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Understanding How Salesforce Metadata Fits Into Data Security_AutoRABIT

Understanding How Salesforce Metadata Fits Into Data Security

Understanding How Salesforce Metadata Fits Into Data Security_AutoRABIT

Salesforce metadata is a critical part of your IT environment, and it has a huge impact on everything from functionality and quality to data security.

Why It Matters: Data security vulnerabilities are always growing and evolving. A comprehensive approach that addresses all aspects of your Salesforce ecosystem is required to protect sensitive information, adhere to compliance standards, and ensure continuous access to your platform.

  • Businesses lost an average of $1.3 million as a result of cybercrime in 2023.
  • The average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million across all industries.

We’ll explore these six considerations to better understand how Salesforce metadata fits into your data security strategy:

  1. Access Controls
  2. Customizations + Configurations
  3. Auditing
  4. Third-Party Security Tools
  5. Regulatory Compliance
  6. Backup + Recovery

1. Access Controls

Your metadata controls various features and functionalities withing Salesforce. One of these features relates to who can access particular datasets.

Administrators can use metadata to configure user permissions, roles, and profiles to ensure that users only have access to the data and features necessary for their duties.

Overexposed data has a higher chance of being accidentally breached or corrupted. Properly protecting your data requires assigning access only to those who need it.

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2. Customizations + Configurations

Understanding How Salesforce Metadata Fits Into Data Security_AutoRABIT

Every Salesforce environment is going to be different. Your IT platform needs are going to differ from even your closest competitors. The customizations and configurations within your Salesforce environment will help refine your processes, but they can also impact your ability to remain secure.

Salesforce metadata allows organizations to meet specific security requirements by defining custom objects, fields, and validation rules to enforce data integrity and security policies.

Generic security settings won’t address your specific needs. Leveraging metadata to customize your platform protects security and compliance.

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3. Auditing

Regulated industries have a series of requirements for how data is stored and handled. Adhering to these requirements is not enough to maintain compliance—you also need to prove it. Salesforce metadata provides information about the configuration changes made within the Salesforce environment.

Administrators can track changes to objects, fields, workflows, and other configurations to monitor your system for any unauthorized or suspicious activities.

These records can be used for both internal audits to point to potential improvements, but they can also be used when it comes time to verify adherence to data security regulations.

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4. Third-Party Security Tools

Understanding How Salesforce Metadata Fits Into Data Security_AutoRABIT

A holistic approach to Salesforce data security will require the addition of third-party tools to your strategy. Utilizing a security posture management tool will offer the automated support your team needs to keep an eye on all the applicable considerations.

Salesforce metadata can be integrated with third-party security tools and solutions to enhance data protection.

For example, metadata can be used to configure single sign-on (SSO) authentication, encryption, and other security features provided by external tools.

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5. Regulatory Compliance

We mentioned earlier how Salesforce metadata factors into your ability to provide documentation and audit trails to prove regulatory compliance. Metadata can also support compliance by dictating the settings that have a direct impact on your overall security status.

Metadata helps organizations ensure compliance with industry regulations by configuring metadata settings such as field-level security, data sharing rules, and encryption.

These considerations help teams enforce data privacy regulations such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), while simultaneously adhering to internal governance policies.

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6. Backup + Recovery

Understanding How Salesforce Metadata Fits Into Data Security_AutoRABIT

A thorough backup and recovery plan is a non-negotiable aspect of a complete data security strategy. Outages occur for a variety of reasons, and you need to be prepared to get back to operations as quickly as possible to avoid costly downtime, compliance failures, and loss of customer trust.

Metadata includes information about the structure and configuration of your Salesforce environment, which is essential for backup and recovery processes.

Regularly backing up metadata ensures organizations can recover their configurations in case of a data loss event or system failure.

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Next Step…

Metadata is a critical component of your Salesforce ecosystem. It needs to be protected and maintained just as vigorously as other types of system data. However, this is only one piece of a larger strategy to keep your Salesforce environment secure.

Read our ebook, Bulletproofing Your Salesforce DevOps: Advanced Security Strategies, to learn more about how you can protect your system data and platform as a whole.

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FAQs

What exactly is Salesforce metadata, and how does it differ from data?

The most common phrase you’ll hear to answer this question is that metadata is “data about data.” But what does that actually mean? Metadata acts as a blueprint for how data is organized, accessed, and processed within your system. It describes the structural and configurational aspects of the Salesforce platform, including information about objects, fields, workflows, permissions, and other configurations, without containing the actual data itself. Salesforce data, on the other hand, refers to the actual information stored within the platform such as customer records, sales transactions, and marketing campaigns. While data is the content or substance within Salesforce, metadata governs how that data is structured, secured, and utilized.

Is it possible to track changes to Salesforce metadata and, if so, how?

Yes, it is! Version control is a great tool to effectively track changes to Salesforce metadata. This allows developers and administrators to manage changes to code, configurations, and metadata in a structured and organized manner. By storing metadata configurations in a version control repository, teams can track changes over time, view differences between versions, and revert to previous states if needed.

Are there any best practices for managing and securing Salesforce metadata?

As with most aspects of your Salesforce environment, there are best practices that will help guide your team toward properly managing Salesforce metadata. A structured approach to handling metadata needs to be implemented, including documenting configuration and changes for transparency and accountability. Strict access controls should also be implemented, so only those with a direct need can access data. Configurations should be frequently audited and version control needs to be leveraged to track and maintain a history of them. The deployment and testing of metadata changes should be automated to support consistency and reliability. And finally, your team should stay informed about Salesforce security updates to mitigate emerging threats.

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