Security and Privacy
Protecting personal information like a Swiss bank vault
Protecting personal information like a Swiss bank vault
Our foremost and primary commitment is to preserve and maintain the privacy, sanctity, and quality of the information for each individual whom we serve. From this point we earn their trust and maintain their confidence that we will always have their best interests in mind.
Our second primary commitment is to maintain the security and integrity of LACES and CommunityPro Suite to protect the data supplied by and maintained for the participating agencies. From this point we earn the agency’s trust that the information they share will be handled and maintained according to the most stringent privacy standards and the industry’s best practices.
Individuals served by CommunityPro Suite must explicitly “opt-in” to allow their personal information to be shared. The individual may “opt-out” at any time. Their permission is automatically reset to be renewed on a configurable schedule, typically after three years.
These are services sponsored by the participating agencies. They are NOT marketing databases. An individual’s private data will never be sold, rented, or given to any third parties with the intent of marketing commercial goods or services. Aggregate, non-personally-identifiable summations may be used for research, but not distributed if the individual or their family could be imputed, in accordance with the national privacy standards.
LACES and CommunityPro Suite are designed to be compliant with all the major national privacy acts governing the agencies they serve, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Our hosting services are certified to be compliant with over 26 US and international privacy and security standards.
Firewalls: Firewalls are utilized to restrict access to systems from external networks and between systems internally. By default all access is denied and only explicitly allowed ports and protocols are allowed based on business need. Each CommunityPro system is assigned to a firewall security group based on the system’s function. Security groups restrict access to only the ports and protocols required for a system’s specific function to mitigate risk.
DDoS Mitigation: Our CommunityPro Suite infrastructure provides DDoS mitigation techniques including TCP Syn cookies and connection rate limiting in addition to maintaining multiple backbone connections and internal bandwidth capacity that exceeds the Internet carrier supplied bandwidth. We work closely with our providers to quickly respond to events and enable advanced DDoS mitigation controls when needed.
Spoofing and Sniffing Protections: For CommunityPro Suite, managed firewalls prevent IP, MAC, and ARP spoofing on the network and between virtual hosts to ensure spoofing is not possible. Packet sniffing is prevented by infrastructure including the hypervisor which will not deliver traffic to an interface to which it is not addressed. Our vendor utilizes application isolation, operating system restrictions, and encrypted connections to further ensure risk is mitigated at all levels.
Port Scanning: Port scanning is prohibited and every reported instance is investigated by our infrastructure provider. When port scans are detected, they are stopped and access is blocked.
System Configuration: CommunityPro system configuration and consistency is maintained through standard, up-to-date images, configuration management software, and by replacing systems with updated deployments. Systems are deployed using up-to-date images that are updated with configuration changes and security updates before deployment. Once deployed, existing systems are decommissioned and replaced with up-to-date systems.
Customer Application Isolation: CommunityPro applications on the platform run within their own isolated environment and cannot interact with other applications or areas of the system to prevent security and stability issues. These self-contained environments isolate processes, memory, and the file system while host-based firewalls restrict applications from establishing local network connections.
System Authentication: Operating system access is limited to our CommunityPro vendor’s staff and requires username and key authentication. Operating systems do not allow password authentication to prevent password brute force attacks, theft, and sharing.
Vulnerability Management: Our CommunityPro vulnerability management process is designed to remediate risks without customer interaction or impact. We and our vendor are notified of vulnerabilities through internal and external assessments, system patch monitoring, and third-party mailing lists and services. Each vulnerability is reviewed to determine if it is applicable to our environment, ranked based on risk, and assigned to the appropriate team for resolution.
New CommunityPro systems are deployed with the latest updates, security fixes, and configurations and existing systems are decommissioned as customers are migrated to the new instances. This process allows us and our vendor to keep the environment up-to-date. Since customer applications run in isolated environments, they are unaffected by these core system updates.
To further mitigate risk, each CommunityPro component type is assigned to a unique network security group. These security groups are designed to only allow access to the ports and protocols required for the specific component type. For example, user applications running within an isolated instance are denied access to the management infrastructure as each is within its own network security group and access is not allowed between the two.
