Slack Security Best Practices to Protect Your Workspace

Written by Hatice Ozsahan and David Worthington on February 18, 2022

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Slack is an excellent tool for your team, but we all know that nothing on the internet is perfect (yet). There are several security measures you can take to keep your team protected. With the increase in data breaches, there is also an increase in Slack scams and phishing attempts, so it’s important to stay vigilant when using it.

Being the central hub of flowing information is cool as long as it’s fully secure. The good news? Slack comes with beneficial security features that you should make use of. By learning how to use Slack security features, you can ensure your team’s security.

We will cover Slack security best practices you should implement into your workspace as a Slack administrator. You can be even more successful when you select an Identity Provider (IdP) that provides Single Sign-On (SSO), user provisioning, and modern authentication.

Here’s a pocket-size cheat sheet of Slack security tips:

  • Make two-factor authentication mandatory
  • Use domain whitelisting
  • Manage third-party app installations
  • Open guest accounts and restrict channel access
  • Keep track of audit logs

Let’s dive deeper.

Why Slack Security Matters

According to a report, highest-ranked cloud threats include unauthorized access, account hijacking, and misconfiguration. In other words, there are numerous potential threats in a cloud-based environment, and this includes Slack workspaces.

  • Potential sharing of sensitive data

Whether you use Slack to communicate sensitive operational data belonging to your organization or your customers, it is vital to minimize weak spots in your organization’s security infrastructure and accidental breaches by team members.

  • Operation on shared responsibility model

Slack relies on a shared responsibility model like many other cloud-based collaboration tools. That means Slack, as a provider, takes some responsibility, but it doesn’t take all–your security team also needs to take some in order to protect your data and privacy. Of course, the scope of your responsibilities is mostly limited to Slack’s security capabilities.

We will touch upon its features and Slack security tips that you can use for data loss prevention and keeping malicious intruders at bay.

10 Slack Security Best Practices

Implementing Slack security best practices can help protect your workspace from security breaches and keep sensitive information safe. It’s important to remember that security is an ongoing process and should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed.

1. Enable Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is beneficial to add an extra layer of security. It prevents anyone other than the account owner from gaining access, even with the username and password. Instead of immediately granting access to your account, you will be asked for another piece of information.

As a workspace administrator, you can make 2FA mandatory for your Slack members. While the level of security 2FA brings varies depending on its format, an extra layer is always a good idea.

An IdP will offer SSO with integrated MFA and other security controls like Conditional Access and can automate authorization/provisioning to manage users while increasing IT’s operational efficiency. Not all MFAs are the same. Some authentication factors are even phishing-resistant and can only be run by managed devices that your organization trusts. 

JumpCloud integrates cross-OS device management with Identity and Access Management (IAM). The platform architecture can be extended with even more holistic policies and device settings over time.

2. Use Domain Whitelisting to Restrict Access

To simply put, domain whitelisting enables you to restrict access to your Slack account based on network. That means having the correct credentials won’t be enough to log in to your workspace unless you whitelist the traffic network. 

Additionally, you can limit access to only approved workspaces on your network. It’s useful when you want to prevent anyone on your network from signing into a workspace that is not approved. . Conditional Access policies from an IdP provide this … and more.

3. Monitor Externally Shared Channels

Slack Connect allows you to communicate and collaborate across companies. However, this might pose a security risk if not managed properly. Therefore, the shared responsibility model applies to shared channels as well. Your sensitive data will be safe so long as you use Slack’s data management features and educate your team on Slack security regarding file sharing and more.

4. Avoid Excessive Permissions

Installing third-party apps into your workflows is, in fact, one of the conveniences of Slack. However, it’s on you and your team to ensure your workspace security by handling app installations with care. There are simple but effective ways to do that, such as:

  • Restricting app installations to those from Slack’s official App Directory
  • Whitelisting apps your workspace members can install
  • Setting up admin approval for app installations

An IdP can assist in this process by automating provisioning workflows and group memberships.

