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Keeper password manager is powerful and simple, but pricey

Marco Tabini | July 12, 2013
Keeper helps you keep your logins safe from prying eyes with a simple and effective user interface that works across just about any platform you can thing of. Unfortunately, syncing -- a feature that just about everyone needs these days -- comes at a steep price.

Simplicity itself
Keeper's functionality is simple almost to the point of being barebones: You can create secure items by providing a Web URL and the appropriate login information, together with any additional fields and an optional note. The results can be organized in an arbitrary number of folders (and, of course, moved around as needed).

Its functionality is therefore somewhat limited compared to much of its competition, which can often follow complex login patterns and stored additional items like secure notes, software licenses, and personal documents. On the flip side, however, the app is also extremely easy to use, particularly when you install a browser extension, which autofills form data for you and makes logging no more complex than clicking on a button.

One item of note is Keeper's ability to export your entire data vault in PDF format, with the passwords clearly shown in plaintext. This may seem like a very risky option—and, indeed, it is if you leave the file lying around on your hard drive. However, if used properly, it is also a great old-school safety mechanism: print the PDF file out, store it a safe or safety box (of the real-life kind), and your business partners or family will have a permanent backup in case something happens to you.

Finally, you can also share individual login items with other users, allowing them to access critical passwords that are kept in sync across the company's cloud infrastructure.

Bottom line
Overall, Keeper is one of the simplest password managers I've ever seen. If you do not use one of these apps today, it represents a great starting point: it takes security seriously, it can be set up in under five minutes, and takes even less time to master.

I don't usually judge software by its cost, but the app is a much harder proposition if you want to take advantage of its more advanced functionality, like syncing. If you want to use your data across, say, an iPad, an iPhone, and a Mac, you're out $30 per year—and, at that price, you can find apps that, like OneSafe and 1Password, offer a greater array of functionality, although they often support fewer platforms.

 

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