I’ve used the RoboForm password manager for almost as long as I’ve been online. It was one of the first (if not THE first) password manager, and it’s developed and evolved over the years to include an incredibly rich collection of features.
Why you need a password manager
If you already understand why you need a password manager – that’s good. Skip the next bit and get one now.
If you don’t know why you need one, you probably need one more than most!
The “security” logic is simple:
- You are a member of many sites that require you to log in to access them: many of those sites are ones you would not want “bad people” to have access to.
- The number of such sites is almost certainly going to increase over time.
- For many of those site, you should be using “strong” passwords – (consisting of 10 or more characters, including upper and lower case, numbers and, ideally symbol characters).
- You may be able to remember one or two such passwords – but (unless you’re Tony Buzan), that’s probably your limit.
- Without a password manager, you will either have to use the SAME password on multiple sites OR you will have to write them down somewhere: in both cases, that is a potentially serious security weakness.
Another security benefit is that a good password manager will defeat basic “keyloggers”. (A keylogger is a type of malware (software that has infected your computer) which monitors your keystrokes and sends the data to a hacker.) More advanced malware can capture the information that a password manager uses to populate a login form – so you should always protect yourself using virus checking software as well.
If you still need persuading, take a look at this article.
Efficiency & historical record
Although increased security is the most important reason to use a password manager, you also get increased efficiency because it saves you from having to manually enter your login credentials. I use my password manager innumerable times every single day: I can log in and out of sites with such ease – even sites I’ve not visited for years that I can’t imaging my online life without it.
And on very many occasions, I’ve avoided creating a second account on sites because RoboForm shows me I already had an account.
I have close to 2,000 passwords stored in RoboForm.
Notice that you can organize your logins into folders. I’ve not made as much use of that feature as I could have – but it doesn’t effect the efficiency of its operation.
One of the features I’ve never made much use of is Bookmarks.
As with most people, I’ve made extensive use of the bookmarks facility of my browser (Chrome, in my case). But in writing this article I checked out the Import functionality of RoboForm and, sure enough, I was able to import all my Chrome bookmarks into RoboForm in about three minutes (including time to learn how to use the feature). As you can see from the image above, I put them all in a folder called Chrome, and within there, it has preserved the original folder structure of my bookmarks.
Using Chrome bookmarks is still more efficient, but now I have them in RoboForm, I can access them from ANY computer and browser using the RoboForm Everywhere synchronisation feature – so it was worth spending those 3 minutes doing the import!
Identities & fast form-filling
The RoboForm password manager lets you store information which you often need when completing forms, such as your name, address, birthday, credit card number, tax number, bank details etc. (see image below). This can be held as securely as your passwords and used to auto-fill forms online. (In fact, as you can infer from the product’s name, this was the first features of the product!)
Each collection of data is stored as an Identity, and you can create multiple identities – which is ideal if you’re an international spy. But even for your average non-spy, you could well need at least two identities, such as a Business identity and a Personal identity.
And if you regularly fill in forms that require data which isn’t provided as standard as part of a RoboForm Identity, you can use the Custom feature to define additional fieldname / value pairs to speed up such form-filling.
RoboForm Password Manager for Applications
Not all passwords are used on websites. Skype is perhaps the most common example of a local application requiring a password.
RoboForm can deal with that, too.
Yet another place for Contacts
The RoboForm password manager also allows you to store Contacts within its database.
I don’t use this feature myself. It’s more convenient to use Google Contacts which auto-syncs to my Android phone.
Keeping ANYTHING secure – RoboForm Safenotes
Sometimes you want to keep some data secure which is not a password or bookmark or contact.
In that case, you can create a RoboForm Safenote – which is simply a note in free-form text which is subject to the full security features of RoboForm.
I don’t have many of these myself, but those I do have are VERY useful!
Checking your Security Score
RoboForm’s Security Center reviews the strength of your passwords, how much you duplicate passwords, and what duplicate URLs you are using.
My security score isn’t all that good 🙁
Seeing this report was very useful.
I checked all the sites where I was using a weak or duplicate password. A disappointing number of them were sites belonging to clients who I’d not been able to persuade to use RoboForm and were still using weak passwords multiple times.
The other weak/duplicate passwords were for sites that are not important and, more often than not, I was only getting temporary access.
But it’s very helpful to be able to get a report like that.
Creating Strong Passwords
Actually, with the RoboForm password manager there is no excuse to not use a new strong password every time. In two clicks, you can get this pop-up for generating a new password.
Backing Yourself Up – Emergency Access
Let’s face it – we’re all subject to potential mishaps and inevitable total loss of functionality at some point.
What happens then? Can anyone else access all your critical information?
What you need is a very secure way to provide access to one or more highly trusted individuals who you can be 100% sure will keep all your information as secure as you are doing by using the Roboform password manager themselves.
That’s what the Emergency Access feature does. Through an email exchange protocol, defined with security in mind, you can provide another person with access to your RoboForm data which they can access with read-only permissions, ONLY through RoboForm.
It’s a very neat idea.
So that’s my review of Roboform.
Running an online business is complex enough.
- I don’t want to worry about having my sites or accounts hacked by people guessing my passwords.
- I don’t want to spend time hunting around for where I stored my password for this that or the other.
- I don’t want to waste time asking for password resets.
- I don’t want to waste mental energy and time thinking up strong passwords which I’ll have to re-construct using some complex algorithm.
- I don’t want to be unable to access any site or application on a machine I don’t own.
I want to be able to get to all my critical information using ONE (or, if I want, two) un-guessable password (mine is 15-characters long).
Roboform gives me ALL of that.
In my view, a password manager is a core tool for anyone with more than a minimal online existence. For a business owner, I’d say it was essential.
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