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Superior experience drives high password manager adoption among employees

Mid-Sized credit union increases Bitwarden adoption rate by more than 15 percent over the competitor

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Mid-Sized credit union increases Bitwarden adoption rate by more than 15 percent over the competitor 


Founded: 1935

Industry: Credit Union

Employees: 600

Size of IT team: 3

Locations: Michigan

Bitwarden seats: 750

This mid-sized Michigan-based credit union provides innovative financial solutions through its almost 30 branch locations. Headquartered in Michigan and with additional locations in Illinois and Wisconsin, the organization initially lacked a centralized password management solution and consequently dealt with employees insecurely storing passwords through browsers or on Excel spreadsheets. The organization deployed a password management product but grew dissatisfied with its functionality and subpar customer service. The business sought out a solution that would allow it to self-host and offered strong customer support, intuitive functionality, and a stellar reputation.

Situation: Challenges with previous solution and need for self-hosting

“Before I started with the credit union, employees were using browser password managers or worse, Excel spreadsheets,” said a company information security specialist. “In 2019 we made the decision to onboard LastPass. Unfortunately, the way users were provisioned within the product was very frustrating. We also had multiple support requests get assigned to people that didn’t seem to understand what I was requesting. Ultimately, they wouldn’t address our challenges and close the tickets. Our issues with this product drove us to start looking for a new vendor and just as we did, LastPass disclosed it had experienced a breach.”

The breach, coupled with outages, led the credit union to start searching for a new product that they could self host   and not be impacted by cloud outages or online infrastructure deficiencies. The company researched new solutions but discounted some of them for a variety of reasons: they were too technical, didn’t offer a self-hosting option, and didn’t offer enough control over the password vault. 

Solution: Bitwarden offers a seamless all-around experience

“We did a lot of research after the breach and came across a number of glowing Reddit reviews of Bitwarden, a solution that offered the self-hosting option we required,” said the information security specialist. 

“We also experienced a lot of frustration with our previous solution’s onboarding process. New hires often wouldn’t get onboarded in a timely manner and we were heartened to receive feedback that the Bitwarden onboarding process was much smoother. When we were looking into Bitwarden we came across Bitwarden Send and Bitwarden Directory Connector. These features transferred the responsibility of account creation and onboarding from IT to the employee. Given the size of our IT department and complexities we have with new hire onboarding, we needed something stronger. With Bitwarden it has been more or less seamless.”

Bitwarden self-hosting is available to individual users who want more control over their data and business organizations with policies that require data be kept on-premise. Relying on self-hosting removes dependency on the cloud-hosted servers.. 

The credit union also greatly values Bitwarden encryption capabilities. Specifically, the information security specialist called out the encryption of secure notes and Bitwarden efforts to continue supporting the strongest encryption standards possible. He also touted Bitwarden biometric capabilities. Said the information security specialist, “We’re rolling out Windows Hello within our organization. Being able to unlock your extension with biometrics is really helpful.”

Another benefit cited includes the “uncomfortably easy” nature of the Bitwarden deployment process. The information security specialist is appreciative of the robust customer service support offered by Bitwarden, noting he typically receives a response within a day and often within a few hours. Said the information security specialist, “It used to take us an hour or two of trying to get everyone trained into LastPass. One or two members of the IT team would get involved in that training session and have to help, which clearly diverted resources. Now, we’re not doing that at all. We’re saving hours of employee time and hours of IT time.”

The ease of deployment and onboarding has resulted in almost 70% of the credit union employees being enrolled within the Bitwarden organization, an adoption number that well-exceeds that of LastPass by 15 percent.” 

Bitwarden Send feature saves time, reduces friction

“We are huge fans of the Bitwarden Send feature,” said the information security specialist. “For internal password resets, it's so handy. If we need to do an account recovery for the Bitwarden Vault, Bitwarden Send makes it so easy. We have so many layers of protection now that we didn’t have with LastPass. Plus, it provides a secure mechanism for doing password resets for other internal systems. For example, if an admin account password expires we can get that reset and send it over. For IT purposes, this feature is really helpful.” 

Bitwarden Send enables users to quickly and securely transmit information to other individuals. Users can share text and files within the Bitwarden Vault from any browser, mobile device, and desktop application. Users may also enable auto-delete to ensure information is deleted after a set period of time. 

Bitwarden Collections offer structured, methodical, intentional solution

“We love Bitwarden Collections,” said the information security specialist. “There can be one account shared across three different teams for the same purpose. If one employee on one team updates a password, you don’t have to worry about the other ones not being updated. They’re all updated the same way. This is really helpful when you have multiple teams assigned multiple tasks who may need to access the same systems and need the same set of passwords."

The information security specialist said that prior to Bitwarden, the credit union had a large number of shared folders that didn’t need to exist because they were duplicating information. Following Bitwarden deployment, the IT team opted to instead associate passwords with locations (branches) and job responsibilities. Utilizing active directory, Entra ID, and the Bitwarden Directory Connector, the credit union gave each branch access to its branch collection. The IT team also created departmental collections (for example, IT) and more limited collections based on titles (for example, IT Support or IT Infrastructure). This allows the information security specialist to limit access based on responsibilities but if necessary, also share passwords with the larger departmental group.

Said the information security specialist, “It’s very structured and methodical and intentional now, whereas before it was just the wild west of folders.”

Far superior password manager has increased overall satisfaction

“There’s just a lot about Bitwarden that we’re realizing is way better than LastPass. We’ve also heard quite a bit of feedback from our employees saying how much better Bitwarden is overall,” said the information security specialist. 

“I’ve switched to Bitwarden in my personal life and recommend it to my family. I’m a big fan. Bitwarden is just seamless. I hop across a lot of browsers and being able to have one source of truth of where my data lives, being able to get passwords on my phone - it’s honestly great."

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