Customer Spotlight: Robert Lowry, VTS

It’s not everyday that we meet somebody as passionate and excitable about online security as us at TeamPassword. In May, we met our match. Robert Lowry is the Director of Information Security at VTS, a New York based startup that prides itself as the #1 platform for leasing and asset management. He admitted to us that VTS has been a longtime user of TeamPassword, and predates even when he started, back in August of 2015.

Lowry has always worked in the world of cyber security. After college, he began stints at the Department of Defense and the Federal Reserve.  Lowry followed a friend and fellow colleague over to NASDAQ at a time when application security was really taking off.  He took the opportunity to work with VTS as his interests in SAAS grew. He knew he wanted to work for a startup, but played his hand carefully. “I knew I didn’t want to go to any old startup,” Lowry admits, “B2B is my expertise and VTS fit like a glove.”

As Lowry closes the chapter on year one at VTS, he finds himself enjoying the many hats that an employee of startup would find himself or herself wearing. His daily workflow involves all of teams in the company. He is a stakeholder on the Platform Team, managing all sides while working together with team members to ensure that the platform itself if following the right procedures. This includes monthly dynamic scans and code scans on the platform side and giving people the right level of account access and making sure applications and services are integrated properly on the organizational side.

Lowry even has a hand in the sales side of the company. When a customer has a question about the company’s security, he will put together a lengthy document going over how VTS’ procedures work. He’ll send his report over to the customer, and should they have any follow up questions, he’s happy to jump on the phone. Every once in awhile, he will include himself in the Sales Team’s demos, just so a potential customer can really understand how much VTS values security.

When asked what he enjoys most about his job, Lowry responded with excitement, professing that he loves being able to come up with creative solutions to everyday security issues.

It goes without saying that somebody who has spent the entirety of their career in cyber security needs a reliable service to securely store and share passwords. Lowry describes TeamPassword as, “a secure way to share your passwords with teammates or other people in your organization, in a world where you can’t really.” He recognizes the hard truth that many companies, when it comes to passwords, will traditionally just write them down or add them to an insecure spreadsheet, even when they are told not to.

The everyday problem of sharing even just small snippets of information comes to Lowry’s mind when he thinks of TeamPassword as a solution. He recalls situations in the past when a coworker has needed to share something so small, it’s not even a file – like a password or even one sentence filled with valuable information. What they could do is attach a text file and add an encryption, but Lowry recognizes that this process involves too much overhead, and honestly, is too cumbersome for most people to do or set up.  Having something specifically made to share and store small bytes of information has proven very valuable for him.

Lowry uses TeamPassword every day. He recalls how it comes in handy at times when teammates are on the road and they need access to credit card information from Finance, or when a new hire needs the wifi password. Everybody in the company has access to certain accounts, such as the product blog, so having a way to share those particular passwords is a lot easier than creating some “easy to remember” password, and rotating it out every so often. “Pretty much anything sensitive, we’ve come to rely on TeamPassword as a place to store it.”

When asked what he would do to improve TeamPassword, there was one thing Robert Lowry felt very strongly about – integrating Saml. “Saml integration would be big for us,” he shares,  “Coming from NASDAQ, anytime we were integrating with a third party, using Saml was one of my requirements for our vendors.” Alongside Saml, Lowry also feels strongly about enforcing 2-factor authentication.

Lowry expressed enthusiasm for what’s ahead for TeamPassword, prying into when certain features will be made available to him. His passion for cyber security really shines through when he speaks on what he likes about TeamPassword and where he thinks the service could strengthen. “The whole model, as a security person, is really the right way to do things,” he says.

Big news: Get the new Safari Extension

Let me know if this describes you: TeamPassword is the most cherished product in your personal life, but you’re conflicted because Safari is your favorite browser. You spend a few hours every day struggling between the two loves of your life, causing great anxiety in your life. Your coworkers are frustrated that most of your work hours are spent deciding between TeamPassword and Safari, and your close friends are sick of hearing about how much you love TeamPassword.

What if I told you that you no longer need to choose between the two?

Now announcing TeamPassword for Safari! Fill in login forms with your shared logins from TeamPassword, update logins, or create new shared logins all right from your browser.

Here’s how it works, when you browse to a service where the login information is shared in TeamPassword, simply click the TeamPassword extension and all shared logins for that page will be show at the top of the list. Click the name of the login you’d like to use and we’ll fill that login form in for you!

Multiple logins per site? No worries—we’ll show you everything we got and you pick the best fit.

Want to come to TeamPassword first? We can do that too! Open the TeamPassword Safari extension, click any account, and we’ll browse to that URL and then fill in the form for you.

