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Securing entry controls in a volunteer-based group (ITSM.30.010)

Developing your incident response plan (ITSAP.40.003)



This doc is an UNCLASSIFIED publication that has been issued beneath the authority of the Head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Safety (Cyber Centre). For extra info, electronic mail, or telephone our Service Coordination Centre:

Service Coordination Centre
[email protected]
(613) 949-7048 or 1-833-CYBER-88

Efficient date

This publication takes impact on January 17, 2022.

Revision historical past
1First launch.January 17, 2022

Desk of contents


This doc outlines frequent dangers confronted by volunteer-based organizations and recommends easy methods to deal with these dangers by adapting how folks, processes, info, and applied sciences are managed. This doc is meant for cyber safety program homeowners, managers, and cyber safety practitioners.

On this publication, we’ll deal with organizations that leverage a excessive variety of volunteers. This might embody museums, political events, and electoral our bodies, or any group with a heavy reliance on volunteers. This represents further challenges that might embody a excessive turnover in volunteers and even volunteers with privileged entry.

In case your group relies on a volunteer workforce (in complete or partially), chances are you’ll face distinctive cyber safety challenges. These challenges can come up in case your setting features a workforce that may change quickly, expedite processes with lowered candidate vetting, and has restricted budgets for options and experience. If unaddressed, these elements can result in dangers that might go away your networks, methods, and knowledge susceptible to cyber threats.

1 Introduction

This doc outlines among the elements that contribute to the cyber safety dangers volunteer-based organizations expertise. To cut back these dangers, we offer some actions your group can take to make sure you can handle your folks, accounts, processes, know-how, and knowledge with safety in thoughts.

As a volunteer-based group, chances are you’ll face sure challenges that may contribute to greater ranges of cyber safety dangers. A few of these elements embody the next examples:

  • You’ve a restricted IT finances: With a restricted finances, it’s not affordable to count on that each one dangers shall be addressed. You must have a well-documented threat register (i.e. threat administration device) to prioritize dangers. Observe the 80/20 rule to scale back 80% of the dangers by addressing 20% of the identified vulnerabilities.
  • You might encounter points with account lifecycle administration: Your group must overview and ensure that each one energetic consumer accounts are essential and related to volunteers who presently require entry. Account entry needs to be revoked when a volunteer is now not working to your group.
  • You’ll want to rapidly adapt to elevated or lowered demand in your workforce: You rely closely in your volunteers, however you want the agility to ramp up or down rapidly primarily based in your workforce. Within the cyber safety context, this could imply that it’s good to quickly activate and deactivate accounts, which may result in dangers attributable to provisioning, human error, and account life cycle mismanagement.
  • You might be at the next threat of insider threats: Excessive turnover charges and shortened or bypassed vetting processes can enhance your threat of insider threats as a result of it may be tougher to establish volunteers with malicious intent. In case your group offers with extremely delicate info a extra intensive vetting course of could also be essential (e.g. police background checked).
  • You might enable volunteers to work with private gadgets or shared tools: It will not be price efficient to your group to provide volunteers corporately owned gadgets or have tools out there for everybody. Customers might share tools or use private gadgets; nevertheless, these choices introduce further dangers that your group ought to think about and consider.

2 Managing folks and accounts

There may be at all times a stage of threat related to offering somebody (i.e. worker or volunteer) entry to your networks, methods, and knowledge, no matter how a lot vetting you carry out. When coping with restricted sources (e.g. time and finances), chances are you’ll want to simply accept further dangers to accommodate your quickly altering workforce. This part covers some greatest practices that your group can implement to scale back the dangers related to consumer accounts and entry.

2.1 Vetting and reliability verification

Tailor your candidate vetting processes for the extent of entry every consumer requires. For instance, you need to conduct extra thorough and rigorous vetting for a consumer who has entry to delicate info or privileged entry to methods. Completely different vetting methods present completely different ranges of safety assurance and have various prices (each financial in addition to the time required to finish).

