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Data Protection in Salesforce Sandbox Management

Salesforce Sandbox ManagementSandboxes are a risk-free development environment that can be used for training exercises, streamlined testing and trials of new code, as well as providing increased stability for the organization. These environments are separated from production environments, making it a great opportunity to work on code without impacting the main code repository.

Salesforce sandbox management is the practice of planning, instituting, and managing proper tools and processes to maximize the benefits of utilizing these separate development environments.

Continued attention to the utilization of sandboxes provides a variety of benefits:

  • Increase productivity
  • Realistic training environment
  • Minimization of disruptions to overall operations
  • Test new apps, features, and configurations prior to production

But as with other aspects of your Salesforce DevSecOps pipeline, data security needs to be a constant concern. So how can Salesforce sandbox management assist with data security?

1. Employee Best Practices

Our team members can become a great asset or a liability depending on their behavior. Simple mistakes such as coding errors or even leaving their computers unlocked when they step away are very common reasons for data loss. Adhering to security best practices is an essential aspect of securing your DevOps pipeline in general. This also applies to Salesforce sandbox management.

Establish and clearly communicate a list of employee best practices aimed at shoring up any potential security vulnerabilities.

Ensuring the use of strong passwords, avoiding accessing company servers on personal devices, and more will provide a simple addition to your sandbox data protection plan.

2. Allow for Proper Planning

proper planning

A strong plan of attack will make it much easier for your team members to accomplish their goals in the development phase of your DevOps project. Salesforce sandbox management necessitates a roadmap so there isn’t redundant work or other simple mistakes.

Take some time prior to beginning the development phase to shape your approach.

Which functions will be carried out in each sandbox? How often do your sandboxes need to be refreshed? Which users will need to access each sandbox?

The answers to questions like these will streamline operations and diminish the likelihood of a simple mistake that could harm your data protection efforts.

3. Static Code Analysis

Strong code is an essential aspect of a complete data security plan. Errors in the coding structure of an application or update can create security vulnerabilities. Salesforce sandbox management needs to keep this in mind and provide the necessary tools to ensure healthy code for the project.

Static code analysis is a powerful tool that provides real time visibility into code health and can be a great asset to team members working in sandboxes.

The code written in sandboxes will be pieced together to build out the project. Catching errors in this code as early as possible not only supports data protection measures, but it also saves developer time and money.

4. Update User Permissions

The planning stage will outline the tasks and responsibilities for each team members. DevOps includes the efforts of multiple teams throughout the stages of product development. However, all of these team members don’t need access to every aspect of the pipeline. Overexposure of data drastically increases the chance of an accidental exposure of sensitive information.

Update the user permissions for your sandboxes so you can be sure the only people that are able to access this information are the team members that need it.

Whether through malicious actions or accidental exposures, the likelihood of a breach in your data protection strategy increases with the amount of people that are able to access your sandboxes. Update user permissions according to your strategy and keep them updated as team members move into new roles.

5. Maintain Accountability

maintain accountabilityIt’s important for you to be able to track who touched the code, when it happened, and what they did. This provides an opportunity to educate a team member if they continually make the same mistake. It also lets your team members know that you will be able to find out if they did something to compromise data security standards within your sandboxes.

Name your development environments, label each sandbox according to their use, and note the procedures to be performed within them.

Version control is a great tool to assist team members developing in sandboxes. It also provides a time stamp and personal identifier for the person responsible for the change to the code.  Accountability is an important aspect of Salesforce sandbox management as well as data security.

6. Consider Hosting Options

How you host your sandboxes and your Salesforce environment in general can impact your data security successes. Salesforce itself is a cloud-based solution, which comes with a lot of benefits. However, companies operating within a highly regulated industry, or others that simply place a large importance on control over their environment, might be better served by hosting their platform on premises.

On-premises hosting provides the highest levels of control over your system and supports an effective data security strategy.

Of course, proper Salesforce sandbox management means analyzing your options and choosing a path that works best for your company. Utilizing a cloud-based hosting solution might be the most beneficial option for you. Properly protecting your data requires control, and on-prem hosting provides the greatest level of control.

7. Data Backup & Recovery

Any discussion of data protection without mentioning the necessity of a data backup & recovery tool is incomplete. The importance of a recent backup of your Salesforce data and the ability to recover it simply can not be understated.

Data disasters can’t be completely guarded against. It is important to plan for worst case scenarios so you aren’t caught off guard should one occur.

Proper Salesforce sandbox management will keep things running smoothly, produce better products, and work to maintain data security. Clear communication and utilization of powerful DevOps tools will help achieve all of these goals.