Even in the extension you still have all the TeamPassword login tools available, you can sort by group and search by keyword, or both! We’re confident using this extension is the missing ingredient to take all of the amazing collaboration you’re doing in TeamPassword and giving yourself a huge productivity level up.

When you’re ready to take the plunge: Install the TeamPassword Safari Extension here.

If there’s anything we can do to make this extension even better, please let us know! We’re super excited to get our Safari extension out into the world, we hope you love it as much as we do.

Now Released: Firefox 2.0 Extension

Are you ready to party, Firefox users? We’ve recently released the 2.0 version of our Firefox extension, with a number of perks which will make your password management experience even better. Let’s jump right in!

First off, let’s talk about Addon Signing my Mozilla. Where this was previously an optional step, newer versions of Firefox require add ons to be signed, otherwise your browser will show a scary warning message (and eventually, they’ll be disallowed altogether.) Nobody likes scary warning signs. From 2.0 on, our add on will always be signed by Mozilla for additional peace of mind.

Here’s something cool: Self Updating! It has always been our intention to get TeamPassword into the Firefox Addon Store. However, we have learned that we are not eligible. Insert sad face here. We were planning on using that marketplace as our update distribution network, but, since is not a viable possibility for us, we decided to build it in ourselves! This means you’ll no longer need to download new version of the add on when updates are available. Insert happy face here.

Speaking of happy faces, have you seen our brand new look? Go take a look, we’ll wait.

Okay great, now that you’ve seen it, we’re happy to announce that this look is also a part of the Firefox addon!

Now, are you ready for a little behind the scenes action? We’ve made a number of backend improvements to make form filling work more dependable while improve performance. It may not always be in your face, but it will always in your heart.

So if you’re still operating under the the old version of our Firefox extension, go ahead and  update already! We’ll make it easy for you. Click here  to get started.

Customer Spotlight – Marco Sylvestre, Venzee

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Marco & Venzee

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Marco Sylvestre, the Chief Technical Officer of Venzee. With their #NoMoreSpreadsheets campaign, Venzee is dedicated to replacing the current practise of manufacturers using spreadsheets to share product information with retailers. With 90% of manufacturers around the world doing exactly that, it’s the #1 problem for the trillion dollar e-commerce industry.

Marco started his career in tech as a software developer in 2000. He started his first company while still in highschool, inspired by his after-school restaurant job. He noticed they were using an outdated computer, which led him into selling computer parts on the side. Marco’s business saw him experience first hand, suppliers using spreadsheets to send him product information and inventory updates. Marco went on to become a certified scrum master, something that has proven invaluable as a CTO managing a distributed developer and QA team.

Similarly, Kate the now CEO of Venzee had built and sold two e-commerce startups and like Marco, had experienced the pain of turning spreadsheets into updates compatible with the solutions her company was using. Together with Xin, a big data and connectivity specialist (and Venzee’s Chief Architect), they founded and built Venzee.

Unusual to many other startup stories, Venzee has three cofounders, where many typically have just two. “I feel like we filled a gap by being the three of us,” Marco recounts. As the self-described “third guy,” Marco describes himself as the calming influence and the glue.

The Venzee team are distributed, a practice made popular by companies like Buffer, Zappo’s and Invision and have team members in 12 countries and 14 time zones. Not to mention customers in more than 30 countries.

The Daily Flow

Marco’s daily routine is a reflection of his duties as CTO: all over the place. His main task is to be the link between the business and the product. Setting up systems for support and development, he oversees a lot of the processes throughout the company. He makes sure the rules that have been set in place for the engineers and dev team are being followed to best practice. Also, in keeping up with the technical side of things, Marco uses his past experience as a QA manager to test with the team.

However, he wears many hats. One role Marco plays that he has come to thoroughly enjoy is that of support. He loves to learn about all of the different customers of Venzee while helping to solve their issues and figuring out how they use the product. “I really like doing support,” he admits with a laugh. He finds himself bored of concentrating on one area of Venzee and relishes in the diversity of moving from one task to another.

Marco, along with Kate and Xin, all have their hands in the Human Resources process, and share various other administrative responsibilities.

Marco on TeamPassword

When we asked Marco how he would describe TeamPassword, he responded, without hesitation, “As I use it in my team, my Bible.” Though flattered, we were astounded by his enthusiasm. “TeamPassword is the word I repeat most during my day,” he tells us as he plays out a scenario of the team asking him questions, and he responds with one word, “TeamPassword!”

