As with most password managers, the first step is to create a memorable yet strong master password, after which you’ll be asked to enter a security question and answer. As this answer can unlock your secure vault if used in conjunction with a code emailed to you by Keeper, it’s important to make sure it’s one that’s infrequently used and will be difficult for anyone to guess. The name of your first pet probably isn’t the best approach, whereas something along the lines of your oldest sibling’s middle name offers more robust protection.
While the Chrome browser extension and associated import tool took just seconds to install and get operational, the desktop and mobile apps are a little more time-consuming and require a surprising amount of memory, with the PC app weighing in at 93MB. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long to download, and the installation wizard soon had everything in place.
Whether you’re using a browser extension or a downloaded app, Keeper offers useful tours and tutorials to get you started. Although the user interface is a little bland, during the set-up process you can choose from a range of color schemes and give it a little more personality. Other than that, the interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, making both setup and operation simple and straightforward.
Once you’ve set up your desktop or mobile app and your browser extension, Keeper does pretty much everything else for you. Importing passwords was a breeze and much easier than on other similar apps where import functions are limited to specific sources. All in all, despite my hesitancy, when it comes to new software, Keeper was up and running in under 15 minutes, making it one of the smoothest processes I’ve ever experienced. It also did it all via a VPN tunnel without a murmur of protest.
Adapting features and customizing settings is also easily done, especially on the browser extension apps where each setting has a note beneath it explaining exactly what it does and how it will impact on the user. With standardized design across all its apps, and apps available for all major operating systems, when it comes to operation and functionality, Keeper is a definite Keeper!
End-to-end encryption means you and only you can access your stored information, even when that data is in transit. Even if hackers attacked Keeper’s cloud component, the most they would come away with would be a ciphertext file which is both meaningless and worthless. Keeper conducts regular third-party audits to verify both its levels of encryption and its internal practices, giving users the level of reassurance they need when it comes to handling sensitive data like credit card details and login information.
Multiple layers of encryption make it virtually impossible for anyone to access your information regardless of where it is. Within Keeper’s cloud security vault, the data key used to encrypt information stored there is itself encrypted with your private master password. Similarly, the key used to encrypt the data stored on your device is encrypted with the data key.
Keeper demonstrates its security-consciousness with its SOC 2 compliance which indicates that it handles your data in a manner that protects both your interests and your privacy. This is essential for cloud-based security services and assures users that their data will be confidential, secure, private and yet always available.
Additional security features include a Self-Destruct mechanism reminiscent of Mission Impossible. After five failed login attempts, Keeper will automatically delete all the records stored on your device. In other words, if someone stole your device and attempted to hack into your Keeper account, they’d only have five attempts before being locked out forever. The user has a back-up plan available, however, and can use a combination of their master password, security answer and two-factor authentication code to retrieve their data from Keeper’s Cloud Security Vault.
Another handy feature of Keeper’s premium packages is that you can add up to five emergency contacts and permit them to access your account after a specified delay period. Keeper also supports a range of authentication methods, including biometric logins and Keeper DNA which supports various authentication methods and can even utilize wireless devices to verify your identity.
All these security measures sound incredibly sophisticated, and they are, but thankfully they’re surprisingly easy to set up and customize. For example, after setting up two-factor authentication on my desktop, every time I logged into Keeper, I had to wait for and enter a code that was sent via SMS to my phone.
While I appreciate the extra security it gives me, doing it every single time I log in will inevitably get frustrating. Keeper is intuitive enough to know this, however, so immediately gives you the option of turning two-factor authentication off for 30 days, after which it is automatically reactivated. It’s also as easy to turn it off completely as it is to activate it in the first place.
Even in the event of a subpoena, the only information Keeper could hand over would be your general account information, like your name and the type of account. Harmless for the user, and useless to the recipient. In a nutshell, your data is safer in Keeper’s hands than it would be in a nutshell! Inevitably, Keeper does keep logs of certain user activities, including website statistics, and some location-based data which is used “for the purpose of protecting your Keeper account from authorized remote access”.
The only real threat to your privacy when it comes to Keeper is its location. Based in Chicago, with additional offices in California and Ireland, Keeper operates under US legislation and, as the US is part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, that means “privacy is not absolute”. At present, the level of encryption used by Keeper means your passwords and other secrets are safe but, should the Five Eyes introduce the legislation they’ve been discussing, that could end abruptly.
According to some, the Five Eyes Alliance is discussing options for introducing “lawful access” mechanisms into cybersecurity services which “could mean building backdoors into encrypted services, so that governments can access encrypted communication”. Fortunately, we’re not quite at that level of Big Brotherly surveillance just yet.
