Why Can’t I Find Anything in Salesforce?
Locating Salesforce data for operational use and data protection is much easier when intentional data governance strategies are applied and automated DevSecOps tools are implemented.
Why It Matters: Streamlining a team’s ability to locate and manipulate data increases speed, reduces errors, and enables the free flow of information among departments.
- Scalability, security, and portability are synergized.
- Salesforce was built as a CRM and not a development platform so it’s infrastructure complicates many DevOps processes.
- Failing to find and rectify data security vulnerabilities can cause you to fall out of compliance with applicable regulations.
Here are 6 things you need to know about improving your ability to find important information, analytics, and data in Salesforce:
- Poor Visibility Hides Analytics
- Generic Static Code Analysis Tools Don’t Identify Most Salesforce Threats
- Managed Packages Can’t Translate Between Salesforce and Git
- Release Managers Lack Visibility
- Salesforce DevOps Can Be Confusing
- Data Security Vulnerabilities Aren’t Always Obvious
1. Poor Visibility Hides Analytics
The data contained within your Salesforce environment can provide a road map for improving your application development life cycle, offer insights to better understand customer behavior, and point toward future improvements.
Locating this information within Salesforce can be difficult without a clear approach and the ability to compile the analytics into actionable reports.
It’s simply too easy to create duplicate records and grow your pool of data beyond something manageable. A wealth of unusable data can obscure useful metrics and make it much more difficult to gain advantageous insights.
How to Regain Clarity or Oversight
A clear data governance strategy goes a long way toward cleaning up your Salesforce environment. However, your current pool of data should be thinned out by finding unused data and either deleting it or moving it to off-site storage.
Use an automated tool to locate the information that hasn’t had any interaction for a predefined period of time and archive it. This data is still preserved should you need it in the future, but it will speed up processes within Salesforce as well as save on storage costs.
2. Generic Static Code Analysis Tools Don’t Identify Most Salesforce Threats
The ability to quickly and thoroughly find errors and bugs in your Salesforce environment is critical to maintaining a secure, streamlined environment. This is incredibly difficult when many Salesforce users approach things like code reviews with manual processes, which are prone to mistakes.
But even those who utilize a static code analysis tool aren’t seeing the benefits they need because they source generic tools that don’t have adequate coverage of Salesforce vulnerabilities.
Poor code is a significant aspect of this consideration, but it’s not the only one. Settings for profiles and permissions, configuration changes, and APIs also need scanned for a comprehensive, holistic approach.
How to Locate Potential Risks
A specialized tool like CodeScan is the only way to ensure vulnerabilities and problems are found and fixed before they threaten data security and compliance.
As a comprehensive static code analysis tool, CodeScan provides the oversight needed to see into a Salesforce environment and find the hidden vulnerabilities, such as technical debt, errors in flow, and out-of-date permission settings.
3. Managed Packages Can’t Translate Between Salesforce and Git
Moving data between Salesforce and external environments like Git is very difficult—and sometimes impossible—with generic managed packages.
This can be due to a few different reasons such as the architecture of the managed package itself, but mostly it’s because Salesforce metadata is very intricate and confusing. Parsing out the necessary metadata relationships can quickly lead to compromised connections.
Git’s version control source code files often don’t directly translate between various environments, becoming compromised. This leads to unintended results that slow down development teams and lead to bugs unless the mistakes are found early in the development pipeline.
How to Automate Your Release Management Processes
Utilizing an automated release management system helps you break down the barriers of Salesforce and see into the XML files to make the process of moving files to Git less convoluted.
This enables release teams to streamline processes for single unit flow, incremental builds, and enterprise branching standards. Clearing the confusion between Salesforce and source control provides clarity and streamlines developer efforts.
4. Release Managers Lack Visibility
Release managers are tasked with overseeing the various aspects of a development lifecycle. So when faced with failed deployments, they need to know what happened.
The problem is that it’s very difficult for Salesforce release managers to see where things are, why they are breaking, and what they need to fix first.
