Get started using GovSlack

Welcome to GovSlack, an instance of Slack designed for U.S. public sector use. Read on to learn more about how to build apps for GovSlack.

What is GovSlack?

GovSlack enables agencies, contractors, citizens, and partners to work together in one centralized, secure tool. This instance of Slack is designed to comply with the most stringent security and operational requirements of public sector customers.

GovSlack Compliance and Security

Running in AWS GovCloud certified data centers, GovSlack instances will comply with the following security standards:

  • FedRAMP*: High Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. A compliance standard that ensures proper level of security for cloud services.

  • ITAR: International Traffic in Arms Regulations. A compliance standard related to export control. Primarily requires US citizens to operate services.

  • FIPS 140.2: Federal Information Processing Standard. A standard of security/cryptography for keeping government data safe. Includes requirements on encryption key length, key management, roles/access management, physical security of servers, etc.

  • DOD IL4*: Department of Defense Impact Level 4. Standards defining different levels of information sensitivity and requirements for systems that house that data.

*GovSlack is currently pursuing FedRAMP High and DoD SRG IL4 compliance certification.

Some of these standards may be inheritable/complied with by using compliant infrastructure like AWS GovCloud but it’s up to individual providers to determine the standards they want to comply with and whether they are certified or not.

GovSlack does not run on the slack.com domain. Instead, it runs on the separate domain slack-gov.com. For compliance reasons, data between commercial Slack and GovSlack will be completely isolated.

Make your current Slack app available in GovSlack

Short answer, nothing! However, if you would like to make your app available in GovSlack you will need to deploy your app in the GovSlack environment, then have it approved and published in the GovSlack App Directory. As part of this, you can expect to:

Best Practices
We recommend keeping the same codebase and using env variables to distinguish between Commercial Slack and GovSlack instances. This can help streamline your app's review time.

  • Use V2 OAuth 2.0 and Granular Bot Permissions (GBP). Legacy V1 OAuth 2.0 and classic apps cannot be created or installed in GovSlack workspaces.
    • Redirect users to https://slack-gov.com/oauth/v2/authorize instead of http://slack.com/oauth/v2/authorize when asking for scopes during installation.
    • Make oauth.v2.access calls to the slack-gov.com domain instead of slack.com domain.
  • Call the slack-gov.com API endpoint instead of the slack.com endpoint when you use Slack Web APIs for GovSlack installations.
    • Other dynamically generated URLs your app might use, such as webhooks or a response_url, will also now point to slack-gov.com.
    • Any other hardcoded URLs to the slack.com will also need to change to slack-gov.com.
  • Specify new interactivity, events API, and other configuration URLs that will handle GovSlack functionality.

Using the SDK or Bolt?
You can override the API root in our web client or SDKs (e.g. Node SDK or Bolt for JavaScript).

Unavailable Features

  • Workflow Builder will not be immediately available in GovSlack workspaces. If your app relies on Workflow Builder being present in the workspace, or uses steps from apps, you will need to exclude these features until a future release of GovSlack reintroduces Workflow Builder in this environment.
  • The files.upload endpoint will not be available in GovSlack environments. Reach out to your Slack partner contact for alternatives if your app relies on the ability to upload files.

FAQ

Will there be a separate App Directory for apps on GovSlack?

Yes, only apps submitted to the GovSlack App Directory will be available to install in GovSlack workspaces.

Since Slack is running a FedRAMP High version, is my app in the App Directory also required to be FedRAMP High?

This is not a requirement. Each compliance level can optionally be set to None meaning that your app does not meet any of the available standards. GovSlack customers will be able to see which compliance level each app follows and can decide which apps to install in their GovSlack workspaces based on that.

What does creating another app config in GovSlack mean for the submission process?

The app submission process in GovSlack will be the same as in Commercial Slack. You will need to submit to both app directories if you want configuration changes such as new scopes, descriptions, and features, in order to be reflected in both apps.

When developing your app for listing in the GovSlack App Directory, we recommend creating a second app to serve as your development app. This will also allow us to test the updates you submit to your app once published.

Does my app need to be published to the App Directory in order to be installable?

No, similar to Commercial Slack, apps in GovSlack can be installed by one or more workspaces when public distribution has been enabled in your app config. That said, it is during the directory submission process where you define your app's compliance level.

Does my app need to be enterprise ready?

GovSlack customers will be enterprise customers, so at the very least your app should work for enterprise customers. Slack supports development of Org-wide apps to ease the install flow for admins and increase adoption of your app.

What if my app is not a Granular Bot Permissions app?

Any app that is created on a GovSlack workspace will be a Granular Bot Permissions (GBP) app with no ability to create a classic app. So if your existing app in commercial Slack is not GBP ready, then you have to upgrade before it can be configured and published in GovSlack and available in the App Directory.

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