Password Overload and CRMs

When I used a PC, I found this utility that I used to keep track of my passwords.  Roboform is this happy will green dude who sits in your utility tray and keeps a list of all of your login accounts, their URLs, usernames, passwords and notes.  Launching an account is as easy as clicking on Roboform and selecting the account you'd like to launch and voila the site launches and Roboform fills your username and password and automatically logs you in.  Roboform works with a master password, so when you login to your computer to launch Roboform you need to enter a master password.  You can set how often you want to be prompted for the password.

When I moved to Mac, I missed the little green guy.  Every time I had to copy a url, username and password from a spreadsheet and paste them manually into an internet browser, the heart ache increased.  Plus, there was all kinds of silliness with the spreadsheet: who had it open, who deleted that field, what is the most current version of the FTP info, etc.

When I migrated to Mac I had accumulated 249 passwords in my Roboform! The amount of information that people are beginning to need to be able to track in their personal and professional lives is outrageous.

At Raised Eyebrow we have thousands of passwords and they needed to be stored uber securely.  Moreover, the data is a more complex set of information, Client Names, Contact Info, FTP Info, Database Info, CMS Info, Host Info, Stats Info, etc.  We combed through the market of Mac-based password keepers. 1Password, KeePassX seemed to be the best options that emerged at the time.  1Password, which is proprietary, seemed more feature rich, while KeePass, which is open source, seemed easier to install as a shared network installation.  Nonetheless, the amount of customization we required in terms of fields made neither solution appealing. So we kept on using a spreadsheet.

One day in utter frustration we had a brainstorming session.  We build websites, so maybe we could build an internal site that would keep our data?  From that session was born the idea for our super secure, one stop shop, password vault website.  That was 6 months ago.

Today, I just finished entering the last password from our main password list! What we developed in many respects is akin to a custom contact database.  We have different content types: Client, Website, Newsletter, Domain, etc.  Seeing the product, in its current state makes me wonder whether we should have invested the time we took to develop it into implementing and customizing a CRM (customer relationship manager)?  Could the data be accommodated in an off the shelf solution, like Salesforce or Daylight with customization?

Now, we are on the eve of embarking on a CRM implementation process. Starting such a process makes we wonder about all our systems: which ones work? Which ones should we keep? Which ones can be folded into the CRM? How can we streamline our workflow, while ensuring the integrity and security of our data?  How can specialized industries be best served by CRM software?

One major benefit from developing our password keeper is that we engaged in the exact process that would be required to clean up our data if we were going to import it into a CRM.  Instead of having a laundry list of every type of password in one long list, we have nice clean data parsed into types.  Also, it was like putting out a fire so that we wouldn't be smoked out while we began to think about a CRM project. So, I'm happy with the path we've taken and looking forward to seeing what we do next.

If you have password overload, there are lots of solutions out there to make your life easier. And if you've recently done a CRM project in a all Mac environment, let me know how it went.