Let’s set a scene: It is a Monday morning, and you have just sat down at your office workstation after a long and relaxing weekend.

Coffee in-hand and you are ready to take on the week, only to realize you have been mysteriously locked out of all your accounts.

Did the system administrator push a password refresh? Did you accidentally knock out a LAN cable?

That pit in your stomach and sweat on your brow is how it feels when you suddenly realize your passwords have been stolen or compromised.

Who has access to your information, your accounts, your data? Even worse; how did they get through your security?

In the age of widespread identity theft, security breaches, and corporate espionage, password protection is essential to your digital security. The use of enterprise password management systems is becoming a required element in any IT organization.

60% of small-to-medium size companies suffer a from cyber-attack at some point. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, most close down only six months after an attack.

What is a Password Manager?

Password managers are designed to manage a user’s personal details securely. We all enter our information online, whether it is a bank account login, our social security number, or an e-mail password. Most users have dozens of accounts. Team members in business may have hundreds. All of them protected by usernames and their accompanying passwords.

Remembering all those details can be near-impossible – because we are all using different passwords for each account, right?

Password managers take the burden of remembering each login off the user. The majority of these services are low-cost or free, targeting and meeting the needs of a single consumer.

Password managers run discreetly in the background. Upon creating or using a new account for the first time, the user receives a prompt. The prompt will most often ask the user to save the password. Once collected, details are logged and held in a “vault.” The vault encrypts all data, secured by a master password.

Most managers also can recognize duplicate and weak passwords. If it registers as such, they prompt the user to either create a stronger one or to generate a stronger key randomly.

Why You Need Enterprise Password Management?

The average consumer-level password is enough for the needs of a single user. However, the enterprise world has much higher standards for security.

IT staff need a central point of collection, or a team password manager should a user lose access. Admins must also be able to manage details for shared accounts and to set and revoke permissions. Moreover, enterprise-level managers can store all kinds of data, not just login details. Some options store files of all format types.

The right software can lift much of the burden that server admins endure. Those running an IT system often deal with regular interruptions. Members of the team forget passwords and a simple password reset. Corporate password managers perform many of these functions automatically.

man with his hand on screen that says password management

Dangers of Leaving Password Management to Employees

Allowing users to choose their private passwords and management software can be a minefield.

One device can have access to hundreds of account passwords. Users need strong passwords for everything from Twitter to Hootsuite to LinkedIn to Mailchimp and so on. Without a firm, centralized approach to password storage and security, users must find their own means.

Allowing users to decide how to implement password protocol can also be dangerous.

In many cases, team members will use insecure methods such as using .doc files, Excel spreadsheets, or even a post-it note on the front of their screen to store details. The risk of having passwords stolen from such unprotected mediums is much higher than using the right software.

Other employees may instead choose to use their own personal software. Management may see this as a way to ensure protection without added cost.

Single users do not have access to group passwords, however. Nor do they always set standards for passwords that match company protocol. In the future, they could leave the company with corporate login details still in their accounts. Naturally, these are valid security concerns.

Enterprise Software Features You Should Look For

Enterprise software enables the separation of personal, single-use accounts and shared details. 

One of the best features of enterprise password managers is access to central dashboards. These dashboards allow security officers to check user activity and aggregate data. Many include visualization tools that make it easier to monitor behavior and security practices.

Studying user habits can help reinforce and improve your companies password practices. 

enterprise password managers his data on a tablet device

Let’s look at the best password managers for an enterprise on the market.

We will highlight criteria to help you better judge different platforms. These include what operating systems and hardware the software is compatible with, price, security, features,  and ease-of-use.

LastPass Enterprise

A premium edition for businesses based on the well known free software. LastPass lets the user generate and store any number of logins in a master vault. Multi-factor or two-factor authentication limits access to the vault.

Besides passwords, the vault offers protection of additional text notes. Secure data syncing allows users to retain the same credentials and security between different platforms. Users can access the vault on any device through the developer’s website.

LastPass also uses a growing database of phishing websites. By highlighting such, users are less likely to leak access to privileged accounts. Admins can also export data. Exporting makes it easy to switch to another software option down the line if you choose to.

The premium edition offers further cloud protection for all kinds of files. The contingency access feature lets a team member use your account when you are unable to. Without additional support for shared accounts, however, LastPass might not be best suited to large teams.

Dashlane

Dashlane offers many of the same features as LastPass with its enterprise edition. Team account management software is now available on an accessible browser window interface. Some may prefer the downloadable software package, which is equally easy to use.

Active Directory integration makes it easy to share Dashlane through your business network. One of the better features offered is the bulk password changer. This feature allows you to quickly change large amounts of data in the event of a breach.

Conversely, Dashlane is high in price compared to some of the other solutions here. It may not be an option every business can afford. This edition includes unlimited sharing and syncing between teams and devices. It was rated as the most secure password manager.

Keeper Security

A mobile-centric alternative to other platforms, Keeper Security for Business, operates on a wide range of platforms with a particular focus on responsive design. Like LastPass and Dashlane, it offers a secure vault that stores all kinds of files, not just passwords.