Application Security: We undergo penetration tests, vulnerability assessments, and source code reviews to assess the security of our application, architecture, and implementation. Our third party security assessments cover all areas of our CommunityPro platform including testing for OWASP Top 10 web application vulnerabilities and customer application isolation. We and our vendors work closely with external security assessors to review the security of the platform and applications and apply best practices.
Issues found in our CommunityPro applications are risk ranked, prioritized, and assigned to the responsible team for remediation; and we and our vendor’s security teams review each remediation plan to ensure proper resolution.
Our servers are located in Tier 4 data centers or their equivalent that meet or exceed the Telecommunications Industry Association and ANSI standard ANSI/TIA-942. These data centers are designed to host mission-critical computer systems, with fully redundant subsystems and compartmentalized security zones controlled by biometric access control methods. The centers and servers are operated and maintained by two of the top hosting companies in the world, and are designed and provisioned to host massively scalable, high-performance platforms and applications.
LiteracyPro Suites’ physical infrastructure is hosted and managed within our vendors’ secure data centers. Our vendors continually manage risk and undergo recurring assessments to ensure compliance with industry standards. Our CommunityPro vendor’s data center operations have been accredited under:
Sarbanes-Oxley: As a publicly traded company in the United States, our CommunityPro vendor is audited annually and remains in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002.
Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessments: Third-party security testing of the core CommunityPro platform application is performed by independent and reputable security consulting firms. Findings from each assessment are reviewed with the assessors, risk ranked, and assigned to the responsible team.
Physical Security: Our platforms utilize ISO 27001 and FISMA certified data centers managed by two of the world’s largest Internet companies. Our vendors have many years of experience in designing, constructing, and operating large-scale data centers. This experience has been applied to the platform and infrastructure. Our data centers are housed in nondescript facilities, and critical facilities have extensive setback and military-grade perimeter control berms as well as other natural boundary protection. Physical access is strictly controlled both at the perimeter and at building ingress points by professional security staff utilizing video surveillance, state-of-the-art intrusion detection systems, and other electronic means. All visitors and contractors are required to present identification and are signed in and continually escorted by authorized staff.
Our vendor provides data center access and information to employees who have a legitimate business need for such privileges. When an employee no longer has a business need for these privileges, his or her access is immediately revoked, even if they continue to be an employee of our vendor. All physical and electronic access to data centers by our vendor’s employees is logged and audited routinely.
Customer Applications: Each CommunityPro application on our vendor’s platform runs within its own isolated environment and cannot interact with other applications or areas of the system. This restrictive operating environment is designed to prevent security and stability issues. These self-contained environments isolate processes, memory, and the file system using LXC virtualization while host-based firewalls restrict applications from establishing local network connections.
Database security: LiteracyPro customer data is stored in separate access-controlled databases per application. Each database requires a unique username and password that is only valid for that specific database and is unique to a single application. Customers with multiple applications and databases are assigned separate databases and accounts per application to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access between applications.
Customer connections to databases require SSL/TLS encryption to ensure a high level of security and privacy.
Our CommunityPro stored data is encrypted by our applications in order to meet data security requirements. We implemented data storage, key management, and data retention requirements when developing our applications.
LiteracyPro Systems Applications and Databases: Our CommunityPro platform automatically restores our applications and databases in the case of an outage. The platform is designed to dynamically deploy applications within the cloud, monitor for failures, and recover failed platform components including customer applications and databases.
Platform: The platform is designed for stability, scaling, and inherently mitigates common issues that lead to outages while maintaining recovery capabilities. Our CommunityPro platform maintains redundancy to prevent single points of failure, is able to replace failed components, and utilizes multiple data centers designed for resiliency. In the case of an outage, the platform is deployed across multiple data centers using current system images and data is restored from backups. Our vendor reviews platform issues to understand the root cause, impact to customers, and improve the platform and processes.
