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TU Graz

Transitioning from Self-Developed Secrets Management

About the Organization

The central IT services department at Technische Universität Graz (TU Graz) in Austria provides critical IT support and services to 4,000 staff and 13,000 students, ensuring the seamless operation of a four-digit number of servers crucial to the university's diverse and extensive technical infrastructure. TU Graz is a university dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering education and innovation.

Inffeldgasse 10 - Graz University of Technology - Florian Klien - CC BY-SA 2.0 at
Inffeldgasse 10 - Graz University of Technology - Florian Klien - CC BY-SA 2.0 at

The Challenge

Prior to Passbolt, TU Graz's IT services department relied on a self-developed password management solution. While it enabled password sharing, it lacked functionalities such as auto-fill, group creation and structured folders. The department aimed to ensure redundancy in password ownership, easy retrieval of passwords, and an organized structure for credential storage. The self-developed solution required resources for maintenance, security updates, and further development. The goal was to transition to an open-source, robust secrets management solution that could meet their growing needs, particularly in managing a vast number of machine credentials.

The Solution

Transitioning to Passbolt in October 2023, following a successful pilot run with six technical personnel starting May of the same year, proved to be the right choice. Passbolt's open-source nature aligned well with TU Graz's strategy of preferring open-source solutions. Hosting Passbolt on-premise on their infrastructure ensured high availability and a secure environment for secrets management. Passbolt stood out in usability, functionality, and ease of installation, operation, and maintenance.

Other contenders didn't match up to Passbolt in terms of technology stack compatibility, pricing, or robust security features. Having developed a password manager themselves, the IT services team at TU Graz meticulously evaluated the software quality and security of these third-party password managers, finding Passbolt to be the most robust and suited to their needs.

The Results

The transition to Passbolt facilitated a more structured and collaborative approach to secrets management for the Central IT department. The ease of sharing and managing machine credentials in a structured, collaborative environment simplified their operations.

The auto-fill feature, ease of sharing machine credentials, and creating structured folders significantly improved their secrets management processes. The moment of realization came when they discovered that a password created by one person could instantly be used by another due to the auto-fill feature, which was not possible with their previous system or other solutions. This enhancement in real-time collaboration significantly improved their operational efficiency.

The management of a substantial number of credentials by TU Graz's team highlights the significant scale of their operations and illustrates the deep confidence in Passbolt's capacity to efficiently manage such a volume. Achieving redundancy was simplified as Passbolt allowed for easy sharing of credentials ensuring that at least two individuals had access to every critical secret, enhancing the security and accountability within the department.