Top 5 Security Risks of Collaboration Tools

Top 5 Security Risks of Collaboration Tools

Many organizations haven’t fixed the security flaws they introduced when implementing collaboration tools quickly during the pandemic. The result is security risks and inherent flaws that could be very damaging

Tools for business collaboration aid in communication and productivity. However, these tools can also expose the company to several cybersecurity risks.

Hybrid work models are still prevalent, SaaS environments are growing, and the use of collaboration tools is rising. These tech ecosystems become more complex as employees use more collaboration tools to streamline their work.

This complexity poses many difficulties for organizations trying to defend themselves against bad actors.

Project management, file sharing, and seamless communication typically use business collaboration tools. But these tools also present security risks that businesses need to address.

Online collaboration tools are now indispensable for business. However, the rapid deployment of these tools at the beginning of the pandemic has left some vulnerabilities.

Now, they need to ensure these risks are eliminated.

Here are some interesting data. According to research from VERITAS- The Veritas Hidden Threat of Business Collaboration Report, which polled 12,500 office workers across 10 countries, business collaboration tools have been extremely risky in the first year of the pandemic.

71% of the respondents- remote office workers globally- confessed they shared sensitive business-critical company data on collaborative tools like email and IM. 68% of American workers did that too. Moreover, 58% said ‘they save their copies of business information shared over IM.’ In the survey, only 56% of the employees believed the information shared over these collaboration tools was being saved somewhere.

Given that this year, there was a 13% increase in the use of these tools- IM and other non-email apps- the risk is evident.

But it doesn’t stop here. In the survey:

  • 13% of the employees admitted they had shared sensitive client information
  • 10% shared details on HR issues
  • 10% shared contracts
  • 10% shared business plans (10%)
  • 24% of employees have accepted and processed an order,
  • 25% have accepted a reference for a job candidate,
  • 20% have accepted a signed contract over messaging and collaboration tools.

The scary part is that less than 33% of employees said they did not share anything that could be harmful. That means almost 66% of employees have shared business data on collaborative tools.

Given their crucial value to the company, businesses must ensure that their collaboration tools are robust, user-friendly, and secure.

According to Metrigy’s most recent Workplace Collaboration study:

Only 37.0% of respondents say their organization has implemented a proactive workplace collaboration security strategy encompassing real-time and non-real-time apps and services.

That hasn’t changed much since the last collected security data in early 2020.

Security Risks of Collaboration Tools

One of the main reasons is that collaboration tools are frequently launched in units rather than organization-wide. In many instances, workers are adding more collaboration tools without the permission of the IT security organization.

Most of the time, the security of these platforms, communications, and shared data comes last. Threat actors looking for a point of entry to proprietary information, financial data, and intellectual property have it easy.

This is why companies need to secure data on these tools.

Here is a list of the top five security issues with collaboration tools and solutions:

1. Phishing Attacks

Although phishing attacks are nothing new, they are getting more advanced. Attackers are omnichannel opportunists. The attacks come from numerous entry points – malicious links through office collaboration apps, email, SMS, and social media.

2. Account Exploitation and Unauthorized Access

Credential theft, reused passwords, and weak passwords can cause various issues. Attackers can intercept sensitive information, send malicious messages, or use the account as a launching pad for additional attacks. Some hackers remain undetected in an account for months at a time.

Account compromise is risky because it enables erroneous requests from legitimate accounts, among other things. The attack may worsen for the company if the compromised email password matches the login credentials for different accounts, such as Slack.

Similarly, a compromised email account could gain access to Google Drive. From there, the assailant can read private documents and gather data for their subsequent assault. They might discover a customer list to forge, financial data to steal, or crucial files to erase.

3. Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks use psychological tricks to persuade targets to take specific actions. The attacker may make an urgent request so the target doesn’t have time to weigh the risks.

From this point, the attacker can convince the victim to divulge private or credit card information.

4. Data Breach and Dangerous File Sharing

Data is a food source for cybercriminals. Sensitive data is one of the most valuable assets. It can be lost, stolen, sold for profit, ransomed, leaked, or used against the company in various ways.

Collaboration tools increase the number of data access points, increasing the number of risks. Information can leak from files with unintentionally “public” permission settings, and unencrypted data is no different. Even a small leak can potentially seriously harm the clientele or reputation.

5. Integration Security Threats and Adverse Apps

Apps and tools for collaboration frequently integrate with other technologies. However, it poses serious security risks if permissions are not monitored.

Tools for collaboration are not all created equal. Attackers may use legitimate tools’ without knowing their security flaws or create apps with malicious intent.

Risk Mitigation for Business Collaboration Tools

After describing the threat landscape, it is critical to discuss what firms can do to combat it. All the employees use business collaboration tools. That is unavoidable. The real difference between risky and expensive and secure and productive is what they do about it.

Also Read: How Businesses Can Mitigate IoT Cybersecurity Risks

Employee Security Awareness Training

  • Awareness of risks is key

Employees tend to make better choices with updated information about potential risks. They can identify warning signs, typical attack types, security protocols, and best practices. These work environments enable employees to consider cybersecurity proactively.

  • Adopt Only Trustworthy and Safe Collaboration Tools

Software as a Service is a cost-saving methodology, but its platforms need close leakage monitoring.

  • Use multiple-factor authentication

Business collaboration tools gain an additional layer of security with multi-factor authentication (MFA).

  • Access Control Audits and Configurations

For reliable cybersecurity, access control configuration is essential. These limitations on access ought to be activated by default.

Employee role changes, and technological requirements inevitably vary as the business expands.

Businesses must regularly audit and monitor access controls to stay ahead of these transitions, especially since collaborative tools may be around for a while.

For more such updates follow us on Google News ITsecuritywire News. Please subscribe to our Newsletter for more updates.