Nira enables SurveyMonkey to proactively address critical cybersecurity risks

SurveyMonkey, a leader in market research, needed better visibility and control over access to critical data stored in Google Workspace and Microsoft OneDrive. Here’s how SurveyMonkey uses Nira to close cybersecurity gaps, drive business value, and support data retention policies.

  • Location: United States
  • Industry: Market Research
  • Company Size: Enterprise (> 200 employees)

SurveyMonkey is a global leader in online surveys and forms that empowers people with the insights they need to make decisions with speed and confidence. SurveyMonkey’s fast, intuitive feedback management platform connects millions of users worldwide with real-time AI-powered insights that drive meaningful decisions. 

SurveyMonkey is an AI-powered platform that promises to be anything but artificial. Instead, the company works to get real insights from real people as it empowers industry leaders to make better, more informed decisions based on the latest market research.

Cybersecurity is a top priority for SurveyMonkey, and the company is completely invested in protecting data for enterprise and individual customers. However, SurveyMonkey had no holistic way of fully viewing and fixing security risks across its Google Workspace and Microsoft OneDrive environments.

According to Vice President of IT Infrastructure and Operations Dan Cody, SurveyMonkey had very limited visibility into what was being shared with who and needed more control over company files and access permissions.

“We had no systematic or consolidated solution to address the overall arching issue which was: ‘We have no control over our documents at this point,’” said Cody.

Document security is a lot like fighting forest fires, Cody explained. Before finding a solution, SurveyMonkey was dealing with constant alarms and putting out fires after receiving alerts about sharing misconfigurations. Whenever an alert happened, it took valuable time and team resources to fix, which detracted from revenue-driving tasks and damaged the overall business impact Cody’s team could be having.

SurveyMonkey had tried solutions in the past including Google Apps Manager (GAM), so the team had an idea of its point-in-time risks, but they had no way to fully view and mitigate them on an ongoing and comprehensive basis.

“The problem is that GAM is reactive,” Cody said. “I can run a GAM query and find issues manually, but then I have to go do it again tomorrow and see what changed.”

Running scripts—whether GAM, PowerShell, or Python—is not an enterprise process, said Cody. Scripting was not efficient or scalable, especially for Cody’s team who was dealing with thousands of employees, and it took time and capacity.

This led them to seek a comprehensive solution through Nira.

“I wanted to get out of the business of fighting fires and into the business of forest management,” Cody said. “So we put our heads together and reached out to Nira.”

With Nira, SurveyMonkey has been able to gain complete visibility into who has access to its documents and reduce risks in record time, allowing Cody’s teams to focus on the issues that matter most.

Complete visibility and control

Nira gives SurveyMonkey full visibility into collaboration risks, helping IT and Security understand issues and create policies

The first step for SurveyMonkey was gaining visibility into risks. Nira instantly solved this problem, saving the company valuable time through its self-explanatory, easy-to-use UI.

Dan Cody
We had almost no visibility into what was being shared either publicly via links with third-party partners or even internally before we initiated Nira. We went from zero visibility to 100.
Dan Cody,
VP of IT Infrastructure and Operations

SurveyMonkey no longer had to move from incident to incident, fighting fires and overburdening the IT team. But getting visibility into issues was only half of the battle. Nira helped the company classify risks, but more importantly, it allowed them to fix the problems the tool had identified.

Dan Cody
Nira has allowed us to not only get better visibility into where we have potential security, compliance, and overall business risk, it's allowed us to close those gaps we've identified through the platform.
Dan Cody,
VP of IT Infrastructure and Operations

After identifying and understanding security gaps, SurveyMonkey could create security policies that govern how information that resides in collaboration applications should and should not be shared.

Instead of spending lots of time every week dealing with reactive alerts and incidents, SurveyMonkey spent a handful of hours creating policies that would resolve the overarching issue. Rather than rely on manual fixes, SurveyMonkey now had a policy framework to stop incidents from happening in the first place. Policies not only saved the team time, they actually reduced risks by allowing SurveyMonkey to quickly close down issues at scale.

Dan Cody
Being able to take actionable moves to decrease and close security gaps, or shut them down altogether, is what separates Nira from any other player in this industry right now.
Dan Cody,
VP of IT Infrastructure and Operations

Business value enablement

SurveyMonkey saves time with Nira, allowing IT and Security to drive business value

It’s an old argument that IT departments are viewed simply as “cost centers.” Rather than listen to outdated stereotypes, Cody and the team have proven that IT and Security are actually driving real value for the company.

“We are being seen more as a driver of business value rather than a cost center,” Cody explained.

With the time Nira saved them, SurveyMonkey’s teams can implement their most lucrative security and business initiatives.

