Get a powerhouse password manager for teams with Zoho Vault

If your organization needs to share passwords with teams, Zoho Vault is a stellar cloud-based solution. Here's how to use this password manager, including its Android app.

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Password managers are a dime a dozen, and most of them offer the same features across the board. I have found a few password managers that go beyond what most expect from such a tool. One service that takes the password manager to new heights is from Zoho.

SEE: Password Management Policy (Tech Pro Research)

You might remember Zoho as an "operating system" for businesses; the company offers nearly everything you need to keep your business running efficiently. Recently, Zoho added password management into its mix with Zoho Vault. What this take on password management adds to the mix is allowing you to work with teams -- that's right, password management for teams. Vault also offers a free Android app for the service.

Note: There is a free plan for Zoho Vault, though this plan in only for personal use and not for team. Take a look at the feature/cost matrix to find out if there's a plan that perfectly fits your needs.

Using Zoho Vault

Zoho has done a great job of creating a password manager that's simple to use -- it offers a well-designed UI and a very low barrier to entry. Upon authentication with your account, the first screen you will land on is the Secrets tab (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic
The Zoho Secrets tab is ready for action.

Click the Add Your Secrets And Get Started! button to create your first entry for the password manager. You will first be prompted to create a passphrase that will be used to gain entrance to the secrets. Create your passphrase, your first secret, and then click the Admin tab (Figure B) to begin the process of adding users and user groups (teams).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic
The Admin tab allows you to control every aspect of Zoho Vault.

Creating a group is simple:

  1. Click the Admin tab.
  2. Click the User Groups tab.
  3. Click the Add button.
  4. Enter the information for the group (Figure C).
  5. Assign users to the group by selecting them and clicking the right-pointing arrow.
  6. Click Save.

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic
Creating a new group in Zoho Vault.

Zoho Vault allows you to integrate with LDAP/AD. Click on that tab from within the Admin section to add your domain.

Sharing secrets

After you create a secret, you'll see an associated Share button. Click the Share button and, from the pop-up (Figure D), select to share with Users, User Groups, or an Outsider.

Figure D

Figure D
Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic
Sharing a secret to members.

Creating chambers

Another feature Zoho Vault offers is Chambers, which allows you to organize logins by department, teams, divisions, and so on. You create a Chamber, and then you can add secrets to the chamber. Once you've created a Chamber, you can share it out to users/groups in the same way you shared secrets. This makes the process of sharing a group of secrets much easier, especially when dealing with a larger organization.

Using fine-grained controls

Under the Admin tab, you will also find a tab for Fine-grained control. Here you can configure such things as:

  • Restrict Users From Creating Secrets
  • Restrict Users From Exporting Secrets
  • Restrict Offline Access To Secrets
  • Restrict Mobile App Usage
  • Enable IP Restrictions
  • Restrict Users From Sharing Secrets With Outsiders
  • Enable Users To Paste Passphrase

Each of the above can be enabled/disabled with a single click.

Installing the Android app

Once you've signed up for your account, you can install the mobile app by following these steps.

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for zoho vault.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Zoho.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Read the permissions listing carefully.
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept.
  7. Allow the installation to complete.

Launch the app. You will have to authenticate with your Zoho account and then enter the passphrase you created in order to gain access to your secrets. From the mobile app you can create new secrets, but you do not have access to the Zoho Vault admin page.

The bottom line

There aren't many password managers available that offer the power you'll find in Zoho Vault. If your organization needs to share passwords with teams, you cannot go wrong with this powerhouse manager.

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