Introduction to different types of password managers

Password managers are an essential tool to maintain the safety of our online accounts. Find out the password manager that best suits your needs.

Different types of password managers

Password managers are the gatekeepers of your online world. They protect your accounts from attackers by generating and remembering strong, unique passwords for your accounts. While some focus on just protecting your passwords, some go above and beyond to offer you additional flexibility.

In this article, we'll talk about some of the different types of widely used password managers and differentiating factors such as accessibility, cost, and features offered. This will help you make an informed decision while picking a password manager for your personal or business use.

  • Cloud password managers

    This is one of the most popular choices for individuals and businesses. Cloud password managers encrypt your passwords and other sensitive data and safeguard them in their own servers. The primary benefit of a cloud password manager is the ease of access from anywhere in the world, using any computing device.

    • The service is centrally hosted and maintained by the service provider, so they can be deployed and accessed in no time
    • Subscription-based model requires less in up-front costs
    • Can be scaled up or down to match the team's growth
    • Help promote safe collaboration in teams working from multiple locations
    • The security of the user data is directly dependent on the choice of the service provider
  • On-premise password managers

    On-premise password managers are generally preferred by individuals and enterprises that wish to host and manage a password manager in their own closed environment. These usually offer password management features similar to a cloud password manager, but they are on the pricier end and are generally used by enterprises with access to resources and finances to maintain their own infrastructure.

    • Privately hosted and maintained to avoid external threats
    • Helpful for teams that require access to passwords even in the absence of a stable internet connection
    • Higher up-front costs
    • Additional overhead costs involving maintenance, deployment, and infrastructure upgrades
    • Longer implementation time as solutions must be manually deployed
  • Mobile password managers

    While there are plenty of cloud password manager apps available for mobile, iOS and Android offer native password managers such as Apple Keychain and Google Password Manager, allowing users to securely save passwords in their mobile device. They also help by autofilling passwords across websites and mobile applications.

    • Easy to get started
    • Instant access to passwords, from anywhere in the world
    • Free of cost (included in price of mobile device)
    • Limited to personal use due to lack of extensive features
    • Passwords can't be synced across devices operating on different platforms
  • Browser-based password managers

    Popular browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge offer built-in password managers to help users save and manage their passwords. Passwords saved in these password managers can be synced across devices that support these browsers.

    • Easy to get started and manage
    • Supports password autofill and auto-saves new account credentials
    • Free of cost
    • Limited to personal use due to lack of extensive features
    • Passwords can't be synced across different browsers
    • Unsafe on shared devices on which multiple users can access browsers
  • Single Sign-On

    Single Sign-On (SSO) is an authentication method which allows users to log in to multiple cloud applications (service providers) using a single set of credentials. To make SSO possible, users will have to authenticate once with an identity provider (IdP), and then leverage this valid session to access numerous applications configured through SSO with the IdP. A common example of SSO is creating an account with a third-party application using your existing Google or Facebook credentials.

    • Unlike traditional password management methods, SSO helps businesses enable passwordless authentication for their teams
    • Improve user productivity and remote work systems
    • Improve the user's password hygiene by reducing the number of passwords they manage
    • Access to all your accounts depends on your SSO provider
    • Vulnerable to external threats as access to multiple accounts are accessible from a single point
    • Generally on the pricier side

Which type of password manager should you pick?

Choosing the best password manager for your needs depends on a few factors. For example, it's better to use your device or browser's built-in password manager over using none. However, you must remember that they're limited and offer significantly less value when compared with a free cloud password manager.

Whether it's for business or personal use, we recommend you try a cloud password manager like Zoho Vault.

Zoho Vault acts as a two-in-one solution for enterprises that require password management and single sign-on tools to manage their sensitive accounts. Vault is forever-free for individuals and is extremely affordable for businesses. Some of the Zoho Vault's benefits include:

  • Simple, intuitive, and easy to use
  • Save unlimited passwords, documents, and other sensitive data
  • Complete security for all passwords with AES-256 encryption
  • Sync passwords across unlimited devices for free
  • Access to browser extensions and native mobile and iPad apps
  • Security dashboards to measure personal and business password safety
  • Single sign-on for unlimited cloud applications
  • Learn more about Zoho Vault's features

However, if you're interested in trying an on-premise password manager, we recommend you take a look at Password Manager Pro from Manage Engine—the IT management division of Zoho Corporation.

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