The latest iOS update is forcing me to upgrade from version 4. The process seems incredibly frustrating and the information on this site thin, to say the least.
I have two simple questions:
1. Can I use mSecure without storing *any* of my data on *any* cloud whatsoever?
2. Once installed, can mSecure be used without *any* kind of Internet connection?
I'll try and answer this and Mike from mSecure can correct me.
The answer to both questions is yes.
You can avoid using any cloud but if you have multiple devices that you want to keep synchronized then you will need to have a Windows or Mac computer that acts as the master and use your home wifi to sync changes between devices. You will also need to turn off mSecure backup on your iPhone or your data will end up on Apple's servers.
If you don't use any cloud for backup make sure you are backing up your passwords somewhere.
If you don't have an internet connection you can still use mSecure - you can't get updates and you can't use the cloud for synchronization of changes or backups - but mSecure will still work.
Thank you for contacting us, and thanks again Andy for jumping in to help! Everything Andy said is correct, but there is one other thing that needs to be mentioned. mSecure does need an internet connection to get some things set up on your account, even for Wi-Fi syncing to work. However, after the settings are in place and a license is applied to your account, you should no problems using it completely offline. Should the IP Address on your Main computer change - the desktop computer used to store and sync your information between all other devices - then mSecure would need to connect with your account in order to resolve the IP Address for the other devices. It's set up this way to enable auto-syncing via Wi-Fi, and at this time, it cannot be turned off.
One other thing, I would like to get more information as to what you mean when you say the process for migrating from mSecure 4 is incredibly thin. There are articles on our support site that go over the process in great depth, so I'm wondering if you were able to find them, or, if you did find them, were they confusing to you in some way?
@ Andy, thanks for replying.
@Mike, thanks for the information. I understand that Internet is required for setup. However, I don't understand this:
"Should the IP Address on your Main computer change ... mSecure would need to connect with your account".
First, if the IP is dynamic, then it's practically guaranteed it will change sooner or later. Doesn't this mean that, in practice, mSecure needs Internet access to function?
Second, I apologize if I misunderstand you, but it seems to me you are saying that, after the initial setup, mSecure 5 is either tied to the Internet, or tied to a computer on my home LAN. So what happens if I leave my home and do not have an Internet connection?
As to the articles about migration, here's an example. To use mSecure 5 I have to create an mSecure account. I cannot find any article that tells me exactly what personal information is required to create the account, how this information is secured, and what will happen to it in the future.
@Ras You are correct in that a dynamically changing IP Address can cause problems, so, unfortunately, at the current time, you would need to have your computer connected to the internet in order for Wi-Fi syncing to be 100% consistent. Since we only have a handful of customers ask about this, we assume that not having access to syncing for short periods of time is not a big deal. As soon as both devices are connected to the internet, syncing will work again. To be clear, the only thing that is being updated is the IP data stored on what is known as a "User" object. This object does not contain your sensitive information on it, but it's necessary for certain things like licensing, sync preferences and account-wide settings. When using Wi-Fi syncing, the data you enter into mSecure is never stored in any cloud system.
The only personal information needed when you set up an account is your email address. This is the unique identifier for your account in our system, and it's needed for us to remain in communication with you. The email address in and of itself cannot be used to gain access to your information, of course, because none of your information is stored on our server.
Mike - could you explain further and will this be fixed for version 6? And what do you mean by "100% consistent" - are you saying that wifi synching is unreliable if the main computer isn't connected to the Internet? There doesn't seem any technical reason why the change of an external IP address should affect synching of data over an internal network (where the internal IP addresses don't change)
@Andy There isn't anything wrong with the way the sync feature works, so there is no fixing it moving forward. It's working exactly as intended. The IP Address for all the apps that will connect with the Main Computer, or server, is stored on the user's account object in our system. That way, when the apps are opened, they can download that IP Address with the ability to connect to the Main Computer automatically. This is how automatic syncing is possible with the Wi-Fi sync feature. We have no plans of changing this functionality.
The reason it might not be 100% consistent is that if you take your devices to a location where the IP Address is different, and you don't allow the main computer to update the IP Address on the user account, then the Wi-Fi sync feature won't work. This is not a likely occurrence at all, and in fact, I don't think we have run into this problem since mSecure 5 was released, because typically, everyone hooks up to the internet when they are on a new Wi-Fi network. In the case of connecting to the internet on a different network, the IP Address is simply updated on the account object, and everything works fine. It's only in a very, very narrow use-case that the IP Address will not be updated correctly, and in that case, syncing won't work until you are online again where it can get resolved properly.
Mike - are you saying that, with wi-fi syncing selected, storing and retrieving the main computer's IP address is the only reason mSecure connects to your system?
Mike - I'm still a little confused about the wi-fi synching - there are two different IP addresses being discussed in this thread:
- the dynamic IP address mentioned by Ras - this is an external IP address that identifies your router externally over the Internet
- the internal IP address on your home network that identifies the computer holding the master version of the password database
Which IP address change requires a connection to the mSecure servers?
@Jay It's not the only reason. The other reason for online connectivity will always be for licensing purposes. If you are just asking in the context of Wi-Fi syncing, then the answer is yes. The only reason the Wi-Fi sync feature needs online access to set and retrieve the main computer's IP Address.
@Andy The internal IP Address for your network. I can't imagine a case where we would ever store something that exposed your internet location publicly, but if by some strange change that were to happen, we would clarify what the purpose was in the app, and we would have to get your permission to do it.
Thanks for your reply. But I still do not have an answer to my question: "So what happens if I leave my home and do not have an Internet connection?"
This is not an idle question. I've done business in China, and I've been in a situation where the data I needed was stored on a server in a third country; there was a diplomatic tiff between China and the third country; and the next day I could not access servers located there in any way, including VPN. I've also been in remote locations where I had no Internet access for days or weeks. Aside from the security of the data stored in the cloud (any cloud), if mSecure requires access to the User Object on your servers to work, then it's clearly not suitable for my needs.
@Ras Sorry for any confusion, as I thought I did address your question. With Wi-Fi syncing, your data is never stored on any servers. It is only stored locally on your devices and synced via your local Wi-Fi network. The only thing that could be affected is the ability for the data to be synced between devices. The data stored on the devices though, is always available. So, for example, if you have data on your phone and laptop that is syncing over your home network and the main computer has a certain IP Address, if you then took those devices oversees and couldn't be online to get the IP Address updated, the only thing that would happen is that you wouldn't be able to sync data between your phone and laptop mSecure apps. This is because the IP Address of the main computer stored in your account would no longer match the actual IP Address the laptop has on that new network. However, the data you have in mSecure on each device would still be available.
Mike - I agree that you've laid wi-fi syncing to rest. But you said that the apps also connect to your server for license enforcement. When and how often do they do this? What happens if your server is not reachable? My concern is for a more extreme case than the one described by Ras. What happens if mSeven goes out of business so the server no longer exists? I've been badly burned by this in the past with a different software product.
@Jay You are able to view your information even when mSecure is offline, it wouldn't be a problem if it couldn't reach our server. Even if you are using mSecure Cloud syncing, the data you see in mSecure is actually stored on your device. So when you open the app, it's not downloading all of that information from the server. It has a full representation of the data locally, then when a sync needs to take place, only small pieces of data are transferred, which keeps bandwidth usage down. And, in the event of offline usage, you can still view all of the data that's stored locally on the device.
Mike, I understand that the data is stored on the local device. I understand what you say about syncing. What I don't understand is your statement (and its implications): "It's not the only reason. The other reason for online connectivity will always be for licensing purposes."