AuthorBrian Sierakowski

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


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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5 Bad Password Habits to Break Immediately

We all have bad habits—letting emails pile up in the inbox, getting fast food for lunch, leaving dishes in the sink, you name it, we all do it. The typical bad habit isn’t normally a big deal, but when it comes to managing your passwords, getting into a bad pattern can lose you serious time and money. We all know the hassle of forgetting a password and having to reset it, but that’s nothing compared what you’ll go through if your accounts are compromised because you managed your passwords poorly.

It’s the age old story of a company that uses the same password for everything, one unimportant site gets hacked, and the attacker proceeds to log into all of their sites.

Luckily, with the right strategies and tools, building good password habits is easy. Read on to learn about bad password management habits and how you can fix them.

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Introducing Avatars: See the People With Whom You’ll Be Sharing Your Passwords

We here at TeamPassword know how important security is to you. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be bothering with password management at all. But you are, and that’s why we’re excited to announce our newest feature: Avatars!

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#29Passwords: An Old Password A Day Keeps the Hackers Away

Why yes, yes we did just Tweet that.

Everyday in the month of February, we are posting our old passwords to our most important accounts on Twitter.

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Performance Update: The Need for (more!) Speed

Sometimes, the best things in life are felt and not seen. For example, the wind. Or maybe that nice, satisfied sleepy feeling you get after eating a large Thanksgiving feast.

Today, TeamPassword is that post-Thanksgiving feast feeling. Our team has worked tirelessly on improving the performance of our product, and though you may not be able to see the improvements, you’ll feel them, especially if you’re one of our customers with lots of logins and users.

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