It is the age of big data. Businesses of all sizes thrive on it – whether it’s transaction information, customer profiling, or social media insights – companies use this treasure trove to make forecasts, improve business processes, and make data-driven decisions. Effective data collection, organization, governance, and analysis sets the top companies apart from the laggards. However, all this customer data management requires purpose-built software platforms called customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
Although many CRM options exist in the market, Salesforce has repeatedly topped the charts as the leading CRM. It has almost 25% of the CRM market share. But it’s not only organizations and businesses that benefit from customer data – there are always malicious actors on the prowl in cyberspace looking to steal critical information to meet their nefarious designs. This is why data protection is one of the biggest concerns of corporations worldwide.
This article discusses some of the common cyber threats to data and the strategies you can undertake to ensure robust Salesforce data protection.
Common Threats to Salesforce Data Protection
Viruses, Worms, and Trojans: These are types of malicious software. Viruses attach themselves to legitimate programs and spread when the infected program is executed. Worms are self-replicating and spread independently. Trojans disguise themselves as legitimate software but contain malicious code.
2. Phishing Attacks
Email Phishing: Cybercriminals send deceptive emails, often mimicking trustworthy sources, to trick individuals into providing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or financial details. These are then used by them to steal money or cause other harm to the users.
Ransomware encrypts files or systems, rendering them inaccessible. Attackers demand a ransom for the decryption key. Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee recovery, and it encourages criminal activities.
4. Insider Threats
These threats come from individuals within an organization who misuse their access. This could be intentional, like stealing data for personal gain, or unintentional, like an employee accidentally sharing sensitive information.
5. Human Error
Human error can only be limited, never completely eliminated. These errors are mistakes made by employees, such as sending sensitive information to the wrong person, falling for social engineering scams, or misconfiguring security settings. They can lead to serious data breaches.
6. Physical Threats
Damage or theft of physical devices can result in data loss. Organizations must secure hardware and implement measures like encryption and remote wipe capabilities to protect data on lost or stolen devices.
7. Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks
In DoS attacks, cybercriminals overwhelm a system, network, or website with traffic, causing it to become slow or unavailable. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks involve multiple compromised devices, making them more potent.
8. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks
In a MitM attack, an unauthorized third party intercepts and possibly alters the communication between two parties. This can lead to the compromise of sensitive data.
9. Unsecured APIs
APIs facilitate communication between different software applications. If you do not properly secure them, attackers can exploit them to gain unauthorized access or manipulate sensitive data.
Inadequate Security Measures
Not taking sufficiently strong security measures is also a threat to data protection. Weak passwords, lack of encryption, and insufficient access controls make it easier for attackers to gain unauthorized access to systems and sensitive data.
Data interception occurs when attackers intercept data while it is in transmission. This also allows attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Outdated Software and Systems
Using outdated software or systems with known vulnerabilities exposes organizations to exploitation by attackers who target those weaknesses. This is why you will find companies offering Salesforce development services focusing on ensuring that your CRM is always updated to the latest version.
Lack of Data Backups
Failing to regularly back up data increases the risk of permanent loss in the event of a security incident or system failure.
Regulatory Compliance Violations
Failure to comply with data protection laws and regulations can result in legal consequences, fines, and damage to an organization’s reputation. Compliance is crucial to maintaining trust with customers and stakeholders.
Strategies to Ensure Salesforce Data Protection
Almost every company has to manage sensitive data. If this data falls into the wrong hands, say a competitor, it could lead to disastrous ramifications for the business.
Here are some strategies you can employ to ensure that your salesforce development services data always remains secure.
1. Train Employees to be Risk-Aware
You should foster an organizational culture where all your employees, including the ones not directly working with Salesforce, are vigilant about possible cyber threats. Such a culture emphasizes the critical nature of data security, and it keeps everyone on their toes with regard to ensuring it.
Fostering such a culture involves conducting regular trainings, workshops, and seminars, not to mention regular emails and other notifications that remind employees to keep their data secure.
