Case Study: How NETA Gained Total Password Protection and Gave Clients (and Employees) Peace of Mind
National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)
Headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, NETA provides professional services, business consulting, and professional development to public media organizations.
The challenge: Securing sensitive data against increasing threats
In 2020, more people were working virtually than ever before, and security risks were at an all-time high for every organization. NETA was no exception. Operating across multiple states, NETA’s employees rely on a hybrid working environment, and the organization constantly monitors its domain for threats. “We saw a 35% increase in our security incidents, mainly phishing attacks, in 2020,” shares Heather Hankins, the Security Specialist at NETA. The spike in security incidents was a huge red flag for Hankins. In her mind, falling victim to bad actors was nearly unavoidable.
“I believe that it’s not a question of if an organization will experience a data breach but rather when will it happen,” Hankins explains. “We all have to be prepared.”
On the search for a password management solution, Hankins wanted to give her coworkers as much assurance as possible, sharing, “Total security can feel beyond reach, but with the right tools, admins can gain genuine control of the situation. An official password management system is an essential ingredient for organization safety.”
Plus, password assurance was especially important for NETA because the organization also manages clients’ passwords and sensitive data.
While some applications that NETA relies upon require stronger passwords, Hankins needed to see which passwords were being reused and how they were being shared.
“Every time I got a security breach email notification for our domain, I would hold my breath,” says Hankins.
The more she thought about it, the more concerned she grew. Hankins further explains, “When I thought about how credential stuffing works—stealing people’s credentials to log in to other sites—a light bulb went off. I knew we had to find a way to protect our passwords and better safeguard our clients’ sensitive information.”
According to Hankins, NETA’s number one security challenge was around passwords. Each NETA employee could have as many as fifty passwords, which could be overwhelming. “Everyone feels password fatigue because random password generation shouldn't have to be any human's responsibility,” Hankins shares. “I wanted to give people an easier way to create and secure their passwords.”
Employees also needed a safer way to share passwords to provide quality services. Sometimes the need to do their job led employees to bad password hygiene practices—like sharing passwords over email.
NETA was stuck between needing to easily share passwords to perform job responsibilities and keeping sensitive information private. The organization knew the potential ramifications its customers could face from a data breach. “If a nonprofit’s donor payment information is stolen, it could very well destroy the reputation of that nonprofit,” explains Hankins. “We have a strong obligation to keep our client’s data safe.”
Security was a top priority, but NETA wanted a password management solution that also offered convenience. That meant easy onboarding and strong customer support to bolster a small IT team and increase the confidence of employees with varying levels of tech-savviness. Single sign-on (SSO) was critical for saving employees from the mental acrobatics of hard to create and harder-to-remember passwords.
The solution: Password management made easy for everyone
Hankins took to the web, researching every password management solution on the market.
Burned by a previous password manager, NETA’s President Eric Hyyppa believed NETA needed stronger password management but was leery of the solutions available. He had to be won over.
Hankins put Dashlane through a series of tests and decided it was the correct answer to NETA’s password problem. After Hankins introduced Dashlane to NETA’s President, Hyyppa was won over by the initial look and feel.
“Some password management systems are overwhelming to a person who isn’t tech-savvy, but Dashlane was user-friendly from first glance,” Hyyppa explains. “We love its simple look and feel.”
Hyyppa quickly discovered there’s even more to love about Dashlane than its user-friendly interface, including:
- Single sign-on (SSO). Finally, NETA’s employees can use just one set of credentials to grant access to multiple applications.
- Dark Web Monitoring. NETA can be confident that sensitive information isn’t floating around on illicit sites.
- Versatility. Macs or PCs, NETA employees get to use the operating system they prefer.
- Easy navigation. Everyone deserves a user-friendly, stress-free experience.
- Access to Family Password Manager plans. NETA employees’ passwords are protected on and off the clock.
The result: Password Health Scores to be proud of
Today, NETA is working smarter and safer thanks to Dashlane. In fact, NETA’s President Eric Hyyppa was the first employee to achieve the coveted perfect Password Health Score.
After just three months with Dashlane, NETA reports its company-wide Password Health Score increased from 70 to 86. “Our employees are helping our security get stronger every day,” shares Hankins. “Some of our employees raised their individual Password Health Scores from 30 to 100!”
Now, NETA is proud to add another benefit for clients and employees: password protection assurance.
Dashlane's zero-knowledge architecture allows NETA to ensure that only the individual user can see the contents of their Dashlane account, keeping critical info safe from unauthorized views. Secure password sharing means that important data is always shared privately; plus, when passwords are shared via Dashlane, authorized employees can get the access they need when they need it, even if the original account owner is out of office.
NETA loved Dashlane's easy onboarding experience and Dashlane's customer support continues to be a great benefit for NETA’s teams, which work across time zones. The organization has all the support it needs to seamlessly bolster its IT team. “Dashlane’s high-quality customer service has exceeded our expectations,” shares Hankins. NETA's controllers found Dashlane's user experience so intuitive that they use the dashboard as a homepage; they also report that finding customer accounts has never been easier.
Expanding on her colleagues’ feedback, Jackie Thompson, Controller at NETA shares, “Dashlane is a win-win-win: I’m confident that my information is safe, it’s easy to set up passwords for new accounts, and I no longer worry about saving separate excel spreadsheets of my sensitive passwords for both work and personal use.”
Over the next six months, NETA will roll Dashlane out to all employees. The organization is also adopting a virtual private network (VPN), to help secure any remote environment.
Breaches aren’t as scary of a thought when unique passwords are used everywhere. NETA’s clients and employees can rest assured that information is always safe and secure.
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