Are You Using Slack To Improve Security?

Are You Using Slack To Improve Security?

Slack and Microsoft Teams can help or hurt your IT security situation. If you lack a strategy and tactics to manage security, these tools are almost certainly going to increase your IT security risks. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. You obtain the benefits of using Slack, like better collaboration and organization without cutting corners. The secret is to take a systematic approach to security. Use this three-phase approach to get your IT security organized.

Phase 1: Assess Your Slack Configuration and Settings

In Slack itself, there are different settings and practices you can use to improve your security. Since Slack makes it so easy to communicate, it is easy to forget the fundamentals of IT security. Review your most recent channels and messages to see if anybody is sharing confidential data. For example, look for any cases of people mentioning customer names, phone numbers and payment details in open channels.

Guest users on Slack are the next issue to review. You probably have a robust process to address full-time employees using Slack. However, managing interns, short term consultants and the like may not be managed as closely. Over time, you are likely to accumulate more and more of these temporary guest users. To address this issue, you will need to work on reducing your inactive user risk.

The third Slack security opportunity lies in controlling admin and owner user accounts. These “super-user” account types can make significant changes in your Slack configuration. If these specialized accounts are misused or abused, collaboration could grind to a complete halt. Therefore, limit how many of these users accounts you provide. For example, assign a primary admin and owner along with one back up user. This arrangement will cover the vast majority of your needs while reducing the likelihood of a Slack security incident.

Phase 2: Leverage Slack To Improve IT Security Convenience

In Phase 1, you found out a few ways to avoid common pitfalls in Slack security. Removing those obstacles will go a long way toward improving your situation. However, that is just scratching the surface.

Before we reveal the secret here, let’s expose a common problem that undermines many IT security programs. IT security professionals regularly attempt to train their colleagues to adopt better security habits like using highly complex passwords. Motivating people to change their habits, especially in the case of passwords, is worthwhile! However, you also face an uphill battle when it comes to shifting habits.

Fortunately, there are some easy wins in IT security. By using Apollo, you can leverage Slack and make IT security easier to access. If your employees love to use Slack for everything, don’t force them to leave the app or pick up the phone to get a new password. Instead, they can complete your security process and get a new password fast. Since Apollo is an AI-powered security chatbot, it is available 24/7. That means no more long waits for IT security support.

Phase 3: Optimize Supporting IT Security Processes

So far, you have focused heavily on making changes to Slack itself. Given how much communications go through the tool, starting with the app itself is a logical starting point. However, your organization’s supporting IT security processes and security also need to be reviewed. In our experience, there are a few processes that could benefit from a tune-up.

●    Multi-Factor Authentication Adoption. You might have MFA access available (e.g., biometrics or using a mobile app), but how many of your employees are using the tool? Consider starting a project to make MFA easier for employees to use.

●    IT Security Record Keeping. At first glance, improving security record-keeping may not seem necessary. However, when you next experience an IT security incident, these records will help diagnose the problem more quickly. Improve your security records and compliance by using Compliance Auditor.

●    Detect Problems Faster With Better Monitoring. In health care, early detection of problems is the best approach. The same can be said for IT security. When you spot a vulnerability or error early on, it is easier to fix. For more insight on this technique, check out our article on access management key performance indicators.

Going Beyond Slack & Microsoft Teams: Other Ways To Safeguard Your Critical Data

After you work through these three phases of security changes, your organization’s Slack will be in top form. That means you will have the chance to review a different part of the organization’s security. After all, IT security is a cat and mouse game. Once you fix one vulnerability, threat actors will look elsewhere for a weakness to exploit. Likewise, you cannot rest on your laurels of a finely tuned Slack security situation.

To help you find other security risks to review and fine-tune, review this list of ideas:

●  Improve Your Employee Security Training

Most non-security employees do not think much about security problems. Therefore, it is up to the company to equip them with practical tips to do better with security. For instance, instead of directing people to use better passwords, offer a password training session.

●  Use “Table Top” IT Security Simulations.

Running a full-scale IT security attack simulation is one of the best ways to find flaws in your defenses. If you are unfamiliar with this process, check out Accenture’s guide to extreme plausible scenarios for cybersecurity. In planning a scenario, take the time to build a highly realistic threat your employees are likely to encounter.

●  Automate Your Security Processes With Software

IT security leads to the best results when you comprehensively protect the entire company. That means you test and control every user account, every app and all SaaS applications. It is tough to achieve this level of comprehensive coverage when you rely on manual processes. Here is one easy win to bring automation in your cybersecurity program. Stop setting up individual user accounts with customized privileges. Instead, use Group Enforcer to manage access on a group basis.

Now you know ways to tighten Slack security, the next step is up to you. Choose one method from this article and put it into effect at your organization.

Written by Nelson Cicchitto