If your organization contributes to the 12 million active users of the business communication platform Slack, you probably worry about data security at the back of your mind, and rightly so.
In 2015, the platform experienced a security breach, wherein unauthorized individuals gained access to a database that stored user profile information. In 2020, it was used to hack Twitter’s internal systems. More recently, through Slack, an EA games employee was tricked by hackers into providing a login token, which the hackers then used to steal data.
Slack is among the best business communication and project management platforms today, proving itself invaluable in today’s remote workforce. However, just like all apps, it’s not perfect. Slack has plenty of security features to protect its users’ data, but it doesn’t make it invulnerable to cyberattacks. Whether you choose to stick with Slack or jump ship, there will always be a risk of a security breach, no matter how small as your business moves into the digital transformation.
It’s a good thing that the benefits outweigh the risks, especially if you know how to handle the challenges in data security.
This article will discuss ways you can manage the risks of a security breach and further minimize the chances of it happening.
1. Understanding the risks
The first step in handling data and cybersecurity challenges is understanding the risks. After all, how can you prepare when you don’t have a good grasp of what can happen? Security breaches in Slack can come on two sides: the platform and the user side.
On the platform side, the risk comes from various threats that Slack faces, such as organized crime, nation-state actors, and unaffiliated rogue hackers. Your organization will have no control of these attacks, and the only thing you can do is prepare. Understand what the worst-case scenario may look like and build a business continuity plan in preparation for it.
On the user side, the risk primarily comes from insider threats, most of which are caused by employee negligence. Employees tend to have poor security hygiene as they ignore security policies to expedite processes or circumvent protocols. The concern is about the type, and amount of information employees share over Slack so casually. Unlike threats to the platform, organizations have a degree of control over these. By taking the initiative to train their employees regarding security hygiene and monitor threats, organizations can minimize the risk.
2. Following good security practices
As discussed above, a large chunk of the security risks your organization faces come from your own employees. If you want to help your employees improve their security hygiene, you can incorporate the following practices in your staff training and communicate employee expectations accordingly:
- Never share passwords on Slack – Make it clear to everyone in your organization to never share passwords on the platform. If they need to share or transfer access to different programs, they should use password management solutions such as Dashlane, LastPass, and Password Boss.
- Turn on two-factor authentication – Require everyone in your organization to use two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA does make logging in a lengthier process, but it adds another layer of security, which is a must if you want to minimize security risks.
- Apply company email security policies to Slack – If your organization is serious about data security, you probably already have email security policies in place. You can apply these policies to Slack. Make sure the policy includes the following: guidance regarding the sharing of login credentials, how confidential and sensitive information should be shared, and a standard for password strength.
- Make security training a part of onboarding – If you train new hires during onboarding in Slack security, you further minimize the insider threats since they will enter the workspace equipped with the proper knowledge.
3. Using data loss prevention tools
There are plenty of ways organizations can decrease the risks of security breaches, and while methods that only cost time and effort are preferable, investing in a third-party tool is worth considering. Enter data loss prevention tools (DLP). These third-party tools ensure that sensitive data is not lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorized individuals. A DLP software will help you enforce security policies by classifying regulated, confidential, and business-critical data and identifying violations of policies as defined by your organization. It will assist in ensuring long-term data security by identifying, monitoring, and protecting data in use, data in motion on your network, and data at rest in your data storage area.
Among the primary reasons why any organization will benefit from using DLP software are the following:
- It reveals where confidential data is being stored, where it’s being sent, and who is accessing it. Being aware of where your data is at all times helps a lot in creating policies and pinpointing areas to safeguard.
- It provides another layer of protection against insider threats by identifying files containing confidential data and preventing them from leaving the network.
- It gives an edge over the competition. Having another layer of security on top of all the security practices you’re already implementing boosts your organization’s reputation.
- It makes compliance with complex regulations easier by providing technology controls necessary for meeting compliance in certain areas.
If you follow the most vital steps for managing security risks with Slack as outlined in this article, you should not have to worry about any cybersecurity concerns for your company. However, it is always advisable to have an IT advisor or manager to hand in case something goes wrong and a data breach or hack occurs.