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Password Manager Storage: Cloud vs. Local

  |  Dashlane

Discover the pros and cons of each storage medium for security application.

Most people would assume that if you want to keep something safe, you have to keep it nearby. This convention of common sense might not tell the entire story, however.

Proximity does not necessarily equal security, as anyone who has accidentally left their wallet in a public place can tell you.

In fact, most people actually entrust their entire life savings to a banking institution for specifically this reason. Leaving your retirement money behind a bank vault is much safer than stuffing banknotes in your mattress.

Passwords work in largely the same way, except that password management developers don’t have physical vaults to work with—instead they have software and hardware, and they can use local or cloud storage to protect and secure it.

It’s then up to users to determine what kind of security system they trust most. 

Two Ways to Store Passwords Securely

Whenever an application requests a password, it has to have a copy of that password to compare the user’s input with. Otherwise, there would be no way to know if the user’s password is actually correct.

Developers have multiple tools and techniques for making sure applications store passwords securely. But there are considerations to make beyond encryption and other standard practices. Choosing where the application stores passwords is as important as determining how it stores them.

Among security professionals, local and cloud are the two best methods to secure passwords, and each one has its own benefits and drawbacks.

  • Local storage hampers the user experience (UX) but forces hackers to resort to difficult malware-based approaches like using keyloggers and other advanced tools. Since the password is stored on the user’s device, the user has total control over its security.
  • Cloud storage improves accessibility and user convenience. Since passwords are stored on cloud servers, users can access them from any number of devices and sync passwords between devices relatively easily.

Users encounter security threats whether using cloud or local password storage, and there is no one-size-fits-all option. Read on for a more detailed look at both options to better understand which feels safer for your password management.

Local Storage Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Improved Security

If a password is stored exclusively on a single physical device, attackers have to compromise the device in order to access the password. At first, it might seem like this makes local storage more secure than cloud storage, but cybersecurity is not a simple discipline.

For a locally stored password to present a significant security challenge, the application running it has to be kept meticulously up-to-date. The hardware it is running on must be physically inaccessible to all but a few designated administrators. The system’s users must avoid falling victim to phishing scams and other tricks.

In a local storage scenario, the user is ultimately responsible for the security of the system. This means that any flaw in the user’s processes or methods may expose a vulnerability that hackers can exploit.

But few organizations have the resources, assets, and talent necessary to operate a full-featured security operations center.

On the other hand, with cloud-based password storage, cybersecurity experts handle every aspect of the password storage process. For instance, Dashlane uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) for secure password storage. This ensures users enjoy access to the latest cybersecurity best practices, delivered by knowledgeable technicians with years of experience.

How Does AWS Work?

Amazon’s cloud services are among the world’s most secure. The system’s infrastructure is designed to incorporate the latest security technologies in a fully compliant, highly scalable environment. AWS houses the physical servers in highly secure facilities with strict access control policies, CCTV surveillance systems, and intrusion-detection mechanisms.

AWS protects its users against distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, implements best-in-class encryption, and runs routine security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities before they turn into liabilities.

Additionally, AWS offers its clients the ability to view detailed logs and audit trails for every action performed on their systems, verified through multifactor authentication.

In short, Amazon takes security incredibly seriously and provides a solid foundation for cloud-based password management vendors like Dashlane to provide customers with substantial value.

By consolidating security features into a single, easy-to-use platform, password manager users can enjoy comprehensive security without having to invest in prohibitively expensive onsite security solutions.

Choosing the Right Storage

When choosing the right password manager system for your business, it’s necessary to weigh the pros and cons of both local and cloud storage. If you remain uncertain on the safety of either, reach out to us here at Dashlane for further detail on the two methods of storage.

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