Customer Data Retention and Destruction: We define what data your applications store and the ability to purge data from our databases to comply with our data retention requirements. If we deprovision an application and the associated database, our vendor maintains the database’s storage volume for one week after which time it is automatically destroyed rendering the data unrecoverable. LACES data as well is maintained for a specified time, after which it is automatically destroyed rendering the data unrecoverable.
Decommissioning hardware is managed by our infrastructure providers using a process designed to prevent customer data exposure.
We take steps to protect the privacy of our customers and protect data stored within the platform. Some of the protections inherent to our vendor’s products include authentication, access controls, data transport encryption, HTTPS support for customer applications, and automatically encrypted stored data.
Access to Customer Data: Our vendor’s staff does not access or interact with our or your data or applications as part of normal operations. There may be cases where our vendor is requested to interact with your or our data or applications at our request for support purposes or where required by law. Customer data is access controlled and all access by our vendor’s staff is accompanied by our approval or government mandate, reason for access, actions taken by staff, and support start and end time.
Employee Screening and Policies: As a condition of employment all of our vendor’s employees undergo pre-employment background checks and agree to company policies including security and acceptable use policies.
Security Staff: Our vendor’s security team is led by the Chief Information Security officer (CISO) and includes staff responsible for application and information security. The security team works closely with the entire vendor organization and customers to address risk and continue our and our vendor’s commitment to trust.
Fire Detection and Suppression: Automatic fire detection and suppression equipment has been installed to reduce risk. The fire detection system utilizes smoke detection sensors in all data center environments, mechanical and electrical infrastructure spaces, chiller rooms, and generator equipment rooms. These areas are protected by either wet-pipe, double-interlocked pre-action, or gaseous sprinkler systems.
Power: The data center electrical power systems are designed to be fully redundant and maintainable without impact to operations, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units provide back-up power in the event of an electrical failure for critical and essential loads in the facility. Data centers use generators to provide backup power for the entire facility.
Climate and Temperature Control: Climate control is required to maintain a constant operating temperature for servers and other hardware, which prevents overheating and reduces the possibility of service outages. Data centers are conditioned to maintain atmospheric conditions at optimal levels. Monitoring systems and data center personnel ensure temperature and humidity are at the appropriate levels.
Management: Data center staff monitor electrical, mechanical and life support systems and equipment so issues are immediately identified. Preventative maintenance is performed to maintain the continued operability of equipment.
Customer Applications: Applications deployed to our platform are automatically backed up as part of the deployment process on secure, access controlled, and redundant storage. We use these backups to deploy your application across our platform and to automatically bring CommunityPro back online in the event of an outage.
Customer Databases: Continuous protection keeps data safe on our database. Every change to your CommunityPro data is written to write-ahead logs, which are shipped to multi-data center, high-durability storage. In the unlikely event of unrecoverable hardware failure, these logs can be automatically “replayed” to recover the database to within seconds of its last known state.
Customer Configuration and Meta-information: Our CommunityPro configuration and meta-information is backed up every minute to the same high-durability, redundant infrastructure used to store our database information. These frequent backups allow capturing of changes made to the running application configuration added after the initial deployment.
Platform: From our instance images to our databases, each CommunityPro component is backed up to secure, access-controlled, and redundant storage. Our platform allows for recovering databases to within seconds of the last known state, restoring system instances from standard templates, and deploying customer applications and data. In addition to standard backup practices, our vendor’s infrastructure is designed to scale and to be fault tolerant by automatically replacing failed instances and reducing the likelihood of needing to restore from backup.
Encrypt Data in Transit: We enable HTTPS for applications and SSL database connections to protect sensitive data transmitted to and from applications.
Encrypt Sensitive Data at Rest: We encrypt sensitive CommunityPro data in stored files and data within databases to meet data security requirements. Data encryption is deployed using industry-standard encryption and the best practices for our language and framework.
Secure Development Practices: We apply development best practices for our chosen development language and framework to mitigate known vulnerability types such as those on the OWASP Top 10 web application security risks.
Authentication: To prevent unauthorized account access, we use a strong passphrase for both your user account and SSH keys, we store SSH keys securely to prevent disclosure, we replace keys if lost or disclosed, and we use a secure model to invite contributors rather than sharing user accounts.