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Major utilities firm benefits from comprehensive Bitwarden security solution

Learn how North American Energy Systems made seamless transition to the Bitwarden Password Manager.

Founded: 1980

Industry: Utilities

Employees: Over 4,000

Location: Issaquah, Washington

North American Energy Systems (NAES) is an independent services provider enabling energy facilities worldwide to optimize their performance. NAES has over 4,000 employees responsible for managing more than 50,000 megawatts (MW) of power generation. The company offers services in operations, maintenance, fabrication, grid management, regulatory compliance, and technical support. Headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, NAES has nine offices throughout the United States.

Table of Contents

Situation

Solution: Zero knowledge architecture and a commitment to end-to-end encryption

The role of open source in inspiring excellence

Situation

Over time, NAES has continued to add new firms to the NAES Family of Companies in order to expand its capabilities and industry experience, with the goal of offering a portfolio of services covering the entire life cycle of power-generating plants and other industrial facilities. NAES subsidiaries consist of both US-based and global businesses. 

The distributed nature of NAES, coupled with the sheer amount of data the company holds, necessitated deployment of an enterprise-wide password manager. Said Jimmy Chong, Cyber Security Engineer at NAES, “In the past, we were using LastPass. But, a breach against the company dented our confidence in the company and generated concerns about whether or not LastPass was reliable. So, we decided to look for another password management solution.”

NAES sought out a cloud-based password vault that offered straightforward browser integration. The company was also intent on finding a solution that provided solid customer support, data breach reporting, family plans for employees who also wanted to use their password managers for personal activity, and strong integration with Microsoft Azure and SSO support. Said Chong, “We use Microsoft MFA as part of our multi-factor authentication solution. It was critically important the password manager option we settled on would support this.”

Solution: Zero knowledge architecture and a commitment to end-to-end encryption

NAES chose Bitwarden because it met all of the company’s criteria, and then some. 

Said Chong, “The Bitwarden zero knowledge architecture was very important to us, as was the AES 256 encryption and the fact that the product is protected by end-to-end encryption. We liked the third party auditing, because it validates that the Bitwarden security posture is sound. We were also quite pleased with the cost.

Since deploying Bitwarden, we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback.”

Chong described the transition from LastPass to Bitwarden as “seamless,” noting the company is thrilled with the solution.

The role of open source in inspiring excellence

NAES considers the open source nature of Bitwarden a huge draw. Where closed systems might run into code-related vulnerabilities that take longer to patch, open source software enables dedicated community members to immediately suggest patches. The freedom and flexibility inherent in open source means there are typically multiple eyes on source code, a benefit that Chong believes inspires excellence in software development. 

Said Chong, “We’re a utilities company, so obviously security is a huge concern for us. Having a number of eyes on the code gives us peace of mind. Overall, we find the open source community innovative and passionate. Sometimes, the fixes they offer are simple. Other times, they’re a bit more complex. Either way, we greatly value their commitment.”

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