Your candidate vetting course of might embody the next points:

  1. Resume verification can assist you establish employment gaps or points (e.g. termination) that might signify dangers.
  2. A legal background test could be carried out rapidly and be processed via a third-party companion. Performing a legal background test supplies useful info at a low price.
  3. Reference verification is a step usually included within the candidate choice processes and can assist you collect suggestions from the candidate’s earlier managers or friends. Be cautious when validating references, as candidates don’t normally embody references who may present destructive suggestions.
  4. A cyber safety interview could be carried out to guage how snug the candidate is with cyber safety greatest practices. This may very well be useful if the candidate is to have privileged entry.
  5. A safety or reliability interview carried out by a safety officer supplies a deeper understanding of the dangers associated to a candidate. These interviews could be expensive and time consuming. This interview is normally required when working with a public sector group.

2.2 Cyber safety coaching

All volunteers needs to be educated no matter how lengthy they’re working to your group. Coaching promotes safety consciousness and reduces the dangers related to consumer behaviour. Your group ought to embody the next practices in its cyber safety coaching program:

  • Present necessary coaching when onboarding volunteers and when there are adjustments to your insurance policies and processes:
    • Tackle frequent threats to your group, cyber safety insurance policies and processes, anticipated consumer behaviour, and incident response processes;
    • Embody workouts that assist customers establish frequent threats comparable to phishing and social engineering assaults. Check with ITSAP.00.101 Don’t Take the Bait: Acknowledge and Keep away from Phishing aware 1.
    • Inform your volunteers of your group’s password coverage and supply recommendations on creating passphrases or advanced passwords. Check with ITSAP.30.032 Greatest Practices for Passphrases and Passwordsootnote 2 for extra info;
  • Present refresher coaching programs routinely (e.g. yearly) to maintain volunteers updated in your present safety practices; and
  • Tailor your coaching to deal with your group’s menace panorama and mitigation methods.
    • Define the threats which are particular to your group to assist volunteers perceive why sure safety controls are in place. Check with ITSM.10.093 High 10 IT Safety Actions: #6 Present Tailor-made Cyber Safety CoachingFootnote 3 for additional info.

2.3 Authorized issues

Previous to granting entry to your group’s methods, all volunteers ought to obtain, learn, and acknowledge their settlement to the usual organizational insurance policies (e.g. code of conduct). Your group also needs to implement an info administration (IM) and IT acceptable use coverage to cowl how gadgets are monitored and the right use of organizational belongings and knowledge.

All volunteers ought to obtain an settlement that they acknowledge and signal when employed. This settlement ought to make clear easy methods to deal with organizational info and the implications of any unauthorized sharing of that info.

Your group also needs to consider the price and advantages to having cyber safety insurance coverage to assist shield methods and knowledge. Understanding the insurance policies behind your cyber safety insurance coverage is essential when contemplating attainable assaults that may not be lined beneath phrases and situations (e.g. a state sponsored menace).

2.4 Insider menace

An insider menace is anybody who has information of, or entry to, your group’s infrastructure and knowledge and who makes use of, both knowingly or inadvertently, the infrastructure or info to trigger hurt. Insider threats can put your group’s volunteers, clients, belongings, popularity, and pursuits in danger.

Somebody may inadvertently trigger hurt to the group via the next actions:

  • Misplacing a cellular machine or detachable media;
  • Granting different folks entry to delicate info; and
  • Mishandling delicate info.

Somebody with malicious intent may perform the next actions:

  • Expropriate info and documentation;
  • Modify or delete content material;
  • Modify accounts to grant entry to unvetted customers;
  • Modify the sensitivity of a doc to make it accessible to extra folks; and
  • Carry out a ransomware assault by encrypting paperwork and asking for fee in trade of decrypting paperwork.

