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Doppler vs Traditional Secrets Managers

It may seem like secrets managers are all the same — simply offering secure storage and access.

May 29, 2024
Ryan Blunden Avatar
Ryan Blunden
Senior Developer Advocate
Doppler vs Traditional Secrets Managers
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Doppler vs Traditional Secrets Managers

It may seem like secrets managers are all the same — simply offering secure storage and access.

However, there are key differences between traditional secrets managers and modern alternatives, such as Doppler, that significantly reduce the time Administrators, Developers, and DevOps teams spend managing secrets.

Learn why Secrets Management has entered a new era and how Doppler is leading the charge.

The SecretOps Era

Secrets Management has entered a new era because Developers and DevOps Teams need more than just secure key-value storage.

Doppler’s advantage is that it’s designed specifically for managing application secrets, grouping them by projects and environments, whereas traditional secrets managers provide path-based storage with no standardized structure.

Security is now table stakes, with the focus shifting to optimizing developer productivity, increasing deployment frequency, and reducing incident response times.

It’s true that any secrets manager is secure and will get the job done—but the key question is which one will guarantee your team will ship more features and gain widespread adoption without resistance?

Doppler’s ease of use and automation features also significantly reduce the time spent on administration tasks, freeing up resources to provide more value to your business.

Let’s get a high-level view of Doppler’s time-saving approach and features with an overview of the application setup process.

Application Setup

First, we’ll create a Project which provides structured secrets storage with a customizable list of environments that can also be standardized at the workplace level.

We’ll then bulk import our secrets using a .env file with the option of setting the datatype for each secret.

Secrets visibility is set to masked by default with access events logged when the secret is revealed. This can be changed to unmasked for config values or set to restricted to prevent read access from the dashboard and in local development environments.

Upon saving, changes can be propagated to other environments your user has access to, making manually copying and pasting values between environments a thing of the past.

Hard-coded secrets are no longer required during local development, as the Doppler CLI dynamically injects secrets into an application using the `doppler run` command or via debug configurations for VS Code and IntelliJ-based IDEs.

If misconfiguration occurs, you can rollback changes with a single click via the project’s ActivityLog.

Or revert a specific value using the secret’s Version History Log.

The final step is to then configure secrets access for CI/CD, staging, and production environments.

The recommended approach is using Doppler integrations to automate secrets delivery to where applications can most easily access them, such as

  • Cloud secrets managers
  • Kubernetes secrets
  • CI/CD
  • SaaS platforms

Applications can also access secrets directly using the Doppler CLI, SDK, and API.

To ensure effective governance, you can monitor workplace activity and secret updates using the Dashboard’s Workplace Activity Log, Project Activity Log, configure notifications for Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Discord, and stream events to your external logging service.

This is barely scratching the surface of what Doppler can do, so let’s check out its stand-out Secrets Management features.

Secrets Management

Doppler provides innovative workflows for solving modern secrets management challenges, including:

Webhooks: Enabling you to build event-driven workflows, such as triggering a GitHub Action Deploy job when secrets change.

Secrets References: To avoid duplicating secrets across your workplace by referring to a single global instance.

Branch Configs: For customizing a root environment for specific usage, e.g. configuring the same application in production across multiple clouds.

Search By Value: For finding all instances of secret currently in use.

Comparing Secrets: For tracking configuration drift between environments

Automated Secrets Rotation: Now achievable for every team and application, with support for database credentials, IAM User Keys, and API keys.

No one wants to spend time managing secrets — They want to ship new features and contribute maximum value. That’s what Doppler is all about.

Migrating Your Secrets

It’s common for customers to have thousands of secrets under management, so an automated strategy is essential.

Doppler’s Terraform provider is the best solution, enabling you to programmatically create and update Projects, Environments, Secrets, and assign access to Users and User Groups.

Terraform also allows your imports to be developed iteratively, as its state management takes care of creating, updating, and deleting resources for you.

But you’ve also got the Doppler CLI, SDK, and API available should you prefer to script your own solution.

Migrating Your Team

Doppler provides least-privileged access at Enterprise scale with its flexible role-based model, fine-grained project permissions, and automated user provisioning via SCIM with your Identity Provider being the single source of truth for user access.

By default, User Groups and assignments are defined in your identity provider, but you can opt to manage these manually through the Doppler dashboard and programmatically via the API and Terraform.

For access permissions, you can start with Doppler’s built-in workplace and project roles, then move to defining your own custom roles to meet your exact access-control policies, all within the dashboard.

Doppler enables every aspect of Team Management to be automated without having to learn complex CLI commands or a resource configuration language.


You've now got a solid grasp on how Doppler differs from traditional secrets managers and how easy it is to migrate your secrets and onboard your teams.

Doppler becomes an asset to your business, as its ease of use and automation features significantly reduce the time Administrators, Developers, and DevOps teams spend managing secrets.

To learn more, schedule a free Assessment session to quickly see if Doppler is the right solution for the secrets management challenges you’re facing.

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