One of the benefits of Keeper Security is the vast range of platforms it works across. The software has versions for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Kindle, iPad, Windows, Mac, and Linux. The centralized vault allows access to the same credentials across all platforms.

Keeper Security comes with Active Directory integration and an admin control panel. Amongst other features, the panel allows for the fast provisioning of users. Access to specific passwords is easily distributed and revoked.

Centrify Enterprise

This option contains many of the same features you can come to expect from most password managers. These features include autofill, password capture, and password generation. Centrify is one of the most effective tools for capturing and monitoring data cross accounts, too.

Centrify tracks a lot of user data. Data tracking includes logs of the number of attempted logins, valid log-ins, and unusual activity.

Admins can generate reports on each user session. The summary collates all data of activity across a whole enterprise. Centrify has the further ability to separate reports based on different roles. This makes it a worthwhile tool for inspecting security practices company-wide.

CommonKey | Team Password Manager

CommonKey is an affordable solution for smaller businesses. It focuses on password protection alone, lacking the secure data storage features available elsewhere. Shared accounts and user provisioning tools are also included.

The primary limits are the range of platforms you can use it on. CommonKey runs as a Chrome extension. As a result, it’s only useful when used with websites and services. Passwords for local software cannot be saved.

The local encryption used by the app could be a risk, too. Certain breaches could allow hackers to see encryption methods and break them. Effectively, such a leak would expose all your details.

Larger businesses with more robust password needs may want to search for alternatives. For smaller teams that rely on websites and web apps, however, it can be a reliable tool.

RoboForm For Business

RoboForm for Business includes a host of features that allow for centralized protection of an entire team. It includes a site license that stores and manages all passwords used in the company.

RoboForm includes secure provisioning of shared passwords. An admin console allows for easy management of different users.

You can manage users as individuals or as members of role-based groups. Role-grouping saves a lot of time when dealing with larger departments. Advanced reporting allows admins to ensure that users comply company policy, too.

Pleasant Password Server

One of the few open-source password managers on the market. Pleasant password server lets tech-savvy users fully customize their approach to improve password security. Like many enterprise editions, it includes active directory integration.

Unlike other managers, the encryption and storage of data do not happen locally. Passwords stored on the client are kept safe in the event of a local data breach.

A refined folder system allows for simple grouping of large amounts of data. Admins can use this data to create reports that work with shared accounts and role-based management. It can generate reports including evaluating password age, strength, expiration, and more.

BeyondTrust

BeyondTrust Privileged Password Management includes powerful data tools on top of the standard features. Session-logging and auditing offer greater monitoring of security practices across the team.

Active Directory and LDAP integration enable the automatic provisioning of users. The management features work with local appliances using government-level security. It’s not just a tool for websites and web applications.

BeyondTrust has one of the most complex and detailed reporting modules on the market. Included, is the ability to track login attempts and session activity across the whole team. In the event of a breach attempt, you can use these reports to ensure regulatory compliance.

ManageEngine

One of the most popular enterprise-level password security programs. The pro password management of ManageEngine includes options to enable multiple admins. Using this option does increase the price of the package, however.

Data sync and Active Directory integration streamline management of multiple accounts. While it doesn’t work with mobile devices, it does include further forensic tools. Chief amongst them is the compliance report generation feature and video logs of sessions. This makes it one of the best tools for inspecting the security practices of your team members.

ZohoVault Online Password Manager For Teams

This software works solely with mobile devices. It sounds limiting, but ZohoVault does bring a surprising depth of features to its platform.

Included, are administrator access and management of user groups as well as smooth password transferal. It allows for the creation of reports on user activity and even allows more in-depth provisioning tools. As well as limiting access by specific users, admins can restrict access by IP address. If your concerned team members use unauthorized devices to access passwords, you can block them.

Zoho works as more than a standalone centralized manager for mobile devices. It also integrates with other password managers like LastPass. A company can use Zoho to extend existing enterprise password management to mobile devices effectively. On top of that, this is one of the cheapest solutions on the list.

1Password Business

Popular consumer software, 1Password from AgileBits may not be full enterprise at the moment, but they are one to keep on your radar. Recently, they expanded their popular subscription-based service for larger teams (replacing the existing, Teams Pro service).

1Password Business provides the features you need as a larger team. It gives you the tools to protect your employees, secure your most important data, and stay compliant. Your administrators will love it for the control it provides them, and your employees will love how easy it is to use,” writes AgileBits in an introductory blog for the product.

AgileBits introduced subscription pricing in 2016, moving away from licensed-based pricing. This may be a deterrent for some businesses, though depending on the size of your company, it could end up being more cost-effective in the long-run.

While 1Password is still geared towards smaller businesses or group users, the new Business plan offers enhanced customer support; more per person document storage; and a more significant number of guest accounts. Worth keeping an eye on in your consideration process.

cybersecurity warning on a laptop at login

In Closing, Choosing an Enterprise Password Management Solution

Unauthorized use of passwords is the most common method of entry in recent data breaches. 

All of the options listed above have a reputation for high-security standards.  Do not forget, the centralization of your password management is crucial. The solution you choose depends on the needs of your organization.