If you ever worked in a bigger company, if you’re sharing accounts with your family or if you just have a view websites with some friends you will be facing the same issues at a certain point: What password did we use for the VMWare webpage? What’s the password of the dropbox account? Luckily there is a company out there that recognized this need. Before talking about this product more in-depth, lets see what the most common options are: I have seen companies using (password protected) Excel spreadsheets or Keepass databases on a shared folder or simply using the same password for every service. As you may know they all have their cons: Using Keepass or a password protected Excel spreadsheet both sound like a cheap and secure solution, however it’s really hard to restrict the access: How can you make sure that your Account isn’t looking up you Domain Admin credentials? In addition two people can’t write to the same file; unless you are using Sharepoint and removing the password protection is as simple as unzipping a folder.
As quaintproject is also having a hard time organizing their passwords I decided to signup for their beta in November. After over one month of testing and administrating I decided to share my own experiences in this hopefully unbiased review.
As I know that everyone looks for a quick overview over the Pro’s and Con’s, here you go:
Lets start with the Pro’s:
Getting started with 1Password for Teams is pretty simple, as AgileBits has created a quest list, which describes in-depth what you have to do to get the best experience out of your new Password solution. It is as simple as clicking on the link and simply following the instructions. Trust me, there is no real need for browsing through endless manuals or webpages.
Getting Started with this tool is extremely simple, you just have to enter team name and your email address on this webpage. AgileBits lets you then choose a Team URL, which will work as the main link to your password vaults. Once you’ve entered all the necessary information they will approve your time and you can take benefit of the next Pro: The easy permission system.
Easy Permission System
Managing the permissions and access for the vaults is extremely easy. Simply select your vault and click Manage Access, select the User and check the permissions you want to grant to this user. You don’t have to come up with a own permission structure, as the software already provides a meaningful permission system.
Good Mac OS X Desktop App
Everyone who has used the Mac OS 1Password application before, knows, that managing accounts, licenses, frequent flyer programs is really straight forward. If you enable the Beta builds (in the preferences) and then enter your team vault account details you will enjoy a seamless integration of the 1Password for Teams vaults. The benefit of using the Desktop App compared to the browser version is that you can use features like sharing your passwords using Message or make a security audit using the Watchtower feature.
The QR code feature
Did you ever had those days when you felt that you have fat-fingers and your simply not able to type a 35 digit code correctly? Luckily AgileBits has included a QR code based solution, which allows you to photograph the code either with your 1Password iPhone App or the MacOS 1Password QR code camera and all the informations will automatically be set correctly. I love this feature!
Currently no Safari Support!
If you’re a Mac User you are probably a Safari User. When I was starting with testing this password suite I got the notification that Safari is not supported, which is a huge bummer. Now AgileBits is just displaying a message that “Unsupported JWK algorithm RSA-OAEP-256”. The reason why it’s not working isn’t just AgileBits fault, it’s more an Apple issue, as they haven’t implemented this function in their Safari Browser. For now AgileBits recommends to use either Chrome, Opera (which is also Webkit based) or Firefox.
I sometimes had the issue that my whole webpage couldn’t be displayed on my MacBook Pro with its resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. My only solution was to zoom out. I personally think that overall size of the elements is slightly too big. In addition the website sometimes didn’t update correctly. It was showing on the start page that a new password was added, but if I looked at my vault I couln’t see it. I then had to manually reload the site. I am sure that they will solve these problems until the final version is released. An option to customize the UI according to the Corporate Design would be also nice.
Administration Tasks from the Desktop App
Entering all the password is a way more comfortable from the Desktop app, compared to the rather basic and slower website interface. Though if you need to add new users or adjust permissions AgileBites requires us to use the web interface. It would be nice if they add a feature in the future that allows to all the administrative tasks from within the Desktop App.
All Passwords in the cloud
If you’re a superstitious person/company who would never trust anyone else, except themselves, then this solution is not for you. I think that every company or team has to decide what and where they want to save their passwords.
Most companies nowadays are having either an Active Directory or an Open LDAP server, where they add, modify, assign to groups and delete their user objects. It would speedup the workflow if the users could be imported from a directory server and also be assigned to their “Teams” automatically based on their Active Directory user objects. For now you have to export all the E-Mail addresses and invite and assign them manually, which can be really painful if your working in a bigger organization.
No Windows, Linux or Android version
After being a 1Password user for over two years now I had to learn that Windows, Linux or Android are not having a really high priority for AgileBites. Almost as with every version, they are releasing it at first for the Apple products and at later point they promise to release it for the other platforms. In a nutshell: The Team features are currently not available in the Windows or Android 1Password Application. If you’re using one of those operating systems you have to stick with the browser version. I am really hoping that they sometimes improve the Windows and Android version up to the standard of their Apple companions and provide the same user experience across all platforms.
My personal feature request:
If Santa would ask me for two features I would like to see in 1Password for Teams, I would request a report function and linked copy. As I know that there are bosses out there, that want to know exactly which user has access to which service, a simple pdf report function could be extremely handy.
Another feature which I would describe as a linked copy (Blender user know what it is) would have helped me with my workflow. The idea is that you can duplicate an element from your own vault into the shared vault and every time you update your local entry it will also update the entry in the team’s vault.
Lets hope that the AgileBits Santa won’t bring me coals. 😉
With 1Password for Teams AgileBis has released a really promising product. Considering that there are currently no (really) good alternatives available and that this product is still in Beta, I am really eager to see the final version. Probably the biggest drawback is that 1Password for Teams is only available as cloud hosted SaaS. Working in a company where Cloud based services were against the computer policy rules, I know those controversial discussions really well. It would be great if AgileBits could publish a version that can be installed in a companies DMZ without requiring permanent internet access.
At the time your reading this review, 1Password for Teams will probably still be in its beta phase, therefore things will change and improve. If you notice any improvement or changes, fell free to leave us a comment.
After the Beta is completed 1Password for Teams will charge $5 per month, per user, per Team. Imagine if your working in a medium-sized company (300 employes) this will sum up to $18,000 per year! But keep in mind that 1Password is far more than a simple password safe. It allows you to save your Software license keys and credit cards, it notifies you, if your keys and passwords are expired or got hacked.
What are your experiences with 1Password for Teams? What password solution are you currently using? We are really looking forward to reading your replies in the comments!