Interviews, safety clearances, background checks, and reference verifications are steps that assist affirm the trustworthiness of volunteers. When your workforce must be ramped up rapidly, you may not have time for thorough vetting processes. Your group would possibly want to simply accept the dangers related to a partial verification or no verification in any respect. For extra info on insider threats, see ITSAP.10.003 The way to Defend Your Group from Insider ThreatsFootnote 6.

2.5 Account lifecycle administration

Your group might must work with each short-term and long-term engagements. Quick-term engagements generally is a problem; the IT overhead is elevated, the dangers of mishandling an account are larger, and the vetting and onboarding processes have to be streamlined.

Your onboarding and offboarding processes ought to embody the next safety measures:

  • Apply the precept of least privilege to make sure that customers solely have entry to the methods and knowledge they should perform their work capabilities;
  • Disable accounts when they’re now not required;
  • Implement and implement a powerful password coverage;
    • Check with ITSAP.30.032ootnote 2 for extra info;
  • Use account creation templates which have the right safety insurance policies utilized when creating new accounts;
    • Set expiration dates on accounts primarily based on the frequency of entry opinions;
    • Think about using automation to assist handle batched account creations;
  • Set expiration dates to disable accounts primarily based on volunteers’ schedules;
  • Prohibit logon hours for customers’ accounts primarily based on volunteers’ schedules;
  • Evaluation accounts periodically and purchase supervisor approval (i.e. the accountable supervisor confirms validity of accounts and communicates again on accounts that needs to be modified or disabled); and
  • Choose a vendor in Canada for cloud account administration and be acquainted with their conditional entry insurance policies.

2.6 Authentication

In securing accounts and gadgets, you will need to use strategies of authentication to maintain delicate info safe. Implementing the next greatest practices will assist mitigate the dangers related to passwords:

  • Set up a password coverage that features the next points:
    • Requires a minimal size of 12 or extra characters for passwords;
    • Encourages the usage of passphrases of a minimum of 15 characters;
    • Enforces a minimal stage of complexity (e.g. particular characters, numbers, and letters used);
  • Use shared accounts provided that no different choices can be found;
  • Allow multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts (e.g. normal consumer accounts, administrative accounts, and privileged entry accounts) so as to add additional safety measures the place attainable; and
  • Implement an account lockout coverage.
    • Lock accounts after 3 to five makes an attempt.
    • Allow means to unlock accounts solely by administration.

See ITSAP.30.030 Safe Your Accounts with Multi-Issue Authenticationootnote 4 and ITSP.30.031 v3 Consumer Authentication Steerage for Info Expertise TechniquesFootnote 5 for extra info.

2.7 Offering and revoking entry

Securing entry for info is essential in retaining the delicate knowledge of your group safe. If many customers share related roles and want related entry, managing entry could be simpler by working towards the next:

  • Create teams in accordance with your group’s safety wants and entry necessities;
    • Customers with restricted and skim solely entry;
    • Customers with necessities for added entry (e.g. modify, transfer);
    • IT personnel with necessities round supporting the group’s workforce;
    • Particular entry customers with necessities to entry restricted viewers paperwork;
  • Leverage folder buildings that align with safety wants of assorted teams of customers primarily based on the extent of entry required;
  • Grant entry to the required teams (in lieu of every particular person) when configuring entry;
  • Add customers to teams that match every particular person position and entry stage when onboarding;
  • Take away accounts from teams when offboarding to revoke all entry;
  • Prohibit the power to view memberships and add and take away customers from teams to privileged account customers;
  • Reserve the power to vary group entry permissions to a small group of directors; and
  • Use a Cloud Entry Safety Dealer (CASB) resolution for knowledge loss prevention and IM to make sure knowledge integrity.

3 Managing processes

This part recommends greatest practices for mitigation dangers related together with your onboarding and offboarding processes. Your group wants the agility to offer all required sources rapidly and effectively to volunteers. Nevertheless, this fast transition can result in human errors, typographical errors, missed steps, or entry management errors. Beneath are suggestions to assist mitigate dangers related to processes.

