Review: Ascendo DataVault

datavaultsplash176.jpgReview: Ascendo DataVault
Rating:
Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆ 8.5/10
Link: www.ascendo-inc.com
OTA: tinyurl.com/33r7pl
Version: 4.36
Trial Version: Yes
Cost: $32.95 (inc Download protection)

For anyone who needs to carry sensitive information with them on a ‘Day to Day’ basis then Ascendo DataVault is one of those programs that will let you relax a little knowing that if your beloved is kidnapped or lost, all of your valuable codes, passwords, emails etc will be protected by what is basically the electronic equivalent of ‘Fort Knox’.

With todays electronic wizardry growing at a pace, well, not even I can keep up with, then as you know, you are asked to set up an electronic account for everything. With each of these accounts comes; an account name, username and password. At the end of the day, most people end up with a heap of different accounts, names, passwords etc and, unless you are really lazy like me and set your usernames and passwords the same for everything (Yeah, I know, I will soon learn a lesson that I really don’t want to be taught).

The answer; Put all of your sensitive information into one electronic vault, lock it all up, and it’s there for you to access anytime…. For those of you who regard electronic security paramount then read on after the JUMP…

 

Ascendo DataVault - Password Manager for BlackBerry, requires BlackBerry OS 4.0 and above and 300k of free disk space. Ascendo DataVault Desktop requires Windows PC with 2M of free disk space.
Supported BlackBerry Handsets (partial list):

BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry 8300, BlackBerry 83xx, BlackBerry 8800, BlackBerry 8830, BlackBerry 88xx, BlackBerry Pearl, BlackBerry 8100, BlackBerry 8130, BlackBerry 81xx, BlackBerry 8700, BlackBerry 8700c, BlackBerry 8700f, BlackBerry 8700g, BlackBerry 8700r, BlackBerry 8700v, BlackBerry 8703, BlackBerry 8703e, BlackBerry 8707v, BlackBerry 87xx, BlackBerry 7780, BlackBerry 7750, BlackBerry 7730, BlackBerry 77xx, BlackBerry 7520, BlackBerry 75xx, BlackBerry 7290, BlackBerry 7280, BlackBerry 7270, BlackBerry 7250, BlackBerry 7230, BlackBerry 7210, BlackBerry 72xx, BlackBerry 7130, BlackBerry 7130v, BlackBerry 7130g, BlackBerry 7130e, BlackBerry 7130c, BlackBerry 7105t, BlackBerry 7100, BlackBerry 7100x, BlackBerry 7100v, BlackBerry 7100t, BlackBerry 7100r, BlackBerry 7100i, BlackBerry 7100g, BlackBerry 71xx. Other compatible models may not be listed.

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Customization:

First up, the setup for some users can be a sticking point with some programs. Ascendo DataVault allows you to change just about all the style settings you could possible wish to change. They include (main options):

  • Font Family
  • Font Size
  • Security Time-out
  • Skin Style
  • Default View
  • Exit Alert
  • Etc….

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Some of the features on Ascendo DataVault are (but not limited to):

  • Display information as Tree View or List View (Readers of my previous articles will know how much I Looove tree view !)(But at least this gives you a choice)
  • Expand & Collapse Tree levels individually or all at once
  • Store Items using 10 fields and a free form Notes up to 10,000 characters in length
  • Enter fields up to 256 characters in length to record lengthy information such as internet addresses
  • “Roll & Scroll” TM. Scroll Items horizontally. Scroll fields vertically.
  • Display an item in View mode to maximize the number of fields per screen or Edit View to maximize the space available for each field
  • Find Items quickly using First Letter, Find String or Extended Search methods.
  • Define an unlimited number of Categories such as Personal, Business, etc. to organize your entries.
  • Encrypt & Decrypt emails using DataVault with BlackBerry email client.
  • Define an unlimited number of Types such as Credit Cards, Bank Accounts, Logins, Memberships, Prescriptions, Vehicle, Health information, etc.
  • Import and Encrypt BlackBerry Notes.
  • Display icons with Item and Template names, 100 icons to choose from.
  • Send an item to another DataVault user by email in DataVault Exchange (*.dvx) Format.

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Protection and encryption:

  • Protect your data with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), the official standard used within the U.S. Government.
  • The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) will be a new Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication that will specify a cryptographic algorithm for use by U.S. Government organizations to protect sensitive (unclassified) information. NIST also anticipates that the AES will be widely used on a voluntary basis by organizations, institutions, and individuals outside of the U.S. Government – and outside of the United States – in some cases.
  • The AES will specify three key sizes: 128, 192 and 256 bits. In decimal terms, this means that there are approximately:
    3.4 x 1038 possible 128-bit keys;
    6.2 x 1057 possible 192-bit keys; and
    1.1 x 1077 possible 256-bit keys.
    In comparison, DES keys are 56 bits long, which means there are approximately
    7.2 x 1016 possible DES keys. Thus, there are on the order of 1021 times more AES 128-bit keys than DES 56-bit keys.
  • In the late 1990s, specialized “DES Cracker” machines were built that could recover a DES key after a few hours. In other words, by trying possible key values, the hardware could determine which key was used to encrypt a message.Assuming that one could build a machine that could recover a DES key in a second (i.e., try 255 keys per second), then it would take that machine approximately 149 thousand-billion (149 trillion) years to crack a 128-bit AES key. To put that into perspective, the universe is believed to be less than 20 billion years old.

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Day to Day Usage:

Ok. Now that takes care of most of the formalities (most of the above information has been sourced from the official web page). What’s it like to use on a day to day basis?

In one word…Easy. The features included in Ascendo cover everything you could ever wish for and if you take a bit of time in your initial set-up then all of your passwords can be quick and easy to access.

One feature I do like is the ability to encrypt your emails to other users of DataVault. They will require the same password in which you encrypted with so if you are using this feature for work it can be quite handy. (Kind of like the ‘Secret Squirrel’ stuff from when I was young)

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Conclusion:

If someone wants to spend 149 Trillion Years cracking into the DataVault on my BlackBerry Curve then they are more than welcome to the $2.90 I have in my bank account and after all they have earned it.

On the other side though, I can rest a little better at night thinking that if I lose my BlackBerry then I wont have to worry about all of my personal information being accessed. (In my other job; I work with access control systems and make a habit on any new install I do, to note down the access codes and address of that particular premises. This can equate to about 300 to 400 systems per year. If this type of information is breached then undesirables would have access codes and addresses for well over 1000 commercial premises. So as you can imagine, encryption is quite important). I’m sure that there are people out there with needs for security that well surpass mine.

As you can imagine, I get a great deal of programs to try out in this job. Blackberry’s are limited to the amount of programs which they can hold so usually at the end of the review, I usually ‘Delete’ the program to make way for the next. This one however, shall remain as I find its ease of use and features a real treat to use…So I guess I will have to say goodbye to a favorite but not so used App…BrickBreaker…

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