Senior Analyst, Omdia

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Previously, he was senior editor of Dark Reading, editor of Light Reading's Security Now, and executive editor, technology, at InformationWeek, where he was also executive producer of InformationWeek's online radio and podcast episodes

Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications including BYTE, ComputerWorld, CEO, Enterprise Efficiency, ChannelWeb, Network Computing, InfoWorld, PCWorld, Dark Reading, and ITWorld.com on subjects ranging from mobile enterprise computing to enterprise security and wireless networking.

Curtis is the author of thousands of articles, the co-author of five books, and has been a frequent speaker at computer and networking industry conferences across North America and Europe. His most recent books, Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center, and Securing the Cloud: Security Strategies for the Ubiquitous Data Center, with co-author Brian Chee, are published by Taylor and Francis.

When he's not writing, Curtis is a painter, photographer, cook, and multi-instrumentalist musician. He is active in running, amateur radio (KG4GWA), the MakerFX maker space in Orlando, FL, and is a certified Florida Master Naturalist.

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