3.1 Onboarding

Onboarding generally is a prolonged course of that volunteer-based organizations must streamline. Your onboarding course of would additionally ideally enable for the batch creation of accounts when a excessive variety of volunteers are required in a brief period of time. To maintain the danger as little as attainable whereas assembly this requirement, think about the next actions:

  • Use automated instruments or scripting to expedite repetitive duties;
  • Use templates with examined safety settings and insurance policies to satisfy safety necessities for brand new accounts;
    • Modifications (or makes an attempt to vary) to this template needs to be restricted and logged to mitigate pointless entry to new customers;
  • Talk default passwords safely to customers (e.g. communicated in individual, over the telephone, or in safe messaging) and require a password change at first login; and
  • Practice new volunteers as early as attainable (e.g. in-classroom, on-line coaching, or written supplies).
    • On-line coaching with a “quiz” performance can assist make it possible for the important thing parts of the coaching have been retained.

3.2 Offboarding

Offboarding is a fancy course of. There are a lot of points of the method that it’s good to think about, comparable to decentralized authentication, periods which are thought of authenticated with unexpired tokens, on-premises accounts (e.g. Energetic Listing [AD]), cloud accounts (e.g. Workplace 365, Azure AD), federated accounts (e.g. AD Federation Companies [ADFS]), and third-party accounts (e.g. software program as a service [SaaS] with separate authentication).

A very good offboarding course of wants to reduce the danger of human error and permit entry to be totally revoked if a step was not accomplished correctly.

A really helpful offboarding course of ought to embody the next parts:

  • Automate processes as a lot as attainable;
  • Disable accounts;
  • Revoke certificates and tokens from accounts;
  • Revoke authentication tokens from cloud companies;
  • Disable entry to gadgets which have entry via bring-your-own-device (BYOD) capabilities; and
  • Wipe organizational knowledge from BYODs.

4 Managing know-how

This part recommends greatest practices you can apply to mitigate the dangers related together with your know-how. Utilizing corporately owned tools ensures that you’ve got extra management over the safety of apparatus and gadgets. Whereas it’s supreme to offer corporately owned tools to everybody in your group, it may not be attainable. Providing shared tools or BYOD capabilities and dealing via cloud companies is likely to be extra manageable, however you need to make sure that you are taking steps to mitigate the dangers related to these choices. It’s attainable to offer BYOD capabilities to particular customers or teams with out essentially permitting it to all customers.

When deploying cellular gadgets and tools in your group, you need to think about completely different deployment fashions. With this know-how, managing threat relies upon partly on volunteer cooperation (i.e. willingness to permit use restrictions, monitoring, and safety entry by the group) and partly on the inherent dangers and vulnerabilities within the sorts of gadgets included. To pick out a deployment mannequin that greatest balances these parts to your group, think about consumer expertise, privateness, and safety necessities. For extra info, see ITSAP.70.002 Safety Issues for Cell System DeploymentsFootnote 7 .

Use cellular machine administration (MDM) via a trusted vendor to handle administration and monitoring on gadgets. MDM is used to implement a guidelines of automated safety measures that may embody clean onboarding and offboarding processes for all tools.

4.1 Shared tools

Shared tools could be handy and assist preserve prices down, nevertheless it additionally comes at the price of further threat. One consumer clicking a malicious electronic mail and infecting the pc has the potential to affect all customers who share the identical machine. Some cloud storage options for instance will make out there information offline by copying these information to the native laborious drive. Ought to a number of customers use the identical pc and still have offline copies of their information, every consumer’s information may very well be affected.

