Here at TimeControl Headquarters, we think about security all the time. Security for modern day applications is a multi-faceted conversation. We have to think about keeping TimeControl safe of course and that effort goes all the way into the architecture as we think about database access, application protection and more. With TimeControl Online we have to consider the environment as well including the servers, malware protection, monitoring and more.
Aside from keeping the application and its underlying structure safe, we have to also think about security from an application standpoint. TimeControl’s internal security includes everything from authentication and single-sign-on to data access, menu control and down-to-the-field level controls on every aspect of the product.
We use the OWASP security standards to test TimeControl and test for any vulnerabilities and eliminate them before TimeControl users would ever encounter them.
Aside from our own testing, we have a third party conduct a security audit to ensure we are SOC II certified.
Because TimeControl is available both for an on-premise deployment or as TimeControl Online, our Software as a Service subscription in the Cloud, there are different resources for thinking about TimeControl security. Take a look at the TimeControl On Premise Security Architecture or the TimeControlOnline Security Architecture white papers for an in-depth look at security or stop by the TimeControl Security page for more information.
With the launch of TimeControl 7, we are gradually working through updating the vast array of TimeControl resource that are available online. This week saw a rewrite of the TimeControl On-Premise Security Architecture white paper which is now available on the TimeControl.com website. Rewriting such material gets everyone thinking about the subject matter so security turns out to be one of our most popular internal conversations this week.
To be fair, security has been a topic of conversation for the TimeControl developers since long before the first version of TimeControl was released. The first ever timesheet that HMS created was 10 years before TimeControl. Our client, Philips Information Systems in Canada needed a timesheet that would integrate with both the Payroll system and the Project Scheduling system. Security was a huge element of the design as the data for Payroll was, of course, very sensitive and the costing information in the project system was information that would have been terribly damaging to the company if it fell into the hands of competitors.
That original HMS timesheet was very secure for its time and there are elements of that design that live in TimeControl still. But times have changed and the threat of data and systems compromise has become ever more sophisticated each year since that first timesheet system.
While the TimeControl On-Premise Security Architecture reveals many of the elements of the TimeControl deign that lend themselves to a safe and secure system, it is primarily a document that lets prospective clients review TimeControl against their own security standards. Yes, we use the latest in many technology designers in TimeControl and we test against the OWASP standards (owasp.org) looking for potential threats and ensuring we protect against them but there are risks that you can implement at that are beyond the security architecture we designed for TimeControl. Here are a couple of basic tips you can think about regardless of your size:
- Have a security plan for your key systems and data and choose someone to be accountable for it.
- Authentication is key. How do people authenticate to your network, to your applications and even to your building.
- Outward facing or inward? Does TimeControl need to be accessible to the Internet or will it serve your purposes just as well being available only within the corporate firewall? Inward implementations aren’t as easily accessible and that can mean they’re safer.
- Don’t forget physical security. If someone can get physical access to the servers, they can get access to your systems.
- Monitor. Make sure you take advantage of the many technologies available to monitor unauthorized access or out of pattern use of your applications, your data and your network.
- Functional and Data restrictions. In TimeControl, User Profiles determine what users can see which data and which users can use or perform which functions. Think about who needs access and don’t be scared to start with less access and later ease up on your restrictions.
- Disaster Recovery. Make a plan for your data and systems being compromised and how you’ll recover from it. Then do an actual practice to make sure your plan works. Iterative and redundant backups and a plan for restoring them is something that makes security officers sleep better.
This is not a comprehensive list of course. There are many aspects to a complete security plan that are better explained by specialists in that field. We’ve been talking about TimeControl for an On-Premise implementation. Next month as we upgrade TimeControl Online to version 7 we’ll be updating our Security Architecture white paper for TC Online and we’ll be sure to talk about that here in the blog.
You can find the TimeControl 7 On-Premise Security White paper at: TimeControl.com/resources/whitepapers