The nature of our job (web design, SEO, and online marketing) is unique in ways that were unimaginable a decade or two ago. We have tremendous flexibility in how and where we work, and even the methodology we use. Results are expected, as always, but it is now, more than ever, our own burden to define our work process and the tools we use to accomplish it. Certain software and services have proven themselves over time to be surprisingly useful and save us time, money, effort, or stress. This is the first article in what I am hoping will be a recurring segment about the tools that we use to do our work.
Several aspects of our work require us to deal with login information for various sites. We frequently maintain client logins for google apps/gmail, google places, content management systems, email newsletters, online directories, web servers, and countless other online services as a service to our clients. These logins are often sensitive—a good deal of trust is placed in us to hold this information. Maintaining hundreds of these accounts used to be complicated.
Enter 1Password. I learned about this software from a podcast, and have seen it recommended on several high-profile sites. Basically, 1Password is an intelligent password management system with integration into various web browsers. It allows us to maintain a large set of accounts and passwords in a secure, but very efficient and easy to use manner. While most modern browsers have a password manager of some form that may suffice for lighter use, when you do a large amount of cross-browser testing, a tool like 1Password really shines.
Besides passwords, the program can store software serial numbers, credit card information, personal information, server accounts, and even arbitrary notes, all secured. It's a one-click process to fill out a shopping card address/credit card form.
Since we have a few people working on the same projects, we discovered that 1Password can even sync over Dropbox. Adding a new password on one computer will push it to all other synced computers in seconds! The iPhone and iPad applications also sync, so you can have access to your private information wherever you go. Gone are the days of separate lists of passwords all out of sync and out of date.
1Password is one of the first things I install on a new Mac, and it's hard to imaging what we did before. I highly recommend it to anyone who has struggled with password or account maintenance.