Dan Cody
Nira allows me to focus my teams more on driving business value rather than shutting down risk. With Nira, we can take that capacity and put it toward generating revenue and reducing operating expenses.
Dan Cody,
VP of IT Infrastructure and Operations

Rather than dealing with reactive issues, Cody’s teams can now work on initiatives that support operational efficiencies and drive the most value for the business.

“The less time our teams spend enforcing policies on a manual and reactive basis, the more time and capacity they have to enhance the value we provide to the rest of the company,” he said.

Policy enforcement at scale

Nira helps SurveyMonkey with policy enforcement, aiding IT with compliance and data retention

SurveyMonkey uses Nira to implement policies in an enterprise environment at scale. For example, the company can comply with its stale access policy, helping the IT team with data retention and their overall security response.

Policy enforcement and compliance are essential, according to Glenn Vidad, SurveyMonkey’s Senior Manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations. Stale documents, or outdated company files that have not been modified in a certain period of time that no longer needed to be accessed, were one of the first issues the team wanted to tackle.

“Identifying stale documents and taking action against them will help the overall health of the environment that we manage, whether it’s to protect us or for basic hygiene,” Vidad said.

Cleaning up access and removing permissions for these old files is important for data retention measures, Vidad explained.

“It’s always a big issue for engineering and legal teams: defining a retention policy and then implementing it,” he said.

SurveyMonkey’s top risks included stale documents with links that were no longer needed. These types of documents could have Public links (links that can be accessed by anyone on the internet with the link) or Company links (links that could be accessed by anyone in the company with the link). Using Nira, Vidad and his team were able to clean up link access to stale documents, reducing their risk of information being inappropriately shared.

They also cleaned up access to stale files that had been shared with personal email accounts, an issue that most companies struggle with today.

“Sharing files with personal accounts is problematic because they are accounts that we can’t see or can’t manage. It should never happen unless there is a very good business reason,” Vidad said.

Nira also helped clean up access to stale files with outside domain access. Outside domains represent external parties that work with but are outside of organizations including vendors, partners, contractors, and freelancers. Outside domain access can be risky because these third parties can have access to company documents for years, often without anyone realizing or having full visibility into the problem.

With Nira, SurveyMonkey can enforce its security policies and clean up access to stale documents, allowing the company to stay secure and compliant, and keep in line with data retention measures.

A must-have tool for security and compliance

Nira’s features are ‘game-changers’ for IT and Security

The team at SurveyMonkey is only getting started with using Nira to secure company data and reduce access risks. Over the next few months, they intend to roll out additional features that will help improve their security posture even more.

Nira continues to introduce valuable features. It’s a game-changer for us.
Glenn Vidad,
Senior Manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations

Among those features are more automation capabilities, and the employee security portal, which reduces IT admin time and lets SurveyMonkey employees easily resolve security issues. Vidad is also enthusiastic about Nira’s OneDrive integration, which will allow SurveyMonkey to have as much visibility and control over its Microsoft environment as its Google Drive.

Another aspect that is particularly beneficial for the team is the archiving feature, a feature that can be used to streamline offboarding processes.

“I was able to get two engineers on my team heavily engaged in conversation about how we can leverage the archive feature when it comes to our offboarding process,” Vidad said. “They started talking, and you could see their brains solving problems at a higher speed because of the features we had with Nira.”

As the SurveyMonkey team explores new features, they are realizing more ways to incorporate Nira in other areas of their work.

In the beginning, when we used Nira, it was to identify risks within Google Drive, but now it's become a top tool for other security and compliance measures we plan on doing.
Glenn Vidad,
Senior Manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations

Nira continues to add capabilities while helping IT drive value

Not only is Nira a top tool for SurveyMonkey, but it has been increasing in value for the organization as new features and integrations are delivered.

“Nira continuously adds new capabilities that are much needed in a modern collaboration environment. I’m excited about the roadmap, it’s going to make my life much easier,” Vidad said.

Nira has helped SurveyMonkey’s teams limit their time fighting fires and instead drive tangible business value to the rest of the company. Although new risks will always come up and must be handled, Cody and the team maintain that SurveyMonkey is in a better position to take care of them with Nira.

Dan Cody
Nira has greatly reduced our exposure to documents, confidential information, and IP being shared, left behind, and ignored.
Dan Cody,
VP of IT Infrastructure and Operations

“Fires will still pop up after you manage a forest and trim back the trees. But at the end of the day, they’re far less invasive and impactful to the business.”

Every company that uses Google Workspace should be using Nira.
Bryan Wise
Bryan Wise,
Former VP of IT at GitLab

Incredible companies use Nira