Best Small Business Password Managers
Choosing the best small business password managers is not as straightforward as you might think. Password managers for small businesses can vary in functionality and cost depending on the size of the business and the number of people who need access to business credentials.
However, for a business of any size, it is important that passwords, credit cards details, and other information stored in the password manager are secure. Therefore, it is inappropriate for employees to use password managers that are built into operating systems (i.e., Microsoft Credentials or iCloud Keychain) or browsers (i.e., Chrome, Edge, or Firefox).
The primary problem with small business password managers of this type is that they do not have automatic logout capabilities. This means the data stored in password mangers could be extracted and exploited by anybody with access – physical or remote – to the device on which the data is stored. It is also impossible to share data securely via built-in password managers.
Built-In via Vault-Based Password Managers
Compared to built-in password managers, vault-based password managers work by providing each user with a vault into which you can save passwords, credit card details, and other information. In most cases the vaults are accessed via the Internet and/or apps and browser extensions – meaning that, unlike built-in password managers, vaults can be accessed from any device using any operating system or browser at any time of the day.
Each vault is protected by a user-created master password; and, to avoid issues associated with unauthorized access to business data, users have to log into their vaults at the beginning of every session and are automatically logged out after a period of inactivity. System Admins can group users together for ease of administration and the application of password policies, and share passwords and other credentials between groups.
In addition, system admins can run reports that identify weak and re-used passwords or data that has been compromised in a data breach, enforce multi-factor authentication for sensitive accounts, and review event logs revealing who has accessed which accounts, from where, and when. Consequently, vault-based password managers for small businesses provide considerably more visibility of user activity than built-in password managers.
Which Small Business Password Managers are Best?
What constitutes the best small business password manager can be dependent on the size of the business and the number of people who need access to business credentials. For example, Bitwarden offers a free cloud-based password manager for “Organizations” of two users, Psono offers a free, self-hosted password manager for “Teams” of up to ten users, and most vendors offer a choice of feature-limited and full featured password managers for businesses of all sizes at different costs.
Most business plans – including the free ones – support cross-platform synchronization, encrypted password storage and sharing, and security reports. Premium vault-based password managers also usually support remote emergency access – which is essential if a user is taken ill and there is a genuine reason for accessing their vault. Vendors that don´t offer this service include NordPass and 1Password – which is why they are excluded from the following summary.
Bitwarden is a mature password manager built on open-source software. In addition to the free two-user Organization plan, Bitwarden offers a feature-limited Teams plan for an unlimited number of users and a fully featured Enterprise plan for only $5 per month per user. Provided you don´t need telephone support to deploy and manage the software (because telephone support isn´t an option), Bitwarden is one of best password managers for small businesses.
Psono is a relative newcomer to the password manager market, and although it too is built on open source software, it does not have as many features as Bitwarden. Nonetheless, the free Teams version of the software does have a policy engine, audit logging, and LDAP/SSO integration. If you want to deploy Psono for more than ten users, the self-hosted Enterprise plan costs $2 per user per month, and the cloud-based Enterprise plan $3 per user per month.
Keeper is a well-establish password manager for enterprises, but it does offer a feature-limited version of its proprietary software for just $3.33 per user per month with a 30% discount available for military and healthcare organizations. However, if you require more than just a basic service, add-ons are particularly pricey. For example, policy engines and advanced reporting – which are both free with Bitwarden and Psono premium plans – cost an extra $8 per user per year each.
Like Keeper, LastPass doesn´t offer a free version of its password manager for small businesses, but it does offer a more fully-featured version of its proprietary software for $4 per user per month. If you want to deploy the software for more than fifty users, the cost increases to $6 per user per month; and although the higher-priced version comes with three Single Sign On apps and basic Multi-Factor Authentication, you will have to pay a premium if you want more advanced SSO or MFA.
LogMeOnce is included in this summary of the best small business password managers because its feature-rich “Identity” option will appeal to technically-minded system administrators. However, to take advantage of possibly “more-than-necessary” capabilities, you will have to pay $7 per month per user, plus subscribe to a support contract if you require telephone support to configure and manage the password manager for small businesses.
Conclusion: Try Small Business Password Managers for Free
All of the vendors summarized above offer free trials for their small business password managers and this is the way to go to establish which password manager meets your needs in terms of functionality, usability, and cost. However, please be aware that when you take advantage of a free fully-featured Enterprise trial, and subsequently subscribe to a feature-limited plan, the experience you had during the free trial is unlikely to be the same.