Organizational security: How to keep your data safe?

Sara Ana Cemazar
November 1, 2022
min read

Online business risks are ever-increasing as we move further into the digital age. Cyber threats are becoming increasingly common, so taking proactive steps to reduce attacks is important. One way to do this is by implementing a robust organizational security policy that covers all possible vulnerabilities.

Data security is essential for businesses that deal with sensitive information regularly. Even though businesses are encouraged to promote a culture of security within their offices and to educate employees about the threats and what they can do to avoid them, some employees might still make mistakes.

What is organizational security policy?

The organizational security policy is a key document for defining the scope of a business or organization's cybersecurity efforts. It should include information on goals, responsibilities, the structure of the security program, compliance, and the approach to risk management.

This document is essential for ensuring that everyone knows their role in protecting the organization from cyber threats in the age of digital collaboration. Adopting the right data security model is critical for organizational security.

The 3 classic security models

Security models can be used to maintain security goals, i.e., Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. 

1. Bell-LaPadula security model

organizational security

This model was invented by scientists David Elliot Bell and Leonard J. LaPadula to help maintain security and confidentiality. It classifies subjects (users) and objects (files) in a non-discretionary way, organizing different layers of secrecy. This makes it easier to track who should have access to what, preventing unauthorized people from viewing sensitive information.

Bell-LaPadula has three main rules:

1. Simple confidentiality rule: The simple confidentiality rule states that the subject can only read files on the same or lower layer of secrecy.

2. Star confidentiality rule: This rule dictates that the subject can only write files on the same or upper layer of secrecy.

3. Strong star confidentiality rule: The strong star confidentiality rule is highly secure, allowing subjects to read and write files on the same level of secrecy. 

2. Biba security model

organizational security

The Biba Model, invented by scientist Kenneth J. Biba, is a security model used to maintain data integrity. In this model, subjects (users) and objects (files) are classified in a non-discretionary fashion according to different levels of secrecy. 

Biba classic security model has three main rules:

1. Simple integrity rule: The simple integrity rule states that a subject can only read files on the same or higher level of secrecy. 

2. Star integrity rule: The star integrity rule states that the subject can only write files on the same or lower layer of secrecy.

3. Strong star integrity rule: This rule is highly secure and states that the subject can only read and write the files on the same layer of secrecy. 

3. Clarke-Wilson security model

organizational security

The Clark-Wilson model was developed after the Biba model and focused on preventing unauthorized users from modifying data or committing fraud and errors within commercial applications.

This model requires users to go through programs to modify objects, prevents unauthorized users from making improper modifications by enforcing separation of duties, and maintains an audit log for external transactions.

Bonus: Zero Trust model

organizational security

The Zero Trust security model is based on the philosophy that no person or device, inside or outside an organization's network, should have access to IT systems or services until they have authenticated their identity.

Under the Zero Trust model, all devices and people must be strongly authenticated and authorized before access to private networks or data transfers occur. The process combines analytics, filtering, and logging to verify behavior and monitor compromised signals. If a user or device behaves differently than before, it is monitored as a possible threat. This can ensure optimal data security.

The Zero Trust model has five basic principles:

1. Every user on a network is always assumed to be hostile

2. External and internal threats exist on the network at all times

3. Network locality is not sufficient for deciding trust in a network

4. Every device, user, and network flow is authenticated and authorized

5. Policies must be dynamic and calculated from as many sources of data as possible

Who is responsible for making an organization secure?

The short answer is: everybody! Unintentional human errors and accidents cause 90% of data breaches. Every employee, partner, contractor, customer, or app user is susceptible to social engineering methods (baiting, phishing, spear phishing, vishing, etc.) that cybercriminals use to trick people into divulging sensitive information. They then use this information to access the organization’s systems and data.

7 ways to increase organizational security

1. Regular audits and testing

Security audits are important to identify potential loopholes or issues in a company's workflow and collaboration process. It is also necessary to audit third-party integrations and apps. By having such audits and reviews, potential problems can be fixed before they become actual issues.

2. Employee training

It's important to prioritize reducing human error as a potential entry point for data breaches by regularly conducting security awareness training. It's beneficial for everyone to be aware of security protocols, especially with all the information being shared between employees and across different tools. 

3. On-premise deployment

On-premise deployment is an additional method for deploying and enhancing data security that benefits highly regulated industries. With on-premise deployment, the organization has complete control over the data exchange within the workplace. This is important to organizational security as it guarantees that the data will be secure and unauthorized people cannot access it.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

Talk to sales

4. Access control

It's important to have a proper document access management solution for secure document collaboration. The required files must be easily retrievable by the administrators who have access to the information. For existing and former employees, document access should be allowed or restricted based on position and usage.

5. Encryption

Encryption is a standard data protection protocol that ensures only the sender and receiver hold the decryption keys and can access the message content. Encrypting data adds a layer of security that helps protect your information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals.

6. Data hygiene

Data hygiene refers to the cleanliness of your data set or collection of data. Data hygiene encompasses any process you undergo to clean up your data and maintain that cleanliness moving forward. Data should be error-free, understandable, organized, and easy to duplicate. Maintaining good data hygiene is important to organizational security because error-filled data can lead to malfunctions, breakages, delays, viruses, and inaccuracy.

7. Establishing physical security

Physical security is vital for protecting personnel, hardware, software, networks, and data from physical actions and events that could cause serious loss or damage. This includes protection from fire, flood, burglary, theft, vandalism, and terrorism. Insurance may cover some of these risks, but physical data security focuses on preventing damage and saving time, money, and resources that would otherwise be lost.

Organizational security + uninhibited collaboration: Is it possible?

Yes, and the best time to secure your collaboration was yesterday.

At Rocket.Chat, we are committed to protecting your data. We adhere to the strictest security standards by complying with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). We also upgrade our practices internally with the help of our open-source community.

Rocket.Chat is available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and the Web.

Our commitments align if your goal is data protection and organizational security. Get in touch with our team to create a stress-free collaborative experience for your workplace, or download this checklist on the 12 things to look for in a secure business communication platform

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
Related Article:
Team collaboration: 5 reasons to improve it and 6 ways to master it
Want to collaborate securely with your team?
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise or in the cloud and keep your conversations private.
  • Digital sovereignty
  • Federation capabilities
  • Scalable and white-labeled
Talk to sales
Looking for a HIPAA-ready communications platform?
Enable patients and healthcare providers to securely communicate without exposing their data.
  • Highly scalable and secure
  • Full patient conversation history
  • HIPAA-ready
Talk to sales
The #1 communications platform for government
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise, in the cloud, or air-gapped environment.
  • Secure data governance and digital sovereignty
  • Trusted by State, Local, and Federal agencies across the world
  • Matrix federation capabilities for cross-agency communication
Talk to sales
Want to customize Rocket.Chat according to your own preferences?
See behind the engine and change the code how you see fit.
  • Open source code
  • Highly secure and scalable
  • Unmatched flexibility
Talk to sales
Looking for a secure collaboration platform?
Keep your conversations private while enjoying a seamless collaboration experience with Rocket.Chat.
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cloud or on-prem deployment
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
Talk to sales
Want to build a highly secure in-app chat experience?
Use Rocket.Chat’s APIs, frameworks, and managed backend to build a secure in-app or live chat experience for your customers.
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
  • Highly secure and flexible
  • On-prem or cloud deployment
Talk to sales

Our best content, once a week

Share this on:

Get your free, personalized demo now!

Build the most secure chat experience for your team or customers

Book demo