1Password shifts to the cloud, and not everyone is happy

12 Jul 2017

It’s getting overcast ... Image: Sabphoto/Shutterstock

One of the most lauded password managers around, 1Password risks alienating some of its user base as it shifts more and more to cloud.

The cloud is a term that seems to confuse more people than it informs, with many thinking content stored there is up in the skies, with no real home, transient, ever-shifting.

But the truth is slightly different. The cloud is a network of data centres, each with different functions. Some process information, while others are hosting parts of users’ digital lives between them, allowing us to access content when and where we want, from whatever device we want.

Future Human

It’s why, for example, Apple is building a second data centre in Denmark, and is awaiting planning permission for one in Ireland. CyrusOne is, too.

The shift towards content stored in data centres is continuing apace, and it’s something many cybersecurity experts tend to be uncomfortable with. One example of this has emerged in recent days as 1Password, the very popular password manager tool, played its latest hand.

1Password is a tool that allows you to store multiple passwords on one device, to access at any time. They’re all contained in one secure place, on one tangible device. For your passwords to be hacked, your specific device would need to be targeted, something far more difficult for hackers to achieve.

It is for this reason that many laud the service as one of the more reputable ways to keep your online life secure.

However, that’s changing.

Into the cloud

The company is shifting more and more towards a subscription model, away from its one-time-only licence that serves a single device so well.

So now, users can pay a monthly fee to access their passwords from anywhere, at any time. This is a move that the company presumably feels works best for its audience in general, with online subscriptions the business model of a growing number of service providers.

To scale, this is arguably the best way to go. And, for the average user, access from multiple devices is probably far more appealing, despite the obvious concerns that come with it.

“We want our customers to get the best. Some people won’t agree with that (which is fine!) so we’ll work with them to get set up how they want but, for 99.9pc of people, 1Password.com is absolutely the way to go,” Connor Hicks, an engineer at 1Password, told Motherboard.

Not everybody is happy, though.

The shift is not universally disliked, however, as it seems 1Password is currently not forcing users to sync up their devices.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic