Mastering Security: 4 Best Practices To Safeguard Communications Platformsby@qbkirill
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Mastering Security: 4 Best Practices To Safeguard Communications Platforms

by KirillTolmachevAugust 18th, 2023
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Over half of global businesses have implemented communications platform as a service (CPaaS) into their current technology stacks to deliver real-time, personalized communication experiences that consumers now expect. But as these companies adopt more API-enabled CPaaS offerings, the digital landscape expands, and so does the room for cyber attacks.
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Over half of global businesses have implemented communications platform as a service (CPaaS) into their current technology stacks to deliver real-time, personalized communication experiences that consumers now expect. But as these companies adopt more API-enabled CPaaS offerings, the digital landscape expands, and so does the room for cyber attacks.

Take Poland-based Spyware, LetMeSpy. The Android phone monitoring app announced it's shutting down after a breach consisting of unauthorized access to the LetMeSpy website’s database. When users with knowledge of the phone password downloaded the app to phones, it could continually steal that person’s messages, call logs, and real-time location data.

More data now resides in the cloud than anywhere else, but too many organizations don’t know the location of their sensitive data, with 27% doing no data discovery.

Cloud-based CPaaS technology enables businesses to easily integrate customized communications capabilities into voice, video, and messaging applications. Companies gain increased convenience, but they also must do regular security checks and ensure their CPaaS provider's data protection methods align with organizational security requirements. This will help to safeguard sensitive data and protect businesses against potential threats.

To avoid cyber attacks becoming a reality at your company, let's review the top CPaaS best practices that can mitigate cybersecurity threats and safeguard your data.

  1. Implement Encryption Protocols by Default

As part of Window Synder’s “Apple Doesn’t Have Your Data” project, she successfully lobbied and enforced encryption by default in all Apple-made products, helping the company secure its reputation as a cybersecurity giant.

For the utmost security, companies must first assume a breach will happen. Then, they should take preventative measures before one does. Encryption, for example, should be the default. It protects information from man-in-the-middle attacks—hackers that access information sent between servers. This is particularly important when you share data with third parties, like your CPaaS provider.

Without proper encryption, hackers can attempt to extract information, such as credentials, to pass authentication barriers and get into your CPaaS system. But using complex algorithms to scramble messages makes content readable only to those with the encryption key.

While CPaaS providers are responsible for encryption at rest and in transit of related data, such as messages sent via the integrated communication tool, business leaders must take responsibility for this data within their infrastructure and client app. For this reason, data teams must make sure to review the encryption protocols and tools CPaaS providers have put in place, as well as their own.

  1. Protect Endpoints With Appropriate Access Controls

When integrating CPaaS software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) into apps, developers must ensure that appropriate user authentication and access controls are in place—that includes restricting allies—to protect endpoints.

Restricting access to authorized users, such as third-party providers, and commensurating access rights with employee responsibilities can decrease the threats from hackers. Developers should incorporate access controls within the context of the end-user application they are building—but the bottom line is that every API endpoint must be secured.

API endpoint security is a general best practice for product development to deliver proper access management and is particularly important in highly regulated industries or where PII data is involved. Methods include access controls, endpoint encryption, rate limiting, data validation and sanitization, and cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) policies.

For example, take healthcare companies using multi-factor authentication as patients log into an application storing their medical records or applications that handle payments. In these scenarios, authorized individuals would need to enter their passwords and another form of verification, such as a fingerprint scan or a code sent to their mobile.

Independent of the authentication in place, employees and customers should be advised not to share usernames and keep passwords confidential for access control security methods to work.

  1. Educate Employees and Boost Security Confidence

CPaaS providers are responsible for educating their staff, including developers, DevOps, quality assurance (QAs), and support teams, to build SDKs and APIs with security in mind. Nonetheless, companies must ensure they educate their team to implement client services safely into their applications too.

So for developers building the app, this includes thinking about OWASP-10 vulnerabilities and taking measures to prevent them. While DevOps will look to align the app infrastructure with security best practices, QAs will plan tests based on security-related use cases.

As API-led environments like CPaaS grow, Microsoft encourages security knowledge-sharing with a ‘report a concern’ feature. It empowers users to report worries about potential regulatory policy violations and security-related problems directly within Microsoft Teams. Others turn to intensive courses designed to certify security leaders to manage risks, create and lead high-performing security teams, and strategize proactively.

To engage users and generate a security-first culture, consider providing cybersecurity training where employees can receive certifications and rewards on completion.

  1. Run Regular Security Audits and Updates

Your business has set up encryption, access controls and educated its teams, but are these defense protocols running smoothly? It's imperative to perform regular audits and penetration testing to evaluate internal and vendors’ ongoing compliance with security requirements, identifying potential vulnerabilities.

SOC 2 (Service Organization Control 2) is a widely recognized set of standards for service organizations created by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).  To achieve SOC 2 compliance, companies must undergo a rigorous audit of their controls and processes to assess the five pillars: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

It’s much easier to depend on SOC 2 compliant CPaaS providers as these audits force an organization to consider cybersecurity for every company decision or change. For example, DevOps teams at SOC 2 compliant companies must continually run scans to identify code vulnerabilities and, to avoid wasting time and money, code with security in mind.

As part of your vendor-vetting process, make sure that CPaaS providers perform a SOC 2 audit on an annual basis—and consider achieving this audit report annually yourself. This ensures commitment to maintaining compliance by continually monitoring and improving controls and processes.

To deliver successful and trusted products to customers, implementing CPaaS security protocols must be part of the software development cycle and not an afterthought. And audits and checks must be ongoing to retain their value and guarantee the movement toward enhanced communications platform security.