If noticing an issue is the first step toward resolving it, finding the issue itself is the very next step. Any delay in fixing an issue extends the time between starting a build and introducing the product. And if the issues can’t be found at all, the deployment might fail altogether or lead to a buggy release.
How to Gain Visibility
Visualizing a release pipeline makes it much easier to see the individual steps that lead up to a deployment. This includes all the components, processes, and merges that make up the infrastructure of an update or application.
While this can be done manually or automatically, preference is for automated visualizations.
5. Salesforce DevOps Can Be Confusing
Looking at a map of Salesforce metadata dependencies, it’s so convoluted you likely can’t make sense of it. Now extrapolate that to all the processes needed to bring a project from planning through production.
The variety or functions, data, and sources of information make it very difficult to keep everything straight throughout a Salesforce DevOps project.
Confusion leads to mistakes—and mistakes lead to buggy applications, failed deployments, and data security vulnerabilities. Finding the tools you need to address your requirements—and documentation on how to use them—simply isn’t straightforward.
How to Incorporate Training for New Tools
Breaking through the confusion requires a complete support system. First, teams need to provide continuous training to their team members. Every new tool needs to be followed by a thorough bootcamp that explains how it will be used, and why.
The ability to find answers to questions reduces the amount of time developers spend trying to figure out how to use DevOps tools and allows them to easily adopt new processes.
6. Data Security Vulnerabilities Aren’t Always Obvious
Most cybercriminals don’t send you an email saying they’ve infiltrated your system; they simply scrape your sensitive data in the background. Accidentally deleted data won’t flag itself in your system. And manual errors don’t fix themselves.
Data security vulnerabilities need to be found in order to be fixed. And since Salesforce is the largest container of information for many companies, breaches and accidental deletions aren’t always immediately obvious.
It’s essential for organizations to find and fix vulnerabilities as soon as possible so they can minimize or even prevent the loss or corruption of data.
How to Mitigate Vulnerabilities
Automated scans of your Salesforce environment for technical debt, profile and permission settings, and unauthorized access offer a glimpse behind the curtain so users can find any red flags.
These scans should be performed regularly, along with automated backups of important data and metadata.
Now that you understand how to find your Salesforce data, let’s focus on making sure it’s the highest quality possible. Clean data further streamlines processes and reduces errors.
Check out our blog, “9 Ways Dirty Data Contributes to Data Loss,” to learn more about potential pitfalls to data quality and how to avoid them.
How does Salesforce metadata fit into data governance?
Data governance is a critical aspect of maintaining a quality pool of data in your Salesforce environment. It is the process of managing data sets with a focus on organization, control, and quality. Teams are broken down into different departments with team members focused on particular aspects of the environment. Salesforce metadata plays a huge role in this by defining the structure and properties of every set of data. This includes custom fields, standard objects, relationships, and more. Failing to prioritize metadata in your data governance strategy can lead to the degradation of data quality and broken functions.
What are metadata relationships?
Salesforce metadata serves two functions: to describe the data itself and to describe the relationships between the data. These are the connections or associations between different pieces of data within Salesforce. They help establish dependencies and the structure across various objects or entities. Context, understanding, and insights into the data and their related components are all made possible with metadata relationships. Hierarchy, dependencies, and referential relationships are all dictated by system metadata. Breaking these relationships leads to data being routed to incorrect fields and environments as well as other misfires that result in lost or corrupted data.
How do Salesforce managed packages limit your data options?
Many managed packages are built on Salesforce itself and need to make use of Salesforce’s skin. And while this makes the initial setup go smoothly for new users, it means these managed packages restrain users as they are by Salesforce’s architecture. For instance, there is no native static code analysis tool, there are many manual pre- and post-deployment steps, and all metadata in the master branch must be completely refreshed when new metadata components are created. These examples illustrate how off-platform solutions like AutoRABIT are better suited to optimize the DevSecOps pipeline because they aren’t constrained by the limitations of Salesforce.