5. Manage Access and Visibility for Guest Users

If you plan to invite individuals outside your organization into a specific project channel, make sure to invite them as guests by using the Slack l guest roles feature. You can also manage the visibility and access to channels they have.

6. Set up Channel Privacy

If you communicate data that might be sensitive internally, the best Slack security practice is to set up channel privacy. You can create private channels and manage who can see and access them.

7. Restrict File Downloads and Message Copying

(Available for Enterprise Grid)

Another security feature Slack offers to admins of Enterprise Grid accounts is blocking file downloads and message copying on unmanaged devices. This way, you can guard your sensitive business data from unauthorized devices.‍

8. Record Audit Logs

(Available for Enterprise Grid)

Slack provides audit logs for Enterprise Grid users to help them keep track of changes and usage so that they can see potential security issues in retrospect. While audit logs aren’t accessible on the admin dashboard, Slack gives access to the Audit Logs API that can be connected with internal apps or third-party tools.

9. Set Up the Enterprise Key Management (EKM) API

(Available for Enterprise Grid)

Another security add-on Slack offers to Enterprise Grid users is the Enterprise Key Management feature. EKM allows you to:

  • Use your own encryption keys to encrypt files and messages
  • Revoke key access

This feature is highly beneficial for organizations in sensitive industries.

10. Use Session Management (API)

(Available for Enterprise Grid)

Session management enables admins to end the session of any member in their workspace. For example, in case of a device loss, the admin can end the session and require re-authentication. 

JumpCloud is an IdP that combines IAM with cross-OS device management. JumpCloud Go™, a passwordless phishing-resistant credential, provides instant revocation when a user status changes from “active” to “suspended”. That’s possible because the platform has integrated identity and device management.

Slack security best practices: Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Secure and Private is Slack?

By default Slack automatically applies encryption to both data at rest and data in transit for all customers. Slack takes security and privacy seriously and provides features like encryption, access controls, data retention, audit logs, integration controls, and two-factor authentication. However, no system is 100% secure, so users should still be cautious when sharing sensitive information and follow security best practices.

2. How Do I Make Slack More Secure?

To make Slack more secure, you can follow these best practices:

  • Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication.
  • Restrict access to sensitive information and regularly monitor user activity.
  • Control third-party app access and carefully vet which apps have access to your workspace.
  • Regularly update Slack and associated apps.
  • Educate employees on security best practices, including how to identify potential threats and report suspicious activity.

By implementing these practices, you can enhance the security of your Slack workspace and protect sensitive information.

Get Started With JumpCloud

Deploying a cloud identity management solution helps streamline the process of securing increasingly distributed enterprise workflows. The right cloud directory helps you improve insider risk management with automation and ready-made compliance solutions.

JumpCloud’s open directory platform empowers you to:

  • Securely connect employees to their devices (systems, mobile, servers), IT applications (on-prem or the cloud), files (cloud hosted or on-prem) and networks via VPN or Wi-Fi
  • Leverage best in class security using Zero Trust principles
  • Limit management overhead and improve security and user manageability 
  • Connect your cloud servers (hosted at AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, or elsewhere) to your existing AD or LDAP user store
  • Comprehensively manage Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android endpoints regardless of location
  • Connect users to applications that leverage either LDAP or SAML-based authentication
  • Manage user access to VPN and Wi-Fi networks securely through a cloud RADIUS service
  • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) everywhere

All of these capabilities (and more) create a platform that connects users to virtually all of their IT resources regardless of provider, platform, protocol, or location, while also enabling admins to automate the onboarding and offboarding process and gain detailed visibility into all access transactions.

You can try JumpCloud for free to determine if it’s right for your organization. 

Our customers tell us that asset management is also important for security and IT operations. JumpCloud is enhancing its platform to unify SaaS, IT security, and asset management.

Hatice Ozsahan
David Worthington

I'm the JumpCloud Champion for Product, Security. JumpCloud and Microsoft certified, security analyst, a one-time tech journalist, and former IT director.

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