You should inculcate the following SOPs and habits in your employees to ensure robust Salesforce data protection:
- Employees should regularly update their devices with the latest security patches
- They should never click on suspicious links or download dubious attachments
- Teams should prefer using company-provided devices; if that’s not feasible, focus on raising cybersecurity awareness
- Educate Salesforce users about security best practices, including the risks associated with phishing attacks and the importance of strong, unique passwords and hiring sales force developer. Well-informed users are a critical line of defense against various security threats.
2. Robust Password Management
Controlling device access is one of the best ways to ensure data protection. To achieve this, you should implement robust password management across the company through your corporate data security policy. Make sure your employees understand the significance of having strong passwords.
Passwords should ideally be long (12-16 characters), with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Moreover, multi-factor or two-factor authentication is also a great way of maintaining high password hygiene. However, it has been reported in various surveys that employees often don’t change their passwords for long periods of time, even after sharing them with others. You can overcome this by implementing password change policies, making it mandatory to change passwords after a certain period.
3. Create a Strong System Administration Team
Staff augmentation is a system administrators, also known as sys admins, perform the crucial role of gatekeepers. They serve as the strong keepers of your critical data, allowing access to sensitive information to only those allowed to access it.
These administrators control permissions and manage employee identities and employee access to data storage. We recommend that they give special attention to employees on probation, internship, or contract. Moreover, you should store your data in a central place since it is easier to secure it.
4. Data Encryption and Tokenization
Don’t forget to utilize Salesforce’s native encryption features, such as Platform Encryption, to encrypt data at rest and during transit. For additional security, you can consider tokenization, which entails replacing sensitive data with tokens that have no inherent meaning. This makes it difficult for unauthorized users to interpret or exploit the information.
5. Audit Trail Monitoring
Another Salesforce data protection best practice is to regularly review Salesforce’s audit trails, which capture information about changes to the system. This includes user logins, configuration changes, and data modifications. You should analyze these logs to detect any unusual activities, unauthorized access, or potential security incidents.
6. Field-Level Security and Object Permissions
Implement field-level security to control access to specific fields within objects. Best Salesforce development team should configure object permissions based on user roles and profiles, ensuring that users have the necessary permissions to perform their roles without unnecessary access to sensitive data.
7. Data Masking for Sandbox Environments
You should utilize tools like Salesforce Data Mask to mask sensitive data in sandbox environments. This ensures that you can simulate realistic scenarios during testing and development without exposing real customer data. Performing data masking is crucial for compliance with data protection regulations.
8. Salesforce Shield for Event Monitoring
Salesforce Shield provides advanced security features, including Event Monitoring. This feature allows you to monitor user activity, logins, and data access. Your team should configure event monitoring to generate alerts for suspicious activities. This will help you identify and respond to potential security threats in a proactive manner.
9. Secure Third-Party Integrations
When integrating third-party applications or services with Salesforce, always ensure they adhere to Salesforce’s security standards and salesforce consulting services. You should validate that the integrations use secure authentication methods, transmit data over encrypted channels, and follow best practices for securing data at both ends of the integration.
Salesforce Health Check and Security Reviews
It is best practice to carry out regular health checks and security reviews of your Salesforce instance. Have your Salesforce consulting services partner evaluate the overall security posture, including user permissions, sharing settings, and security configurations. Since Salesforce professional services providers are experts in Salesforce implementation and management, they can easily identify and promptly address any potential vulnerabilities or misconfigurations.
By combining these strategies, you can enhance the security of your Salesforce environment and thus safeguard sensitive data from a variety of potential threats. Always remember to regularly reassess and update these measures to stay resilient against evolving security challenges. If you want to dive deeper into Salesforce data protection, check out this guide by Salesforce: The Complete Guide to Salesforce Data Security.
Xavor Corporation is a registered Salesforce Consulting Partner. As part of our staff augmentation services, we offer Salesforce-certified developers. Our Salesforce development services provide end-to-end Salesforce CRM solutions, including Salesforce Essentials and Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.
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