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Best tools for protecting passwords

Passwords are a security weak link, but these products help shield passwords from attackers    

By David Strom, Network World
September 03, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Network World - For enterprises trying to get a handle on password management, the good news is that there are products that can help implement stronger password policies for end users logging into corporate and personal Web-based services, as well as for employees who share a local server login.

The goal here is to make the password process more secure, and also to let users login to particular resources without having to remember all of their individual passwords.

[WATCH FOR: What to look for when evaluating password manager software]

We looked at six products, ranging from consumer-oriented to enterprise-only. They are: Kaspersky Pure, LastPass Enterprise, Lieberman Enterprise Random Password Manager, 1Password, RoboForm Enterprise, and TrendMicro DirectPass. (Watch the slideshow comparing the products.)

All of these products use a master password vault to store all their information in encrypted form. And all but TrendMicro have a way to generate a complex password and insert it into the login process so users don't have to try to come up with something on their own. This makes life easier for end users and also eliminates the security problems associated with users picking one password for all their logins.

[ALSO: Why password-only authentication is passe]

To be included in this review, each product had to have the ability to synchronize passwords across a different collection of clients and servers. For Lieberman, this means synchronizing the logins to internal servers across multiple users who want to share the same password. For the other products, it means having the same user with multiple devices keep track of passwords for Web services.

Because we included such a variety of tools, we can't directly compare the products and didn't score the software programs or declare an overall winner. But here are the highlights:

 LastPass Enterprise offers excellent price/performance and boasts strong management features. LastPass also has the widest desktop and mobile platform support of any of the products we tested.

 Lieberman has the best features for local server password management, and the Lieberman tool was the only one in our tests that worked flawlessly.

 Kaspersky’s Pure offers a basic password manager as part of a larger suite that includes other security tools. The downside is that it is Windows only, which means you can’t sync your vault with non-Windows devices.

 1Password is a consumer-focused product that allows you to store more than just passwords in your vault.

 RoboForm has a nice balance of enterprise features and strong bulk password management, but we had some support issues.  

 TrendMicro's software is the least developed, although the next version is expected to fix many deficiencies.

Here are the individual reviews:

Kaspersky Pure

Like other traditional anti-virus vendors, Kaspersky is getting into the password management game. Kaspersky has two products for password management. One is its Password Manager stand-alone software that sells for $25. This doesn't include the ability to synchronize your password vault (although the vendor promises to include it later this fall).

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