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The Importance of Data Access Control in Salesforce

Salesforce data security is an important aspect of protecting your business as well as your customers. This information informs your daily tasks. It provides essential insights into your choices. The processes that come from this data are integral to efficient completions of tasks.

Access control is your first line of defense for protecting your Salesforce data.

Many people might think of locked gates and keycards when they hear the term access control. However, these types of security measures are used for information and technology as well. And in some ways, they act in a similar fashion.

Data access control restricts user access to important information and data. This can be instituted for many reasons, but the overarching idea is to maintain proper levels of security.

Access control will dictate which users can access certain aspects of your company’s Salesforce system.

Why is this important?

We’ll outline the reasons your need to institute intentional data access control policies for your Salesforce system as well as some quick tips you can incorporate today.

Data Is a Target

Your Salesforce data is a prize for cybercriminals and other bad actors. Various industries will have their own degrees of significance to criminals, but everyone has something of value.

Financial institutions, for example, have data that relates to criminals’ most frequent asset—money. The ability to access financial data through computer systems needs to be guarded against in every way.

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The login screen is your first line of defense

But you don’t need to have direct access to savings accounts to interest hackers. Gaining access to a system and locking it down can create a ransom situation, where a company needs to pay a large amount of money to regain access to their own systems.

There are plenty of reasons for cybercriminals to target your Salesforce data.

Access control should be a basic and essential aspect of your security protocols.

Over-Exposure Is a Security Concern

Salesforce data should only be accessible by those who need it. It’s more difficult to track your data when a wide range of people have access to it.

This over-exposure can create situations in which data is accessed by people with bad intentions.

Employees that are either on their way out the door or have recently left the company could have the best interests of a competitor in mind. Accessing your Salesforce data could be potentially beneficial to them through methods that harm your company.

This is only one example of why you need to restrict who can access certain data while also maintaining practices that heighten accountability.

Accountability Provides Multiple Benefits

Access control gives you the ability to see how your Salesforce system is being used.

Tracking who is accessing your data, when, and why provides a variety of benefits.

For example, an employee that doesn’t need to run reports for their position could send up some red flags if they suddenly begin doing so. You’ll be able to monitor this and inquire why they are accessing information that isn’t relevant to them.

Logins to your system need to be monitored in order to spot potential hacks.

Perhaps someone accesses your system from a location that doesn’t host any of your employees. This is a sign that your system has been breached.

Regulatory Compliance Requirement

Many industries—such as financial institutions—have a series of regulations in place regarding the protection of their data.

Access control is one of the essential aspects of a data security system that factors into a company’s adherence to these regulations.

For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires those that fall under its jurisdiction to prevent the disclosure of their patients’ protected health information, including the usage of both physical and electronic access control.

Your particular industry will have its own requirements as far as the types of data security measures that need to be in place. Access control for your Salesforce data will almost certainly be a factor in this consideration.

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Protecting your customers’ sensitive information is vital

4 Main Types of Data Access Control

Data access control can take many forms.

Here are four of the main branches of access control:

Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

Access to certain levels of information is dictated by controls set within the system. RBAC allows users to access information based on their roles, in order to present them with only the information that is applicable to their position.

Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC)

Access to systems is granted based on specific traits of the user, and not their position or personal affordances. A common example of this is an age-restricted website where a visitor needs to prove they are of the appropriate age. Their access is granted through proving possession of a particular attribute instead of who they are.

Discretionary Access Control (DAC)

Administrators within a certain system are able to grant users access to varying sets of information. This is performed on a person-by-person basis, as opposed to an RBAC system that allows permissions to many individuals without a need for personal intervention.

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

Users are granted access to information based on security clearances. MAC is commonly used in government and military systems and is based on multiple levels of security. It is often used in instances of highly classified information.

Quick Tips for Salesforce Data Access Control

Access control for your Salesforce data doesn’t need to be an expensive and massive undertaking. Instituting a few best practices to your organization can set the groundwork for a secure first line of defense against unwanted visitors.

Here are 6 things you can do today to improve your data access control efforts:

1. Utilize Secure Passwords

Instruct everyone with access to your Salesforce system to use secure passwords. Don’t use sequential keystrokes, mix upper and lower cases along with symbols and numbers. And then change them every six months.

2. Set Permissions

Have a system in place to allow users access only to information they will need to perform their duties. Be sure to remove permissions once an employee leaves the company.

A release management tool can be utilized to manage user permissions and audit activity logs for all users with admin access to your Salesforce instance. This promotes accountability and transparency on how your team members handle company data.

3. Keep Systems up to Date

Continually install any new updates provided by the operating system of your software. Hackers can exploit any holes in your system and these patches often work to fill in those gaps.

4. Don’t Use Personal Devices

Company-issued technology such as laptops and smartphones are likely to have higher levels of security than personal devices. Instruct your employees to only access company systems through approved devices.

5. Monitor Access Points

Pay attention to access logs for your system. Unauthorized access should be found and cut off as soon as possible. If you are unsure about a login, err on the side of caution and block access.

6. Run Frequent Security Audits

Security audits will find any potential security vulnerabilities or active breaches. Use the findings of these audits to bolster the security of your system. Repeat these audits every six months to a year.

Instituting access control measures for your Salesforce data is an essential tool in managing proper security efforts. It’s much more difficult for data to become compromised when it is difficult for those without the proper permissions to get to it. Give your company the best chance of avoiding compromised data by securing the entry points.

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