Your organization’s knowledge base, or knowledge engagement platform, is one of its most valuable assets. The information contained within this centralized hub empowers your workforce to work autonomously, drives more meaningful interactions, and helps your team consistently deliver the best possible experience to the people you serve.
Anything that compromises this asset compromises your entire company—and that’s why protecting your knowledge base should be one of your team’s leading priorities.
But as cybersecurity risks continue to grow, and employees are entrusted with more responsibility in collecting, storing, and sharing information, safeguarding your knowledge base is becoming more challenging. Knowledge base security has never been more critical.
To help you protect your knowledge engagement platform, we’re sharing several essential security-bolstering practices:
Select a SOC 2 Compliant Provider
SOC 2 is an auditing procedure developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to ensure any third-party vendors or service providers you use are taking every possible measure to protect your data. When choosing any SaaS vendor — including a knowledge base provider — it’s crucial you ensure they’re SOC 2 certified.
To become certified, a vendor submits to an assessment by an independent auditor. A SOC 2 evaluation covers the following principles:
- Security: How well does the organization protect its systems against unauthorized access? For example, do they use web application firewalls (WAFs), two-factor authentication, or intrusion detection?
- Availability: Does the vendor’s system, product, and/or service availability meet the minimum acceptable performance levels stipulated in the service level agreement (SLA)? This involves assessing network performance and how the organization handles security incidents.
- Processing integrity: Processing integrity refers to whether or not a provider’s data processing is valid, complete, accurate, authorized, and timely.
- Confidentiality: How well does the provider retain data confidentiality? For example, do they restrict access and disclosure to only specific sets of authorized personnel? And, do they leverage data encryption to protect information during transmission?
- Privacy: Does the vendor comply with its own privacy notice when it comes to collecting, using, retaining, and disposing of personal information like names, addresses, and social security numbers? And what controls has the organization put in place to ensure sensitive personal identifiable information (PII) doesn’t fall into the wrong hands?
Organizations must be re-evaluated every three years to retain SOC 2 certification. As a client, you can request your knowledge base provider regularly issue you a SOC 2 report (such as once per year, or even every six months) to make sure they’re adhering to the five principles.
Set Appropriate Permissions for Each Team
While it’s important for company leaders to be transparent and give all employees access to the information they need to do their jobs, there are times where sensitive information should only be shared with the subset of employees it pertains to.
Not only can too much information be overwhelming, but failing to restrict sensitive data means critical information could fall into the hands of someone who doesn’t have the proper credentials or training to use it. Or, worse, it could be accessed by someone who allows secure information to reach someone outside of your organization.
One of the best ways to enhance your knowledge base security and prevent these sorts of adverse outcomes is to set permissions based on factors like experience level, job role, job requirements, and security clearance. In some cases, it may also make sense to set up different instances of your knowledge engagement platform, or different groups within the platform, to control who has access to sensitive information.
Adopt Security Monitoring
Even if you’ve trained employees on handling security risks and best practices for mitigating threats, accidents still happen. An employee may inadvertently download malware or unwittingly expose sensitive data to cybercriminals.
Security monitoring and threat intelligence can help protect your organization by scanning uploaded files for suspicious components (like viruses), and identifying whether your data has been compromised. This way, when mistakes occur or vulnerabilities are exposed, your security team can act quickly — before too much damage occurs.
Foster Smart Knowledge Base Security Habits Among Staff
Even if you set permissions to restrict sensitive data, it’s not always enough to prevent mistakes and mismanagement of data. Regularly training and refreshing your workforce on knowledge base security habits is essential to protecting your knowledge engagement platform—especially when part or all of your employees are working remotely.
At the bare minimum, you should require all employees to update their devices with the latest version of your anti-virus software before accessing your knowledge base. It’s also a good idea to adopt a VPN to protect your data when employees use public Wi-Fi.
Also, remind employees to follow cybersecurity best practices — especially when it comes to the following:
Show your team how to set strong passwords and change them regularly. Remind them not to write their passwords down or share them with others — including their colleagues.
Keep your team abreast of any phishing attempts circulating and how to spot potential attacks. Make sure they know never to download files or click links from unfamiliar senders, or to share any sensitive data via email. Ask your workforce to report suspicious emails to IT immediately.
Ask your team never to leave their devices unattended in a public area, or to access the company knowledge base from personal devices (unless authorized to do so by IT).
There are many apps and tools employees may want to download to their business devices. But, although they may seem harmless, not all of these programs follow the same rigorous security protocols as your company and the carefully vetted vendors you’ve partnered with. Remind team members never to download any software without IT approval.
Choose Integrations Wisely
Like most companies, you likely use a variety of enterprise technology applications to manage business operations and streamline various processes — and centralizing information and data from these tools is one of the greatest benefits your knowledge base provides. But it’s important you ensure your software integrations are safe and secure.
Work with your knowledge base provider on all integration efforts to ensure knowledge transfers are not only simple and seamless, but also well-protected.
In many ways, your knowledge base is the heart of your organization. Without the information and insights it holds, you may not be able to provide the same high-quality service your customer base has grown to expect, or access the data you need to inform high-stakes decisions. By protecting your knowledge base using these knowledge base security best practices, you can keep your data safe and available when you need it most.