Blackberry Password Datasafe - Ascendo DataVault



With so much to keep in your head these days, there is no way to do it without a very secure data access/safe program.  In my opinion, Data Vault by Ascendo is a must have on the BB.  This program is not just a password safe its a data safe for your data such as passwords, serial numbers, access codes, and web logins, and it enables you to quickly get to them on both your desktop and your Blackberry.  

Ascendo DataVault can be obtained here for $29.95 and you get 10% off with the code "STIN4590" when you order directly from Ascendo, and can also be installed from your BB by going to http://tinyurl.com/33r7pl, , see their FAQ for more info. 

There complete manual will give you complete instructions.  


Overall Security and Sync

Ascendo DataVault use Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), the same method chosen the US Government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)   DataVault is synchronized in both directions which can lead to entries for which all fields do not match. The user can resolve these conflicts manually but that requires displaying the information from both records in a dialog box and then asking the user which of the two is correct. 

DataVault does not store the password anywhere in the application. When the user selects a password, the encryption algorithm transforms it into a chain of characters that is stored. To start the application again, the user enters their password, the application runs it through the algorithm and if the result matches the stored value, the application starts-up.  DataVault uses the password and the encryption key to store new data. You cannot decrypt the data without the password. For DataVault, the synchronization process requires the user to provide the password to derive user data, resolve conflicts, then re-encrypt and store the data. 

Complete SYNCH instructions show you that you can do it OTA and via email.  The synch process is so easy and smooth now.  

 The Desktops

DataVault provides a Tree View and List View on the desktop, and you can easily switch between the views with button on the top.  From either Desktop, you can Auto-fill a username and password into a web page if you have it set up correctly in the desktop program. With DataVault you can actually import these items from a web page.  You get a right click option to "Save to DataVault" when you hover over a password field on the web.   This makes sure you get the data into DataVault in a manner that you can successfully launch it the next time.  If you are not using the auto-fill, one of the best features of the desktops is the button next to each field to copy it to the clipboard.  This saves the drag to highlight and keystrokes to save.  I love this feature.  

Each of the programs has an organization method to the data that relies on categories (business or personal), types or templates (credit cards, airline info, etc) and items containing fields (detailed data regarding an item).  DataVault offers 20 custom fields in addition to the Item Name and Notes field, but in reality I have never even used 10 fields myself.   You may need them for your line of work.   DataVault calls data fields - categories, types and items.  Think of an item as an individual record with fields.  DataVault also has reusable templates for the types so you don't have to reenter field names and you can have multiple templates per type.  DataVault comes with 20 pre-defined templates, and it’s a breeze to add more as you like.  These are easy to create and modify. This allows a little more flexibility in that for each type in a category you can have different templates.

DataVault offers two desktop view choices, the similar tree view but also the list view on the bottom. Note I have use Quick Search to filter the items, and DataVault uses the "search on string" method, so any data containing the word "black" was identified. I think this would be cleaner if the types without a match are not shown in the tree view. Filtering has been added to the Tree View. If you look at the List View below and see how items that don't match are not shown, well the same should happen in the Tree View on the desktop in my opinion. 

 

The List View below is filtered also and I have hidden all of the fields except the first field to protect my data, but you can show a few fields in the List View.  Note that I have resized the screen shots below and you can drag to adjust column width and sizes.

  
 

Handheld View

In these programs, you access your data with a master password.  You have the option of having it masked or not, and you have a selectable security timeout.  The view on the BB is very flexible  offering a Tree View and List View.  With DataVault you have a number of customizable options here.  You can choose the search method.  For example if you choose "On String,"  searching on "License" brings up "Driver License". You can also choose "searches on 1st character" so the only way to find "Driver License" is to type "Dri..."  Searching on 1st character is easier and less CPU intensive, so DataVault gives you an option.   DataVault also gives you an option of called View Item, and what that does is if you enter letters when you hit an exact match the program either "automatically" shows the item and all the field detail, or "manually" where you have to hit enter to see the detail.  I love the "automatically" method as I most often use this when I need a piece of data like my Delta number.  I use this method because it's fast and effective.  I usually know what information I need. DataVault offers some nice BB personalization options like Default View (Tree, List, Last) and Exit Alert (Show, Don't Show).

DataVault has a unique BB feature that allows you to have a master password reset and wipe all the data if you forget both your password and the hint.   


DataVault Blackberry Device  Views



    











Sp
lash Screen (can disable)

Tree View Search

List View Search
 

View Item Screen 


Options (note the last 2)   

 

Icons
 
 Menu Options  


Importing and Exporting

Ascendo allow importing into the desktop from other programs or data files.  Quite frankly be prepared for issues if you have a lot of data to import where you have custom fields etc.  I have 235 items and the templates vary quite a bit.  The process of importing can be time consuming but once it's done, it is easy to maintain good data.  You should also be aware that if you export to a .csv or .xls file, this will export your data unencrypted into a plain text file to your hard disk. Have a file shredder handy to destroy that file.  I use one from Analog X.   

 Multiple PC's


The ability to install the desktop program on other PC's and copy over the data file is a tremendous benefit for me.  For example, I synch on my office laptop, but keep copies of the data files on my home PC's for easy access. You can put the Desktop Manager on all your PC's and use it to synch these programs only if you want too.  DataVault will also run on two PC's.


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