The Google Extension is his right hand. As an everyday tool for him, he is able to feel secure about managing security as well as generating new passwords all the time. As he also manages his personal passwords within TeamPassword, Marco likes the having the segregation between personal and business within the same account.

Marco found TeamPassword on a quest to find a solution to easy and effective password management and security. He was familiar with LastPass and liked their product but was not a fan of the hefty price tag that came along. He continued his search, but was finding himself disappointed with the options of tools he encountered. He knew one thing for sure, he did not want to use an Excel spreadsheet. This dislike of spreadsheets is a bit of a theme with Marco and Venzee.

After a few more searches, he found TeamPassword and met his match! It didn’t take him long before he fell in love with the use of groups within the product. To be able to be granular and specific with who has access to what is a very alluring feature for him.

We asked Marco what problem he would solve just by uttering TeamPassword as the solution, he recalled, “If you have more than 5 passwords and 2 people on your team.”

Marco’s TeamPassword Wishlist

Marco’s wish list includes more focus around 2-step authentication, especially in making sure it’s an fast and smooth signup process.

He would also like more liberty in choosing who has admin access to groups. He would like to add accounts to groups rather than the other way around, a process that we here at TeamPassword definitely have on our radar.

Marco’s last suggestion for us is considering who has access in changing passwords within the accounts. He doesn’t want everyone to be able to do that, just the admins.

Talking to Marco with his extremely positive attitude and infectious passion for tech was truly a joy for us, and we’re excited to see the amazing things Venzee has in store for the future.

Revealing Our New Brand

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You may have observed a few changes here and there over at TeamPassword. If you have, good! That means our work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The team has spent the past few months creating a brand identity that we feel aligns with both our own identity and how we view our relationship with you, our customers.

Don’t get us wrong, our previous look was nice and definitely served its purpose, but if we’re being real, it was kind of thrown together once the business started to take off. We needed a look and we needed it fast, so our team created a logo, a message, and a brand. We wanted to show our customers who we were, while conveying simplicity and collaboration: the value we bring to you.

Why the change?

It took us a few years to really get to know our customers. How did they perceive us? Once we started figuring out who we were working with, we were better able steer more into the direction of our true identity.

We know we have a lot to offer. Who we are and what we do is directly reflected off of the easy and convenience we allow our clients to feel when working on projects, or developing their own products. In our eyes, that just wasn’t coming through with the old brand, which, as much as we liked it, felt like a placeholder from the beginning. We wanted to come across as a company with whom people wanted to associate. Would so-and-so from X company want to wear our shirt around town? Would anyone put our stickers on their laptops? These were the hard-hitting scientific questions we asked ourselves in the re-brand process.

So? How’d it go?

Let’s just say that we owe a lot of the magical re-branding credit to Ocupop. Ocupop is a kickass creative agency that specializes in branding. They had a good understanding of our needs as well as the insight and knowledge we needed to get productive feedback. Our team vibed with their team from the very beginning and all throughout the process.

We were faced with our fair share of challenges, of course. One in particular was seeing progress objectively. When you’re so ingrained in a product, it can be difficult to let go of certain aspects even if they’re not working. Luckily, so many of us were busy in the grind of other things, we were able to look at changes and updates with fresher eyes. This was, however, a very opinionated project. We didn’t put this to a vote or solve the problem by committee. Instead, we relied on our entrepreneurial experience, our research, and (most importantly) our guts.

Then it clicked.

At first sight, the new logo was perfect. It felt dynamic. It really emulated the feeling we get within our company. We knew that if this is how it made us feel, it could only make our customers feel just as good.

What do we stand for?

Before we started the transition to a new brand, we were still unsure of who our ideal customer would be. Over time, we’ve realized that a lot of our client base weren’t folks who didn’t know anything about password management, but rather folks who did, but were looking for the best fit for them. Our re-brand reflects that person, and gives them what they want. Simply put, TeamPassword unlocks your team’s productivity.

Rest assured: we’re still the same great product with the same great team. We hope you appreciate the new brand and feel the same way about it that we do, keep your eye out for a number of great changes coming in the future!

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop us a line. We would love to chat with you!

8 Posts: More Than Password Management

With our passion for tech and high growth companies, we hope that you see us as more than “that company that saves the words and numbers you can’t remember.”

Given our excitement, we dedicate time each week to write about the many different aspects of working at a tech company. Below are some of our favorite articles you might have missed over the past weeks and month.

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Product Update: Failover Zones

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Show of hands, who remembers when Amazon had an outage in September of 2015? How badly did it affect you? Were you upset that Netflix also went down, leaving you totally cut off from the digital world?

