Is Slack encrypted? Slack encryption in 2023

Is Slack encrypted? How secure are the messages and meetings held on the collaboration platform, and can you really trust Slack to protect your data?

In the evolving world of work, collaboration tools like Slack have become essential for syncing and aligning teams. But as messaging and meeting platforms become the central platform for sharing data and knowledge, organizations are increasingly concerned about security.

A Slack security breach would not only affect team productivity in today’s world. It could also mean that companies are at risk of losing or disclosing large amounts of important data. Most messaging apps and collaboration tools have responded to the increasing need for security in recent years. Almost all meeting tools, from Zoom to Google Meet, now have extensive encryption and security features.

However, Slack is the unusual. Despite improvements to its security and compliance standards in recent years, Slack still requires few essential security features for businesses.

Here’s everything you need to know about Slack encryption in 2023.

Is Slack encrypted? The Slack encryption standards

Encryption is an essential feature of any collaboration app. It protects business data from third parties by giving each person’s device a “digital key” that they can use to unlock a message. So are Slack messages encrypted? The answer is a bit complex.

Slack says it encrypts all messages and data at rest and in transit for every customer, whether you’re on a free or paid plan. The cooperation company also implements various other measures to ensure the security of business communications. It offers single sign-on support, domain claim, e-discovery tools, and data loss prevention integrations.

Slack also provides teams with governance and risk management capabilities. Businesses can set their retention policies, set up custom terms of use (on some plans), and use audit trails. In addition, business leaders on Slack can assign team members different roles for access management.

With the Slack service it is possible to use two-factor authentication as well as user and group provisioning strategies via SCIM. It all sounds incredibly promising — but there’s a problem. Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption.

Is Slack fully encrypted? Slack end-to-end encryption

While Slack offers basic encryption for its messaging and collaboration tools, it hasn’t implemented end-to-end encryption. This means that a data breach affecting Slack could have potentially catastrophic consequences for users and give hackers full access to private messages.

According to a former Slack employee in an interview with Vice, companies that pay for the Slack service have not made end-to-end encryption a priority. By not using end-to-end encryption, Slack gives organizations more control over how their teams are monitored.

The lack of end-to-end encryption is a double-edged sword for the collaboration company. It enables compliance with federal laws on corporate-level record retention.

However, this also means that the platform is more vulnerable to attackers. We’ve seen examples in the past of just how serious data breaches can be at Slack. Even big companies like EA lost 780GB of data in a data breach, and Slack itself suffered a serious breach in 2021 when its Android app was compromised.

According to Slack, previous companies using the app were more concerned with “enterprise key management” than E2E encryption. Slack offers this with its EKM services, allowing organizations to control their keys for internal investigations, compliance, and audits. However, it appears that business priorities are changing.

In June of this year, over 90 companies signed a letter urging Slack to adopt end-to-end encryption and improve its privacy capabilities.

How vulnerable is Slack without end-to-end encryption?

So does the lack of end-to-end encryption mean Slack is unsuitable for business communications? Not necessarily. As mentioned above, Slack takes security and protection very seriously. With Slack, customers can manage users and groups, assign roles and permissions, and leverage privacy tools.

Slack also has multiple compliance certifications, from ISO/IEC 27001, 27017, 27018, and 27701 to SOC 2 and 3, CSA, and more. The app is also HIPAA, FINRA, FedRAMP, and GDPR certified. It certainly checks a lot of boxes for compliance.

Slack also has its own “bug bounty” program. This means everyone is invited to report vulnerabilities they find on the platform for a reward. This allows Slack to quickly identify and fix vulnerabilities in the ecosystem before they are exploited.

Slack also offers:

SAML-based single sign-on Session duration management Two-factor authentication Mobile device management Enterprise mobility management Default browser controls Message and file download blocking Data loss prevention

Additionally, Slack integrates with various tools from security and compliance vendors, allowing organizations to extend their security processes.

Additionally, in 2019 the company expanded its ecosystem to include Enterprise Key Management, which gives admins more control over how information is shared at a granular level. However, these features may not be a true substitute for full end-to-end encryption.

Is Slack less secure than Teams, Zoom, or Webex?

If you’re wondering, “Is Slack encrypted?” Security is probably a core concern of your business. Compared to other popular collaboration tools, Slack may not offer the same level of protection. While it offers many of the same features as tools like Teams, Zoom, and Webex, all of these other platforms offer end-to-end encryption.

Microsoft Teams offers end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls, and with Microsoft Purview, gives businesses a variety of zero-trust compliance and security tools. Zoom introduced end-to-end encryption in 2020 as part of an evolving security strategy. This allows anyone to enable E2E at the account level within a company.

Webex also takes a zero-trust approach to security with end-to-end encryption and robust identity verification for meetings and chats. Slack’s lack of comprehensive encryption is perhaps one of the few reasons why Slack lags behind its competitors.

Is Slack secure? Tips to protect your business

Slack isn’t necessarily a dangerous business collaboration and communication tool. The company says it constantly reviews and updates its security standards based on customer feedback. Additionally, it offers many security, privacy, and compliance tools that team leaders would expect from a messaging tool.

However, organizations may need to implement additional security measures to ensure Slack is fully secure. To minimize the risk of data breaches, business leaders should:

Avoid sharing sensitive information: Since Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption, all personal information shared on the platform is at risk of being stolen. To stay compliant, consider implementing policies about what types of information should and shouldn’t be shared in Slack channels. Use two-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication is a way around some of the security issues with Slack. Enabling two-factor authentication should make it difficult for criminals to access Slack accounts using only credentials. Luckily, Slack makes implementing 2FA relatively easy through your account settings. Manage employee onboarding and offboarding: Keeping track of which users have access to Slack is crucial. Organizations should implement a documented process for managing Slack access. Ensure that any collaborators removed from the workspace also lose access to their Slack data and implement the right EMM strategies. Leverage access management controls: Use Slack’s identity and device management tools to control which employees can access data in your ecosystem. You can also use Slack Connect to invite guests to Slack channels without giving them full access to the data. Be careful with third-party integrations: While Slack’s integrations for teams can be helpful, they’re not all as secure as they seem. Examine the security data of every application added to Slack and avoid unsafe tools. Defend yourself against phishing attempts: Slack has been the victim of phishing attempts in the past, and this problem is only increasing in the collaborative world. Business leaders should ensure they have strategies in place to educate teams about phishing attacks and reduce the risk of employees accessing dangerous files. Is Slack secure for business collaboration?

Slack’s lack of end-to-end encryption has raised concerns among business users. While the basic answer to “Is Slack encrypted” is yes, the platform isn’t as secure as it could be. That doesn’t mean Slack doesn’t have security and compliance features. Slack still offers many of the protections that businesses need from a collaboration app.

However, without end-to-end encryption, Slack may not be able to fully protect its enterprise users as security threats continue to evolve. Until Slack changes its stance on end-to-end encryption, business leaders should be cautious about how their teams share data on the platform.