A team password manager is a useful tool for any small business that wants to boost security while helping employees to manage their passwords more effectively. However, not all business password managers are created equal.
Here are seven features to look for when choosing a team password manager for your small business:
A team password manager won’t be effective if your staff isn’t willing to use it. In order to ensure that your employees adopt the program and use it regularly, you must choose a program that is intuitive and easy-to-use. Researchers from universities in Spain conducted a usability study on different password managers, and ranked them based on five criteria they called “the 5 E’s.” According to their study, here are the five usability qualities you should look for in a password manager for your business:
- Efficient – Users must be able to use the password manager to complete tasks quickly and accurately.
- Effective – The password manager should help users achieve their specified goals successfully.
- Engaging – The password manager’s visual design should be pleasant and satisfying to use.
- Easy to learn – The password manager should allow users to build on their knowledge without deliberate effort.
- Error tolerant – The password manager is designed to prevent errors and help users recover from any errors that do occur.
Moreover, the best team password managers can be used simultaneously on a variety of different operating systems, platforms and devices. Ideally, a password manager should also be suitable for both work and home use so that your employees can use the same technology to protect all of their passwords. This is especially important if your employees travel frequently or spend time working from home.
2. Easy Onboarding and Offboarding
In addition to superior usability, having a team password manager that provides an easy onboarding and offboarding experience will save you valuable time and money. The right password manager will make onboarding a breeze for both large enterprises and small teams of employees.
Avoid password management programs that force you or your IT administrator to spend countless hours teaching your new or current employees how to use the software. Instead, look for a program that is easy for new and current employees to master with little or no help from employee education sessions.
When an employee leaves your company, it’s important to make sure that your business password manager allows you to revoke their access to work-related passwords and data. According to a 2016 SailPoint market report, more than 2 in 5 employees reported having access to a variety of corporate accounts after leaving their last job. The report concludes that having efficient onboarding and offboarding processes can help deter some of the internal security risks associated with provisioning and application usage.
3. Administrative Controls and Monitoring Tools
The ideal password manager for teams should offer administrative controls and monitoring tools that allow you to oversee your employees’ use of the program. Some of the monitoring tools and features to look for include dashboards, delegated administration, team sharing, role-based permissions, analytics, and auditing. You should be able to use these tools to enforce all of your company’s password policies, as well as to aid in regulatory compliance; however, for ethical reasons, your password manager’s monitoring tools should not compromise the privacy of individual employees.
Make sure that the password manager you choose not only provides all of these monitoring tools, but will also help you stay up-to-date and in control by sending you security notifications when significant events occur, like news of a massive data breach or hack.
4. Password Sharing
Sharing passwords is part of normal office operations, however, many methods employees use to share passwords, such as chat or email, are not safe from hackers. Password managers for teams provide employees with a secure, convenient tool they can use to share passwords efficiently.
Be sure that your password manager allows for flexible password sharing so that you can customize which credentials you send and which employees receive them. For example, users should be able to share specific passwords with other users that have certain levels of permission. As an administrator, you should also have the ability to set permissions allowing or preventing users from sharing credentials with temporary access or full access, which includes editing capabilities. In any case, the password sharing feature should allow admins to revoke shared credentials or secured notes easily and immediately.
Shared credentials and notes should also sync automatically and update promptly when they are changed. This means that if one team manager changes a certain credential, it will update immediately for all other team members who have access to that credential. It’s also a good idea to look for a team password manager that has an emergency sharing feature so that one user can grant temporary access to certain accounts in the event of his or her sudden absence to other team members.
Perhaps one of the most important features to look for in any password manager is its ability to provide security for the company. Encryption is essential, but not all encryption methods are equally effective.
Currently, the recommended method of encryption for password protection is Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES, with a 256-bit key length. The Committee on National Security Systems has dubbed this method of encryption secure enough to protect the United States Government’s most highly classified data.
While each password manager for teams has a different way of protecting your credentials, make sure that the one you choose also uses a “zero-knowledge protocol” in its security architecture. With this type of architecture, an employee has full, exclusive control over the encryption and decryption of his or her data through a Master Password. This Master Password or any of its derivatives should never be stored on the password manager’s server or anywhere on your company’s network, so the user will be fully responsible for guarding and remembering this information.
Even with a zero-knowledge architecture, security experts always recommended adding an additional “factor” to authenticate a user’s online and cloud-based accounts. For this reason, experts recommend looking for a password management solution that offers two-factor authentication, or 2FA. 2FA requires an additional factor to verify a user’s identity using two of three possible identifiers: something they know (i.e. a password, PIN number, social security number, etc.), something they are (i.e. voice recognition, fingerprints, retina scans, etc.), or something they have (i.e. a smartphone, security token, etc.).
Your team password manager should also offer features designed to help users in the event of a hack or security breach. For instance, it should alert you and all of your employees immediately when news of a data breach occurs. It should also have a panel that can help employees quickly identify which passwords are compromised or weak, and need to be updated immediately.
6. Productivity-Boosting Features
One of the primary goals of any team password manager is the enhancement of productivity. Be sure that the one you choose supports this goal by providing your small business with multiple features that save time and effort.
Your password manager should allow employees to log into their online accounts automatically, rather than re-enter passwords each time they need to log in. Not only does this save time, but it also prevents employees from using simple, easy-to-crack passwords for the sake of convenience.
In addition to automatic logins, a good business password manager will also offer an Autofill feature, which will fill in a user’s personal information automatically on any page that requires it — for example, when registering for a business event, buying airline tickets, or creating a new account online. This feature can also generate a strong password for the user automatically, directly on the webpage, and save it without additional effort on the part of the user.
A nice-to-have feature for managers and executive members of your staff is a digital wallet tool. Along with passwords and secure notes, a team password manager’s digital wallet will store, secure, and auto-fill payment information — including company credit cards, debit cards, PayPal accounts, or bank account information — on checkout pages online. This will make it safer and easier for team leaders to make business purchases, pay online invoices, and take control over which employees have access to company credit cards.
7. Password Generation
With the average U.S. internet user having an average of 130 accounts registered to one email address, it’s virtually impossible to create and memorize 130 unique passwords that have an 8+ character, complex combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Typically, to avoid this problem, employees will resort to using the same password to protect multiple accounts, using simple passwords like “123456” that are easier to remember, or using predictable password transformations, like changing a letter to a similar looking special character.
The best password managers for teams go far beyond just remembering passwords; they also help users get in the habit of creating strong, complex passwords for all of their accounts — including their personal accounts. The password manager you choose should provide a separate password generator tool on the user’s desktop app, mobile app, or in the browser extension; some go a step further and allow users to generate passwords directly from the password field of a website’s registration form.
Looking for a team password manager that satisfies all of these requirements? Look no further than Dashlane Business! Dashlane Business makes it easier than ever to make password security effortless and universal. Try Dashlane Business with your team free for 30 days by visiting https://www.dashlane.com/business/try.