A common way to store FTP access information is in your FTP client. After all, that is where you use it, so that’s where it should be. But what happens if the FTP application crashes or your configuration file becomes corrupt? Is an FTP program secure enough to be your sole place for storing client logins?
Before making the permanent switch to a Mac last year, I had three PC crashes in a period of 18 months. I know all about data failure and did just about everything Craig Buckler listed in his “8 Tips for Surviving PC Failure” post. It worked; I saved almost all of my data. But even with dual backups and exporting my FTP configuration files to my backup data (which was a manual process with the FTP client I was using at the time), I wasn’t able to recreate all of my logins automatically. Either a password had changed or a new site was added to the mix since the last time the data was backed up, and I was left digging through thousands of e-mails trying to find the information I needed.
I’ve also stored passwords and logins in my address book as notes for each client. But that wasn’t foolproof either; some of the notes were lost when data was backed up, and more were lost when I moved to a new contact management system.
Some of the other options I’ve used or considered include:
- Password management utility, like KeePass
- Web-based FTP program that saves your data online, like AnyClient
- Excel spreadsheet
- Online (or even paper) notebook
Currently, I store all of my client data — including FTP logins — in a web-based project management system (Intervals), which is secure and accessible by my subcontractors, clients and anyone else who needs to access the data. Having it in one central place also eliminates the problem of dealing with outdated passwords, provided everyone uses the data in the system.
But I pay a steep monthly fee for the project management service that has an SSL, and it’s probably much more robust than what’s needed for this type of issue by itself. Luckily, I need many of the extra features the service offers to run my business efficiently, but it’s probably not an option for everyone who needs to store a limited amount of information, like FTP logins.
Is there a best way to store this information? How do you manage FTP logins for multiple clients so they’re easy to access and secure?