If volunteers use shared gadgets, the next further safety measures needs to be utilized to the gadgets:

  • Set up and continuously replace anti-virus and anti-malware software program;
  • Disable administrative rights on customers’ accounts and gadgets until it’s essential;
  • Permit separate accounts to be accessed via shared gadgets;
  • Monitor and prohibit web shopping if use is required, and block in any other case; and
  • Use digital desktop infrastructure (VDI) to mitigate the dangers related to volunteers utilizing desktops, if attainable.
    • Check with ITSAP.70.111 Utilizing Digital Desktop At-House and In-WorkplaceFootnote 8 for extra particulars on VDI.

4.2 Convey Your Personal System (BYOD)

Offering BYOD capabilities could be vastly helpful to a company. Not needing to acquire and keep gadgets reduces price. Such capabilities can enable customers to make use of private computer systems, tablets, or cellular gadgets to entry organizational knowledge. Your group can implement insurance policies to guard as a lot of your knowledge that resides on private gadgets as attainable, however the gadgets themselves stay managed by their homeowners.

The comfort and price financial savings of such capabilities can outweigh the dangers. This may put IT departments in a state of affairs the place it’s not “if” this needs to be carried out however “how” can or not it’s carried out safely.  

When contemplating a BYOD choice, think about the next safety measures:

  • Utility safety coverage

    • Stop group contacts from being accessed by purposes not protected by an utility safety coverage;
    • Solely enable set up of purposes from trusted sources; and
    • Isolate BYOD gadgets on a special community or subnet if they’re required to hook up with the enterprise community. Leverage firewalls to filter what connections are allowed to and from the BYOD community will assist scale back the danger related to private gadgets on a company community.
  • Offboarding course of

    • Embody the mandatory steps to disconnect any BYOD gadgets, and revoke authentication tokens, and wipe group knowledge from gadgets when offboarding.
  • Logging and auditing controls

    • Log all actions carried out by BYOD gadgets; and
    • Use a CASB to register and monitor gadgets.
  • System compliance

    • Implement a conditional entry coverage, previous to granting entry, to ensure private gadgets usually are not compromised;
    • Guarantee gadgets are related with consumer accounts and issued certificates;
    • Confirm the machine isn’t jail damaged (iOS), rooted (Android), or in any other case compromised;
    • Configure an utility safety coverage for BYOD gadgets to implement further safety necessities earlier than firm knowledge could be accessed (e.g. PIN, password, biometric); and
    • Allow entry solely to gadgets that meet the compliance necessities (e.g. not rooted or jailbroken, working a latest model of the working system, an authorized machine producer).

4.3 Monitoring

Monitoring and logging exercise is important to report incidents and reply successfully. The next areas needs to be logged and saved a minimum of 90 days or longer, if attainable:

  • Consumer logins (e.g. profitable or failed);
  • Consumer modifications (e.g. create, delete, disable, password change);
  • Paperwork accessed and actions made (e.g. create, copy, transfer, obtain, delete);
  • Safety group modifications (e.g. added and eliminated customers);
    • Including a consumer to a gaggle and including a gaggle to a gaggle is likely to be logged otherwise (e.g. completely different occasion ID);
  • Privileged entry logins and logouts; and
    • Any adjustments utilized throughout a privileged session;
  • Backups carried out (e.g. errors reported).

Your group’s logs ought to show correct time stamps and usernames. The logs also needs to be monitored. If attainable, use a safety info and occasion administration (SIEM) system or safety operations centre (SOC) to observe logs and occasions across the clock.

5 Managing info

5.1 Info dealing with

To safe your group’s knowledge when being dealt with by volunteers and applied sciences, all paperwork needs to be marked with their acceptable sensitivity stage. You must require and implement marking info. To assist with this course of, create easy and clear tips to make sure that all volunteers know easy methods to mark info adequately.