Since TeamPassword was also affected, our friends and clients all over the web had issues gaining access to their passwords. Since they they didn’t have their passwords they were unable to get their work done, and even worse not able to get into the systems they needed to help them recover when an event like this happens.

This internet hiccup inspired us. In an effort to never let something like this happen again, we created our very own Failover Zone. Our Failover Zone is set up so that even if Amazon goes down for the entire US, you will still have read-only access to your passwords.

We want to hold ourselves accountable, and make sure you’re never without access to the accounts you need to do your job, and, recover from disasters.

Here’s a few quick answers to frequently asked questions:

What, exactly, is a Failover Zone?

Good question!

Our servers are hosted by Amazon in the US. This is generally fine, Amazon goes through extraordinary measures to make sure their servers are always up and running—and successfully so! Amazon powers a large percent of internet traffic. However, technology being what it is, sometimes the worst happens, and an entire data center goes down, taking our service with it.

For this reason, we set up our Failover Zone, which is a copy of our servers and database setup on an entirely different continent.

And let me tell you: these servers are vigilant! They’re constantly updating their data based off of our main servers, so should the cord somehow get cut, our failover zone will be up to date with your latest changes without someone at TeamPassword needing to restore a backup.

Why is this important?

Well, you need access to your stuff, don’t you?

I *do* need access to my stuff. Good call! Where can I find the Failover Zone?

Our read-only Failover Zone will always be available here.

Phew, that makes me feel better. Anything else I should know?

We’ve also put up our new status page! If the service is unreachable for any reason we’ll update the status page on when to use the failover service. We’ll provide status updates so you’ll always be in the loop.

Still have questions about Failover Zones and how they work? Want to build this into your disaster recovery process? Shoot us a line down in the comments section or hit us up on Twitter @TeamPassword

From Ugly to Beautiful: WebMechanix’s Switch to TeamPassword

One of our customers took some time to talk with TeamPassword about password management. Chris Mechanic is co-founder and CEO of WebMechanix, a digital marketing firm in Baltimore. As a young CEO, he had some good productivity advice to share. Get to know Chris and the smart systems he has put into place for WebMechanix.

How did you manage your passwords before TeamPassword?

It was somewhat ugly and somewhat insecure. We managed passwords largely via spreadsheets that lived in Google Drive. It was a pretty substantial struggle to make sure everything was in there, and then there was also the security risk and difficulty granting permissions. We basically had two different spreadsheets, one for mission critical stuff that only executives had access to (e.g. FTP/hosting/CRM/CMS) and one for non-mission critical stuff that pretty much everyone had access to. We had like thirty clients at that time, so having a different spreadsheet for each client was cumbersome. So to answer your question, we basically had our passwords stored on a few different spreadsheets.

Why did you switch to TeamPassword?

We we were looking for a solution a few years ago and I knew Brian, one of TeamPassword’s cofounders. The price was good, we liked it, and then we said let’s go for it.

How do you structure your TeamPassword account?

We structure it in a similar way, largely—we’ve got a group in TeamPassword called “Sensitive Stuff.” Very sophisticated taxonomy, haha. That’s where we keep FTP creds, hosting information, and other sensitive stuff. Then we have different groups for different types of things. We have one group called “Client Tools” for tools that we use across many clients, like MOZ, say. Then we also have a group for “Client-Specific Tools.” For instance, if only one client uses live chat, that would go into the Client Specific Tools group. Then we also have a CRM group, which is more sensitive, so fewer people have access to it. We have a few other groups that are broken out by categories and functions.
We’re also careful about the titles we use for passwords. For instance, a lot of our clients use Salesforce. So when we are looking to login to Salesforce, TeamPassword will show ten different passwords. This was confusing at first because they were all titled simply “Salesforce.” But we learned that lesson quickly and we assigned each client a 3-5 character code (for example, Pepsi would be PEP), so now we can easily see which password to use.

What’s your favorite part of using TeamPassword?

Well, it’s beautiful because you don’t need to access a spreadsheet prior to logging in. Before, when I would need to login to Salesforce, I would go to Salesforce and try to remember the password. Then I wouldn’t remember it, and I would have to go open the spreadsheet. It sounds easy, but it’s that extra step, and if you do it 30 times a day, it adds up, and all the sudden you spent an hour trying to hack into Salesforce that day. TeamPassword eliminates that. It also makes us look sexy in client meetings. Clients’ll be like, “What’s that thing you’re using? That’s cool.” I’m like “Yeah, that’s how we roll.” 😉

What do you geek out about most at work?

