9 Essential Aspects of a Successful Salesforce Data Security Policy
Data security needs to be a main consideration for every company. Salesforce DevOps pipelines have the ability to address this with new updates and applications. However, these software releases will only assist data security efforts if structured properly.
A beneficial Salesforce data security policy will involve the utilization of a series of tactics, tools, and procedures.
The rate of cybercrime is continually increasing. Usage of malware was up 358% in 2020. And ransomware saw a 435% increase compared to 2019.
And while cybercrime isn’t the only threat to your Salesforce data, it is the most visible. Internal leaks and errors can also expose sensitive information and leave your company open to fines and penalties.
A Salesforce data security policy needs to address the wide variety of potential vulnerabilities within your system. It’s impossible to completely guarantee full security when there are an infinite number of sources of data loss.
However, an intentional approach to data security will greatly improve your chances of avoiding costly data loss events.
Here are 9 essential aspects of a successful Salesforce data security policy:
1. Access Controls
The most basic level of protection for your Salesforce system is to control who can access it. Log in screens are your first line of defense against unwanted visitors. Vendors can also have their own portal into your system, so these screens will need to be protected as well.
Instituting access controls for your Salesforce system puts a reliable barrier between cybercriminals and your data.
Encourage your team members to create strong passwords. These passwords should also be changed frequently, perhaps every month or so. Two factor authentication provides an additional layer of security if a password becomes compromised.
2. Self-hosting vs Cloud Hosting
Salesforce is hosted in the cloud. And while this provides a series of benefits, it can also create security issues. Hosting your own network provides full control over your IT infrastructure so you know you’re properly covered.
Choosing between self-hosting and cloud hosting your network should be considered for extra security.
Self-hosting will come with a higher price tag compared to the subscription-based fees for cloud hosting. However, self-hosting allows access to scalable data security options that can be customized to fit your exact needs.
3. Updated User Permissions
Overexposure of data is a major vulnerability for data security. Simply put, more people that have access to a set of data increases the chances of it being leaked or otherwise compromised.
Update user permissions to ensure that the only people that can access sensitive information are the people that have a direct need to do so.
Whether through an accident or malicious intention, overexposure can result in a data loss event. Revisit a team member’s user permissions when they are assigned a new role to keep their access to sensitive data current.
4. Frequent Audits and Reporting
You aren’t going to be able to fix a problem if you don’t know it exists. In fact, IBM reported that it takes an average of 280 days to find and contain a data breach. Your Salesforce data security policy needs to take this into account by running audits and reports to check your system for breaches.
Monitoring access logs is a perfect example of this—frequently check who is accessing your system and from where to spot unauthorized entries.
A visit from an unusual geographic area is an indication that your system has been breached. Monitor these and other logs for signs of unauthorized access.
5. Communicate Best Practices to Team Members
Open communication is a simple but powerful tool in a Salesforce data security policy. Unfortunately, poor practices by our team members are frequent sources of data loss and system breaches.
Clear and simple instructions can help your team members keep your Salesforce environment secure.
Strong passwords, avoiding accessing company system on personal devices, locking the computer when they’re away from their desk—simple measures like these will greatly help your security efforts.
6. Ensure Strong Code
The software releases from your Salesforce DevOps pipeline offer increased functionality and security. However, this goal will only be achieved if the code that makes up these releases is error free.
Utilize static code analysis tools to verify the validity of coding structures and be alerted the moment an error occurs.
Improper functionality within an application can create security vulnerabilities. Instituting automated checks into your code as its written not only supports your Salesforce data security policy, but it also saves you money. Finding these errors later in the process makes them much more expensive to fix.
7. Current Data Backup
As we mentioned earlier, there is no guarantee that you will never experience a data loss event. Preparing for the worst-case scenario might not be pleasant, but you will be happy you did should this scenario occur.
A contemporary backup of your system data is an essential aspect of a complete Salesforce data security policy.
Utilize a reliable data backup tool and set recurring snapshots of your system. Recent backups will be much more useful for returning your system to operations.
8. Properly Configured Data Recovery
A recent data backup is only the first step in this effort. You must also be able to restore the backed up data quickly and efficiently. A recent snapshot of your system won’t provide any benefits if you can’t move this data and metadata back into your active Salesforce environment.
Configure your recovery tool to fit your needs—the largest consideration will be between speed and breadth of restoration.
Your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) will dictate how your backed up information will be stored and recovered. Different businesses will have different requirements. Make sure your data backup is addressing your particular needs.
9. Regulatory Compliance Awareness
Many businesses deal with sensitive information. Those in regulated industries such as banking, insurance, and healthcare will need to remain informed about applicable government regulations relating to data security.
The regulations facing your company will be dictated by your industry and geographic location.
Many of these regulations require a business to protect the personally identifiable information (PII) of their customers, employees, and vendors. A failure to properly address these considerations can result in fines and penalties.