An instance of a dissemination mannequin is the Site visitors Gentle Protocol (TLP), which is a mannequin that was created by the UK Authorities’s Nationwide Infrastructure Safety Coordination Centre. You should utilize this mannequin to establish delicate info and label it with designations to make sure that the knowledge is shared appropriately when sharing is required. The TLP consists of 4 designations:

  • White: Distribution isn’t restricted, and the knowledge could be shared with anybody;
  • Inexperienced: Distribution stays throughout the group;
  • Amber: Distribution stays throughout the group and is restricted to a need-to-know foundation solely; and
  • Crimson: Distribution is restricted to assembly attendees and dialog individuals.

For extra info on the TLP, discuss with Site visitors Gentle Protocol (TLP) FIRST Requirements Definitions and Utilization SteerageFootnote 9 .

As soon as info has been marked, know-how could be leveraged to make sure that info doesn’t transcend boundaries set by the group. Firewalls, knowledge loss prevention know-how, cloud entry safety dealer, and different applied sciences can be utilized to stop the mishandling of data (unintended or deliberate). Having your info marked will assist make the know-how resolution more practical.

6 Supporting content material

6.1 Record of abbreviations

Energetic Listing
Energetic Listing Federation Companies
Convey Your Personal System
Cloud Entry Safety Dealer
iPhone Working System
Info Expertise
Multi-Issue Authentication
Private Identification Quantity
Software program as a Service
Safety Info and Occasion Administration
Safety Operations Centre
Site visitors Gentle Protocol
Digital Desktop Infrastructure

6.2 Glossary

Administrative privileges
The permissions that enable a consumer to carry out sure capabilities on a system or community, comparable to putting in software program and altering configuration settings.
Biometrics refers back to the measurement and use of your distinctive physique traits (e.g. fingerprints, retinas, facial construction, speech, or vein patterns).
Staff use their very own gadgets for enterprise functions, and organizations might select to cowl among the prices related to the gadgets. Nevertheless, as a result of your group doesn’t personal the machine, it has little management over the safety controls carried out on the machine.
A cloud entry safety dealer is a cloud primarily based software program that displays actions and enforces safety measures between accounts and purposes.
Categorized info
A Authorities of Canada label for particular sorts of delicate knowledge that, if compromised, may trigger hurt to the nationwide curiosity (e.g. nationwide defence, relationships with different international locations, financial pursuits).
Changing info from one kind to a different to cover its content material and forestall unauthorized entry.
Insider menace
Anybody who has information of or entry to your group’s infrastructure and knowledge and who makes use of, both knowingly or inadvertently, the infrastructure or info to trigger hurt.
The method of exploiting a tool to take away limitations imposed by the producer. Additionally known as rooting on Android gadgets working the Android working system.
Least privilege
The precept of giving a person solely the set of privileges which are important to performing approved duties. This precept limits the harm that may consequence from the unintended, incorrect, or unauthorized use of an info system.
An try by a 3rd celebration to solicit confidential info from a person, group, or group by mimicking or spoofing, a particular, normally well-known model, normally for monetary achieve. Phishers try to trick customers into disclosing private knowledge, comparable to bank card numbers, on-line banking credentials, and different delicate info, which they might then use to commit fraudulent acts.
A kind of malware that denies a consumer’s entry to a system or knowledge till a sum of cash is paid.
Within the cyber safety context, the chance and the affect of a menace utilizing a vulnerability to entry an asset.
SIEM is a services or products that gathers giant portions of safety logs and performs automated aggregation, normalization, occasion reporting, incident administration and different safety performance. Consumer behaviour evaluation may also be performance offered by a SIEM.
A SOC is normally comprised of a crew of safety analysts reviewing logs and occasions across the clock, performing actual time analysis of occasions, carry out deep dives when essential and supply incident reporting and response.
Any potential occasion or act (deliberate or unintended) or pure hazard that might compromise IT belongings and knowledge.
Utilizing know-how to host digital desktop environments on organizationally owned or private gadgets. This know-how allows customers to entry their workstations via a digital session related to the machine.
A flaw or weak spot within the design or implementation of an info system or its setting that may very well be exploited by a menace actor to adversely have an effect on a company’s belongings or operations.

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