Why You Need A Password Manager – My Review Of Dashlane

Home » Blog » Smartphones » Apps » Why You Need A Password Manager – My Review Of Dashlane

I know it’s not the most exciting of topics but managing passwords is an important part of everyday life, especially since we sign up for so many websites and services. That’s why I decided to write an article based on my own  experience with Dashlane and why you need a password manager.

I find it astonishing that so many people still choose to reuse their passwords everywhere they sign up too and what’s worse is that these passwords are usually extremely basic and easy to guess. To make things even worse, I know people who write their passwords down on post-it notes along with their usernames and then leave them lying around.

The good news is that there is a solution for both helping you remember your password and making it secure at the same time and that solution is a password manager.

Password managers have been around for a while and I’ve tried and used many of them, however, Dashlane remains my favourite one. That’s why I decided to share my experience in the form of a review, but also to motivate you to start using a password manager.

This review is based on the paid version of Dashlane and I know I haven’t included it on my post on the best tech investments I made last yearbest tech investments I made last year, it’s definitely hitting the list this year!

What is Dashlane?

Dashlane is one of the highest-ranked password managers out there and it should be considering the features it comes with. Dashlane is a password manager, but not only! Dashlane also happens to be one of my favourite mobile apps!

In their basic forms password, managers are apps that store all of your passwords in a secure protected vault. However, Dashlane is just so much more, I would go as far as calling it an all-in-one cyber security suite. Dashlane has several features, but we’ll get into more of them further in the article. Let’s start with the pros and cons…

 Pros

  • The premium plan comes with a VPN
  • Clear and easy to use interface
  • Supports multiple platforms
  • Option to update hundreds of passwords at once
  • Form Filling
  • Secure Notes
  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • 256-Bit AES Encryption 
  • Password Sharing

❌ Cons

  • Expensive compared to other password managers
  • No desktop app
  • Limited functionality in the free version
  • No Emergency Kit

Browser Extension

In traditional password management apps such as KeyPass, we add out passwords by importing them into a database manually. When you use the Dashlane browser extension, it will capture your username and password. Now you probably find this concerning, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be. A window pops up asking whether you want to save the username and password and if you press save, only then will it save it to an encrypted database.

The Dashlane window will pop up on any login form, and it will either ask you to create login details, save your current ones or help you create new ones. This takes us to the next feature…

Just a side note, I appreciate that Dashlane is not the only password that has these features, however, they still are features worth talking about.

Password Generator

One of the main advantages of Dashlane is the fact that it has a password generator which will generate a secure password of your liking. This combined with the browser extension works extremely well together because when you sign up for a website, it will not only save your login details, it will also generate a secure password which you can use to log in to that website.

This does of course mean that you end up not knowing your password but look at it this way, the password is very secure because even you don’t know it and it’s not easy to guess.

Password Changer

Generating passwords is one thing, Dashlane also enables you to change your outdated or unsafe passwords. Now many password managers offer this option but Dashlane makes things a lot easier as it allows you to update all of your outdated passwords at once! This means that you don’t have to log in to every account to manually change your passwords! However, this only works with compatible websites and services.

This feature also shows your passwords from the worst to the best and offers to improve them for you.

Form Filling

Other than filling in your log-in details, Dashlane will also help you fill in your forms. So for example, if you are buying a plane ticket, it can fill in your details such as personal details including your name, address and phone number as well as your payment card details and passport details if you wish to store them in Dashlane’s secure vault.

The advantage of this is that it saves a lot of time when buying tickets and even shopping online. However, from my experience, I would double-check to make sure the correct fields are filled in because there were times when I had an email address filled in automatically instead of a name which can be annoying. I also noticed that the form filling doesn’t work well on some websites and some websites seem to be disabling them all together which I find strange as it’s 2022!

At the end of the day, whilst this feature may not be perfect, I find this issue to be happening with most, if not all of the password managers I’ve used in the past and come to think of it, from my experience I think Dashlane is better at filling in forms compared to others I used.

Secure Notes

Another feature I find useful is the secure notes feature. You may not think much of it but if you need to store things such as door codes, software licence keys and anything that needs to be secure, the secure notes feature has your back.

Dark Web Monitoring

Dashlane will inform you of any publicly known data breaches and advise you to update your login details.

Cybercriminals use the dark web to sell stolen data, Dashlane will check if your personal information has been compromised by scanning the web for any compromised personal information. Unfortunately, this is a premium feature.

From my point of view as an IT professional, I think that this is a very useful feature and I find it a shame that it’s only available as a premium feature. However, no need to worry as you can do this outside of Dashlane free of charge by going to a website called Have I Been Pawned. I highly recommend signing up for this service, if you don’t plan to purchase the premium version of Dashlane.

VPN

As part of the premium package, you also receive Hotspot Shield VPN (Virtual Private Network). Using a VPN helps keep your data secure, especially when you’re connected to open public WiFi hotspots. It works by hiding your IP address by redirecting it through a specially configured remote server and when connected, the VPN becomes the source of your data.