I geek out about everything digital marketing. SEO, PPC, analytics, and conversion. I’m also into “CEO stuff” like management philosophies, operational efficiency, and leadership.

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I’m not working, I plan what I’m going to be working on later. Haha, just kidding. Really, I just walk around telling everyone how cool TeamPassword is. Haha. Seriously though, I like to read, work out, play tennis, hang out with my girlfriend, my family, etc. I’ve also recently bought a house and I’m becoming quite the handyman.

What is your best productivity tip?

To eliminate distractions by doing things in chunks. I like to work in chunks of time. Eliminating distractions is critical to that, but furthermore, you should also have a plan before you start working. A lot of the time, if you sit down to work but you don’t know what you’re going to be doing, you can end up dwindling away and wasting 10, 20, 30 minutes, or even an hour just getting into random stuff. Especially if you’re on the internet, or in your email.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Gotta be the South of France. It’s beautiful.

What advice would you give yourself ten years ago?

10 years ago I would have given myself the advice to invent TeamPassword. Just kidding. I would have given myself the advice to quit my job and start my company earlier. But then again, I was a total newb 10 years ago, so that may not have been the best advice 😉

6 Steps to Using a Team Password Manager for your Small Business

If you set up the right processes and systems for password sharing, you’ll never have to waste time worrying about password management. Read on to learn about password strategies that will let you get back to working on your core business.

Identify who needs access. Of course your employees will need access to certain passwords, but it’s also likely that outside vendors may also need to get in to certain accounts, as well. Does your bookkeeper need access to your credit card account? Does your marketing consultant need access to your Twitter account? Make a list of everyone who will need access to your company’s passwords and then dole out password information accordingly.

Identify password access groups. Once you’ve identified everyone who will need access, figure out how you can organize those team members into different password access groups. For example, your technical team likely won’t need access to the same passwords as your marketing team. Here are a few common groups we see small businesses using:

  • Administrative: Admins and office manager types need access to accounts like Staples, Amazon, hotels, and airlines.
  • Finance: Bookkeepers and accountants need access to accounts like your commercial bank, credit cards, and payroll system.
  • Marketing: Your internal team, consultants, and/or agency will need access to accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, Mailchimp, GoDaddy, and any Content Management Systems (CMS) you or your clients use.

If you set up these groups in an app like TeamPassword, it will be easy to make sure that the appropriate people—and only the appropriate people—have access to the passwords they need.

Update your hiring procedures. You likely already have a process for hiring people that includes collecting tax paperwork and inputting information into payroll. We suggest you add one more step—including the new hire into the appropriate password groups in your password management app. This way, the new hire will never be held up waiting for someone to give them the password for a site they need to do their job.

Update your termination procedures. No one likes to think that an employee isn’t going to work out, but let’s be realistic. It’s important to be prepared for when someone leaves (or is asked to leave). You don’t want an unhappy ex-employee to have full access to your bank accounts, social media, or any sensitive company information. Even if an employee left your company amicably, you should remove them from your TeamPassword account to minimize risk. If an ex-employee has poor password management habits, they could jeopardize your company without doing anything malicious. If one of their accounts gets hacked, your password security (and thus bank accounts, credit cards, and reputation) could be in danger.

Don’t forget about the all too important consultants and vendors! When you begin working with a vendor or consultant, don’t forget to add them to the appropriate password groups. And, of course, if you stop working with a consultant or vendor, you should treat it just like an employee termination, and remove access to your passwords.

Double check your work on a regular basis. People are, well, human, and we all make mistakes from time to time. You should set a regular schedule, perhaps once a quarter, to sign in and review your password groups. First, make sure the users on your account are current. Second, review the groups to which your users are assigned. For example, if Joe changed from an administrative assistant to a marketing role, he would likely no longer need the password for your Amazon account. Plus, regular check-ins will help make sure no one accidentally gave your tech intern access to all of your banking passwords.

We created TeamPassword to help people manage their team’s passwords the right way. If you follow this simple system, you can say goodbye to shared Google documents, outdated Excel spreadsheets, and password security breaches. Give it a try!

How to Use a Team Password Manager for Your Agency: 3 Methods

Managing passwords shouldn’t get in the way of doing good work for your clients. However, when each client has several, dozens, or hundreds of passwords to manage, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There’s nothing quite so infuriating as getting held up on a big project because you can’t “find the damn password.”

Managing passwords on a shared Google Doc can be not only messy, but insecure (anyone with edit access can change those privacy settings!), and a password-protected Excel document is obviously going to become outdated over several different versions on different people’s computers. Who wants to spend more time looking at spreadsheets, anyway?

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