On the downside, however, the free version can only be used on a single device and doesn’t allow for any syncing or sharing of information. Nevertheless, you’ll still get the benefit of unlimited secure storage for both passwords and payment information, as well as the ability to use biometric login methods. Security audit features are available in all packages and offer a simple, well-designed method of keeping on top of your security levels and maintaining strong passwords at all times
Upgrading to the individual paid package will give you access to secure record sharing as well the option of adding emergency contacts. You’ll also get the benefits of Breachwatch, which will scan the dark web for any evidence of stolen personal data and notifies you accordingly. Mind you, you can also get those benefits for free, using the online dark web scan, so upgrading for an individual, unless you need sharing capabilities, doesn’t make a lot of sense.
For families, data sharing is essential, and Keeper’s family packages give up to five people access to a cloud security vault and password management on an unlimited number of devices. Business packages are inevitably far more sophisticated than those designed for personal use and Keeper’s entry-level business package includes activity reporting, encrypted vaults for each user, sharing team folders, access from an unlimited number of devices and basic two-factor authentication. An upgrade to the Enterprise package includes all this but adds on team management features and flexible provisioning facilities.
As well as stand-alone password management software, Keeper offers bundles that group together a range of products. For example, personal protection can be expanded by opting for the max bundle which includes password management, private messaging services, secure storage, and dark web monitoring. Alternatively, you can sign up for a plan or stick with the free one but add on those extra features for a small monthly fee. Additional features are also available in its plans for mobile devices, including autofill options and face recognition.
One of the few problems with Keeper is that it doesn’t offer a simple way to change multiple passwords or alter weak ones. While many password managers will automatically generate a stronger password when it detects a vulnerability, with Keeper, this must be done manually, which can be time-consuming. Even more time consuming is the process of changing multiple passwords which, with Keeper, must be done manually. A little more intuition in this regard would be a welcome improvement.
Overall, Keeper has an impressive range of features designed to cover every aspect of your password management and protection, while providing secure storage and sharing facilities.
Nevertheless, its free offering is a nice touch, as is the 30-day free trial which is available for all personal users. Business users aren’t quite so lucky but still get 15 days in which to test their chosen product before making the first payment.
If you only want to protect your passwords on a single device without any syncing, Keeper’s free app is perfect for you. There are very few people left in this modern world with just one connected device, however, so if you want password protection across your whole collection of smartwatches, smartphones, smart coffee machines, gaming consoles, PC, etc., you’ll have to upgrade. Lucky for you, however, you’ll be able to experiment with either of Keeper’s premium packages for 30 days before making a financial commitment.
Keeper does have a few advantages that make its slightly inflated prices worth paying. The additional security features, like zero-knowledge architecture and self-destruct mechanism, can’t be found in many other places. The high level of security, in general, makes Keeper worth investing in.
The FAQ section is usually the first port of call and, like the user interface, isn’t particularly colorful or inspiring, but is completely functional, giving useful answers to a wide range of queries. The resource section contains user guides for every aspect of Keeper’s services as well as webinars, white papers, case studies, and infographics.
As well as the FAQ section, Keeper’s online support includes a system status check, user guides, and the option to register for a free Q&A webinar. The system status check indicates if any problems are affecting the operation or security of Keeper’s infrastructure and is reflective of Keeper’s efforts towards transparency.
If none of the online resources have the answers you were looking for, you can contact a customer support representative via the online email form or through the live chat service. The live chat proved both responsive and helpful, while the email support service is preferable for more complex issues.
Whether you’re a first-time user looking for basic operational instructions, or a company administrator seeking a deeper understanding of cybersecurity issues, Keeper’s online resources probably have the answers. If not, getting in touch with a customer support representative is a prompt and pleasant experience.
There are a couple of features that Keeper is lacking, particularly when it comes to changing multiple passwords, which can be a time-consuming and arduous process. Nevertheless, even Keeper’s free option has some nice touches, like the security audit facility, for example, which graphically displays password strength and repetition.
Keeper produces password management software for a wide range of operating systems, making it ideal for those wanting to sync across a variety of devices. Two-factor authentication and biometric login features add to its level of security, as does the rare but invaluable self-destruct option.
Keeper prides itself on its cutting-edge security and will appeal to those concerned about their online safety. Although Keeper is one of the more expensive password managers on the market, it is worth the additional cost if you’re looking for complete security and a commitment to user privacy.
Although Keeper’s interface and website aren’t the most inspiring, they’re both functional and easy to navigate. Online support and other resources are abundant, while the inclusion of a live chat option never fails to warm the cockles of our digital hearts.
All in all, whether you’re looking for a password manager for yourself, your family, or your business, Keeper offers solutions that, once you’ve tried them, you’ll almost certainly want to keep them.