256-Bit AES Encryption

Encryption is a fundamental feature of any password manager. Dashlane uses 256-bit encryption which is nothing special as most password managers use it. But what sets Dashlane apart from others is the fact that it encrypts all your data locally on your device, in other words, it means that even Dashlane employees can’t access your data.

2-Factor Authentication

The way you log in to your password manager is also important. Like most password managers, Dashlane offers 2-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA gives you an extra layer layer of security when logging-in.

2FA works by sending you a one-time passcode which you then enter before entering your password.

Password Sharing

I don’t know about you but I hate sharing my passwords, but sometimes we just have to. Now just a side note, I don’t recommend sharing your password or login details unless you seriously need to and have no other option and once the second party finishes, it’s good practice to change your password.

The good news is that Dashlane has you covered in these types of situations, because instead of giving your passwords, you can use Dashlane to share access to a particular account. This epic feature works by you entering your friends email address, Dashlane will then send them an email invitation. You can even specify the level of access you wish for them to have which will limit what they can see and do.

This is a very good feature but the only trouble with it is that your friend or family member needs to sign up for a free Dashlane account.

Supported Platforms

If you are using a computer, Dashlane is accessible via browser extension. There was a time when there was a desktop app but that has unfortunately been discontinued along with the emergency kit, which I find a real shame. On the other hand, if you are using a mobile or tablet, there is a dedicated app which you can download and it’s available on Android iOS and iPadOS.

The verdict

Like I said at the start, I’ve used many password managers in the past. However, I choose to stick with Dashlane and I highly recommend getting the premium subscription. I know what it sounds like but Dashlane has had no involvement in this article nor do they know I’m writing it. I just thought it would be a good idea to review a program I use, pay for and highly recommended. But back to the verdict, I think that Dashlane has some pretty useful features, in fact due to the amount of features it has, I can no longer call it a password manager but a cyber security suite.

So why do you need a password manager?

I hope that my review of Dashlane has helped you build a better understanding of why Dashlane can be useful. I thought that by explaining the features of a leading password manager would be a good way of justifying the need for you to be using one.

In this section, I hope to answer your questions but if you have any unanswered questions, let me know in the comments!

Password management is a very important part of your everyday life. It’s one that is often neglected because we simply want to get on with our lives. However, it this day and age security is more important than ever before and we need to stay on alert at all times. The first line of defence is always a strong password and anything above such as 2-factor authentication is a welcome bonus.

Now I know that many of you think that cyber threats won’t affect you, I’ve got friends and family who think they aren’t important enough to be targeted. But the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter who you are and and what you do as anyone can be a potential target. That’s why it’s essential that you keep on top of security. 

At the end of the day you don’t really need a fancy password manager to keep on top of things, as long as your passwords are complicated enough and you use a different password everywhere you log in. Any additional security feature such as 2FA is a bonus.

But you still need a password to access the password manager

That is correct! The core purpose of any password manager is to securely store your passwords. However, that too needs to be secured somehow right? The good news is that you only need to remember one password and that’s the one you log in with into your manager. This is likely where Dashlane’s competitor 1 Password gets it’s name from.

So yes, you do need a password to access a password manager, but look at it this way, you only need to remember 1 ultra-secure password.

Is it safe?

I can’t promise anything it that regard, any account you log into is as safe as you make it. So enabling 2FA and having a ultra-secure password are great starting points.

Depending on the password manager you choose, I recommend one that uses a decent level of encryption as well as 2-factor authentication.

Can it get hacked?

Yes, it can but as long as the password manager uses a decent level of encryption to store your data such as Dashlane’2 256-bit AES military grade encryption, the chance of your information being hacked is far less compared to your information being stored on other services.

But I don’t want to pay!

I fully understand and respect that, I don’t really want to be paying either. But look at it this way, you are paying for the convenience and security at the same time. There are many good, free open source alternatives such as KeyPass which, I like personally, but it doesn’t come with a useful browser extension that will automatically fill in your passwords, nor does it come with an official mobile app. There are however unofficial apps but they usually involve syncing the safe using a cloud storage solution which once again is less secure than other password managers. 

At the end of the day, the decision on whether you decide too use a free or paid solution or even no solution at all is yours. I’m not going to stand there telling you what to do, I can however advise and recommend. 

My Final Verdict

Whilst password manager’s aren’t 100% secure, they are considerably safer and more convenient compared to traditional methods. I’ve seen people store their login details in many ways including notebooks, post-it notes attached to their screens, their laptops and many other ways which pose security risks. People also tend to reuse the same password everywhere they sign up for. That’s why as an IT professional, I strongly recommend using a decent password manager.

This post is not sponsorred by Dashlane, nor am I getting paid for it. This article is fully based on my own experience of using the product.