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7 Best Practices for Salesforce Sandbox Management

Sandbox management might sound like something that takes place in a daycare, but it’s actually a very useful method of improving the Salesforce development environment.

Utilizing a sandbox is a great way to reduce risk and increase efficiency. It creates an entirely separate environment which can be used for developing, training, and testing.

Sandboxes provide a risk-free environment for realistic training exercises, streamlined testing and trials of new code, and increased stability for the organization.

Salesforce Sandbox Management_AutoRABITStrategic benefits are enabled through proper usage of Salesforce sandbox management. These sandboxes can be spread not only throughout multiple developers, but different geographic locations altogether. Maintaining an updated overview of the sandboxes can become convoluted and difficult as they grow large.

Keeping tabs on these sandboxes, however, enables a development team to:

  • Minimize disruptions to your overall operations
  • Test new apps, features, and configurations prior to production
  • Increase productivity
  • Train users in a real-world environment

The ultimate goal of sandboxes is to contribute to increased satisfaction for the end user. Fewer disruptions for developers will help produce higher quality applications or updates.

So how can you get the most from your development sandboxes?

1. Appoint a Manager

A dedicated member of your team should be identified to oversee all the various aspects of the project. It can be difficult to keep track of multiple sandboxes. The efforts of an appointed individual can keep tabs on this process to make sure everything stays on track.

The manager will oversee the planning, activities, and decisions associated with the layout and operation of your Salesforce sandbox environments.

Tools will be implemented to assist with these responsibilities. A knowledgeable and organized individual will be essential to putting together an efficient structure and plan that can be followed by the development team.

2. Choose Your Sandbox

Salesforce offers 4 choices for sandboxes. There are a few considerations that will point you toward the best sandbox to achieve your goals.

Here are 4 choices for Salesforce sandboxes:

  1. Developer: This is best choice for metadata specific development, proof of concept, or an area for developers to review the impact of potential changes. Can be refreshed every day.
  2. Developer Pro: This sandbox affords the same capabilities as the Developer option, but with a higher storage limit. This allows you to load records and test new features and customizations. Can be refreshed every day.
  3. Partial Copy: This option requires a sandbox template and can be used to test specific areas of the application with data sets taken from production. Can be refreshed every 5 days.
  4. Full Copy: This sandbox is usually used for quality assurance checks at the end of the production cycle as a final step before the changes are deployed into production. It includes a full copy of the production data. Can be refreshed every 29 days.

3. Take Time to Plan

Arranging the proper direction for your sandbox environments takes a bit of time. There are a handful of considerations to keep in mind that can shape your approach.

Salesforce Sandbox Management_AutoRABIT

How often do you need to refresh your sandbox? What functions will be carried out in each one? How much data do you need to test? Which users will need access to each sandbox?

The answers to these questions will help you to assign user permissions, determine migration plans for each sandbox, estimate the time needed for each necessary process.

Putting more work in the planning stage will improve the flow, efficiency, and success of your development process as your team progresses through the project.

4. Install Security Measures

Data security should be a constant concern. This includes considerations such as protecting against cybercriminals, but it also includes protecting the information itself from overexposure to your team members.

About 60% of organizations reported more than 30 insider attacks between 2018 and 2020.

We’d like to trust every member of our team, but there are ways to mitigate risk to sensitive information by simply hiding it. Redacting data such as your customers’ personally identifiable information—social security numbers and account numbers, for instance—remove any possibility this data will become compromised.

Updated user permissions and data obfuscation are just two examples of data security measures that should be in place at the beginning of a development project.

5. Institute Testing Protocol

The ability to test new development projects without impacting the functionality of the update is one of the most useful affordances of a sandbox. Each project is going to have its own specific needs and capabilities, so each version of testing is going to vary.

Which point in the development cycle will most benefit from testing? Will it happen more than once?

Questions such as these will point you in the most beneficial direction for when and how you will test your code. Establish a standard before starting the project so your team members know when they are supposed to perform specific operations.

6. Document Everything

Salesforce Sandbox Management_AutoRABITAccountability is essential when working in a multi-developer team. Who is responsible for what updates? This can be used to seek out individuals worthy of praise. It can also be used to learn of consistent errors and create an opportunity for improvement.

Using multiple sandboxes can grow confusing—name each environment, the uses of each sandbox, and the procedures to be performed.

The ability to review this information not only increases visibility into each aspect of the process but can be used to inform future projects. Successes can be repeated, and failures can be avoided when we are able to review and learn from past experiences.

7. Utilize Sandbox Management Tools

A Salesforce sandbox management tool makes it easier to synchronize releases, even when they are spread throughout multiple geographic locations.

Comparing separate versions, analyzing changes, and managing software configurations are just a few of the benefits of a sandbox management tool.

Your dedicated manager will be able to take care a lot of the initial setup considerations but the actual mechanics of a successful DevSecOps pipeline can be greatly optimized through automation and specialized tools.

Make use of every tool at your disposal and watch the overall productivity and efficiency of the development pipeline grow.

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