Jira has become a critical tool for most of software development companies but is more and more widely used by project managers from different branches and industries. Hence, keeping an organization secure, one should understand not only the cloud landscape but also all the security measures the company should take to secure Jira for business continuity. There are a lot of threats the company can face, including outages, human errors, hardware or software failures, or even ransomware.
Thus, one of the most important questions every enterprise should find an answer to are: “What problems can our Jira account face?” and “What is the best way to ensure the security of such a management tool as Jira?” Once the company figures out the answers to the given questions and understands the necessity of the security measures, it will be able to build a reliable plan to secure Jira data and successfully implement it.
Single sign-on: can it solve the login security issue?
Single sign-on (SSO) can be rather simple and comfortable to use – but is it more secure. To answer this question, it’s better first to understand how SSO works.
Imagine that some enterprise, let’s call it X, uses Jira as their management tool and some other Atlassian product for building the company’s code – Bitbucket, for example. Of course it is useful for this company to implement SSO because this model allows users across the company’s SaaS applications to have a consistent login. Moreover it allows to create strong, unique, abstract credentials – with SSO you need to memorize one password. Security fact? The more credentials to memorize, the greater the risk of creating weak, simple and repetitive passwords. SSO eliminates it.
The employees won’t need to fill in the password line multiple times which not only eliminates the chaos between different user’s names and passwords, but also reduces the time for the employee to start his or her work as SSO permits to login once and have access to different applications with the same credentials. It ensures the level of security of entry, exit, or access to the system without any inconvenience to users.
Though, here that “but” can appear…What if some bad actor finds out the password and credentials? He can gain access to all the apps in bulk which can have a catastrophic effect as a result. Thus, the security of one single password becomes critical – but it’s easier to ensure security for one, strong password than to many, simple and repetitive ones.
Two-Factor Authentication: How much can it improve the security?
This measure of security is designed to prevent unauthorized access to an organization’s account. It works simply… First, a users should provide their standard credentials (usually username and password). Nevertheless, they doesn’t get immediate access to the account, they need to prove their identity in some independent software or tool.
One of the most popular examples of such authentication is an additional piece of verification of the user’s identity via phone or token. For example, there can be a phone call, biometric (face or finger scan), SMS code or authorization via installed app / hardware token. All of that is an advanced measure against unauthorized entry that luckily becomes a standard.
When you use SSO, then Multi-Factor Authentication is a must!
Privileges and Access: Is it another layer of protection?
When we speak about an enterprise which takes care of its data security, it’s worth mentioning that not all employees should have the same privileges and access to the information. Why? The most simple answer is human errors. The more employees have access to modify, delete, or change the data, the worse. Human mistakes happen on daily basis, and it’s worth keeping that in mind.
Let’s mention that in Jira there are three possible user permissions. They are: global permissions, project permissions, and issue security permissions. Depending on the trustworthiness of an employee, the level of permissions should differ. Only under these circumstances the security of Jira data can be increased and a Security Leader can stay sure that there is no internal danger to critical Jira information.
Backup: How can it boost data sustainability?
In light of the recent events, it’s absolutely clear that Jira data needs additional protection. Let’s remember April’s Atlassian outage when more than 700 users couldn’t access their data for 2 weeks (sic!). Try to imagine the scale of data and financial losses due to such ongoing outage. So, backup, that allows you to instantly restore entire Jira environment to the different location (i.e. self-hosted Jira account) and keep on working during outages, should definitely be taken into consideration when a data protection plan is built.
Though, to create that plan well, the organization should understand what features the backup strategy has to include. There is no doubt that it is easier and more relevant to turn to a third-party backup software. Why? Because it saves the time the Security Leaders spend on security management as they don’t need to delegate somebody from their DevOps team to write backup scripts, perform those backups, test them and maintain (one of the highest long-term costs!).
Moreover, it provides full data backup for any of Jira Cloud, Jira Service Management, or Jira Work management. For example, GitProtect.io can backup the entire Jira environment, including projects, issues, workflow, attachments, etc. It guarantees that no data will be missed during the backup procedure.
To ensure the best protection of Jira data, backup should have a comprehensive network of features which are simple for a user to implement.
The 3-2-1 backup rule
This backup rule has already become a reliable standard in the IT world. It implies that the enterprise has at least three backup copies in two different instances, one of which is offsite. To follow this standard, every organization should be able to choose at least two different locations to keep the backup copies – in the cloud, locally, multi-cloud or both, so Jira backup software should provide multi-storage compatibility option.
Retention is a feature that determines the period of time the company can keep their data. What is more, it is one of the decisive aspects to meet such security standards as SOC 2 and ISO 27001 because due to retention the company can keep the data for 10, 20, 50 years and much longer, up to forever.
A reliable backup should provide features like immutable storage to prevent malware being spread, password manager to keep data credentials safe in one place, and AES encryption with the possibility to create its own encryption key. Thus, even if the data is hit by a malicious actor, the business continuity of the enterprise won’t be under threat and the company will avoid paying huge sums of money to get their data back.
Disaster Recovery Technology
Backup is just the instrument for data accessibility and availability. Thus, proper restore opportunities and Disaster Recovery should be another “trading coin.” When it comes to immediate restore, here should be mentioned point-in-time and granular restore that let you restore only chosen data instead of recovering entire environment. Moreover, it is worth getting to know how to respond to different scenarios. For example, what to do if Atlassian is down? Or your local infrastructure and self-hosted Jira doesn’t work? Finally, can your backup software provider infrastructure go down?
Your third-party Jira backup software, like GitProtect.io, should guarantee data recoverability under any circumstances and scenarios.
When considering a backup solution for your DevOps ecosystem, make sure to know all Jira backup best practices, so that you make a decision based on those functionalities that are needed for the stability of your DevOps environment.
“Effective security measures do not come cheap.” – that the phrase said by Arlen Spencer characterizes the security measures well. As a full Jira data security includes different layers of protection which includes SSO, Two-Factor Authentication, Privilege and Access abilities, backup, ransomware protection and recovery possibilities.
It’s always worth remembering that the cost the enterprise spends on security measures is much less than the budget the company will have to spend in the event of failure (according to statistics it $1 to $4). Thus, it is always better to protect the Jira data at every stage to stay in peace of mind and have continuous access to the company’s valuable data.