Hidden Salesforce Data Security Risks for Financial Institutions
Salesforce data security is an essential consideration for every industry. However, there are some industries that have an even greater need to protect their Salesforce data because of the sensitive information inherent to their work.
Financial institutions need to be aware of every potential data security risk because of the sensitive data they handle every day.
Government regulations, consumer confidence, and operational integrity are just a few of the motivators for financial institutions to avoid data breaches at all costs. Any loss, corruption, or exposure of customer or system data will have wide-ranging, negative effects.
You can’t guard against a threat if you don’t know it exists. And while many of us are aware of the importance of secure passwords and other preliminary data security measures, there are other Salesforce data security risks that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
Here are 6 hidden Salesforce data security risks facing financial institutions:
1. Coding Errors Can Expose Sensitive Data
It’s no secret that strong code is essential to successful deployments of new updates and applications. The ability to maintain a real-time view into the health of your code as it’s written provides a lot of benefits.
A reduction in coding errors will reduce redundant work for your team, increase your overall ROI per project, improve the functionality of your releases—it will also improve Salesforce data security.
Defective code that makes its way into production environments can lead to lost records, privacy violations, compliance failures, and result in additional risk of exposure to external or internal threat actors. Financial institutions can’t afford to experience these types of loss and fall out of compliance with applicable regulations.
Data corruption, bad logic implementations, mis-stated results, alterations to critical data, and more can result from coding errors—and they all put regulatory compliance at risk.
2. Metadata Management Is Essential
The metadata within your Salesforce environment can be thought of as information about data and platform customizations—including code. This includes permission information, object definitions, screen and page layouts, creation information, business rules, whitelists, and much more.
Almost every action from a screen change for a form, update of customer information, or any code updates will generate metadata.
Salesforce metadata is highly complex. Improper handling can compromise release quality, lead to downtime, and expose sensitive or protected data.
Financial institutions need to protect this information as strongly as they protect other system data that is more visible. It can all expose sensitive customer data and must receive adequate attention. Salesforce metadata performs a lot of essential functions:
- Controls permissions for data access
- Metadata persists, inherits, propagates, and nests
- Salesforce metadata depth grows over time as more changes accumulate in the platform
Unlimited metadata depth, automation, and consistent attention can help financial institutions to properly address Salesforce data security needs relating to metadata.
3. Difficulties in Auditing Can Affect Compliance
Visibility is a major aspect of proper regulatory compliance for financial institutions. You need to be able to prove you are taking the proper precautions. You also need visibility into your own system to continually update efforts, so your precautions remain adequate.
Salesforce data security methods should be consistently monitored and updated based on the findings of internal audits.
This is made much more difficult when you don’t have the necessary infrastructure to create and execute these audits. Here are a few audit features that should be present in your Salesforce environment:
- Certified with support for industry standards SOC, ISO, HIPAA, PCI DSS
- Encrypted data
- Access controls that include separation of duties, roles, and permission sets
- Support regulatory mandates that include the “right to be forgotten”
- Promote code quality throughout with quality gates, collaboration on merges and deployments, checkpoints, and code quality tools
- Integrates well with a backup, archiving, sandbox deployment tool
- Detailed auditing that log and monitor all changes and updates
4. Low Process Maturity Increases Regulatory Risk
Process maturity refers to how advanced your DevSecOps methods are in terms of the processes and tools utilized. For instance, a Salesforce development team that doesn’t integrate any DevSecOps considerations will have a low maturity, while a team that utilizes tools such as Version Control and CodeScan will have a higher maturity.
These practices can help financial institutions optimize their development efforts, but they can also improve overall Salesforce data security success.
Low process maturity features simple or poor merging and branching, single test cycles, manual sandbox population, manual deployments, little team collaboration, and light or ad-hoc audit and reporting capabilities. These limitations not only cause Salesforce development and management to become slow and costly, but result in more errors, more downtime, and a resulting increase in risks to compliance and regulations.
Systematically moving to a more mature development model yields higher accuracy with automation throughout the process, team collaboration, stronger code controls/reviews, dashboards, reports, and more.
5. Manual Errors Are Frequent
Your team members are your greatest asset when it comes to developing and releasing new updates. The process simply wouldn’t be possible without them. However, there are many aspects of the process that can become tedious over time, leading to careless and costly mistakes.
Simple errors in the development pipeline can create data security issues later in the lifecycle of the update.
Automating integrations, code checks, and delivery of updates reduces the likelihood of these mistakes. This helps your team avoid tedious re-working of the project to address bugs and errors and solves data security problems before they have a chance to become larger issues.
6. Improper Backups Leave You in the Dark
An unfortunate fact about Salesforce data security is that you’re never going to truly be able to guard against every potential threat to your network. New vulnerabilities are always emerging. And even financial institutions with the very best data security practices are prone to system outages due to situations beyond their control.
A reliable data backup and recovery solution is essential to a well-rounded Salesforce data security plan.
Businesses might grow complacent after setting up a data backup system, but these systems aren’t all the same. Utilizing an inferior backup system can leave you without a current snapshot of your Salesforce system—creating extra work for your team to get you back to baseline.
A proper recovery plan is also necessary to get your system back online after a data loss event. Be sure to find a system like AutoRABIT’s Vault that can be set to automatically backup selected files on a scheduled basis, while also offering the ability to quickly restore your files should they become damaged or lost.