Everything You Need To Know About Salesforce Data Security And Data Masking


Over time, companies operating in all major industries are switching to cloud-based platforms to store their databases. CRM platforms like Salesforce are likely to hold information that is highly sensitive in nature. Especially in sectors like finance, law, and healthcare, it is important for organizations to maintain the utmost privacy and security of records. When these institutions make use of Salesforce as their CRM platform, they need to make sure that their data is protected and the platform complies with data security regulations.

Salesforce And Data Security

While engaging with different brands and businesses, customers trust them with information such as their names, addresses, account details, and other sensitive records. When you are collecting such information and storing it within your Salesforce database, it becomes mandatory to keep these records secure and private. Here, any breach in security may lead to losing the trust of your customers and legal procedures if your customers decide to take legal actions against the breach.

While collecting specific information from your customers allows you to provide personalized services to them and provide them with a seamless buying experience, it makes you obliged to cater to the security of the information collected. As a good chunk of records stored by most companies is managed using cloud-based platforms, data security further becomes essential as more people have access to a centralized platform.

In order to ensure the privacy and security of your database, Salesforce needs suitable order management tools to facilitate data regulation and restriction.

General Data Protection And Regulation (GDPR)

To guarantee the utmost security of the records stored and managed using Salesforce, the CRM platform is compliant with GDPR. GDPR is considered to be a blueprint for managing customer data collected by businesses in the most secure way possible. It empowers the customers to know how their data is being used and allows them to take necessary actions if they sense a breach in data security.

Salesforce makes sure that the customers are provided with all relevant information about the data collected from them and its use by the company. It also gives customers the right to ask businesses to stop using their data if they feel it is not secure to do so.

Responsibility For Data Security

When you enter the collected data into your Salesforce database, it is the joint responsibility of Salesforce and your company to ensure its security and privacy. Most SaaS applications are secure and keep a check on practices that may lead to a breach in security.

However, once the data enters the SaaS environment of Salesforce, it solely becomes the responsibility of your company to keep the records secure. While Salesforce provides you with a range of tools and features to safeguard the information collected, it is the responsibility of your team to prevent the database from unauthorized access, data leaks, and other data security threats.

Essentially, regulations like GDPR and CCPA contain a default notification law that requires companies to protect the data collected from their customers. This model is applicable to a range of other cloud service providers such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and more.

Data Masking In Salesforce

Data masking is one of the most important activities to keep your Salesforce records safe. In simple words, as the name suggests, data masking is the process of covering your Salesforce records by masking them with dummy data.

It is likely for the live production environment of your Salesforce org to contain highly sensitive information about your customers, employees, or organization as a whole. This information is not always supposed to be accessed by all Salesforce users within your organization. As long as the data is stored in the production environment, Salesforce makes sure that it is highly secure and private.

However, if this data is transferred to a test environment for developers and other Salesforce personnel to work on it, you may need to keep your records protected. As not everyone has access to the data stored in the production environment, it is never advisable to have them work on the same when it is moved to a test environment. If no actions are taken to maintain the security of this data, you may find yourself going against industry regulations, jeopardizing the reputation of your organization.

In order to keep this data secure and private, Salesforce users often resort to masking it with anonymous and dummy records. Data masking immediately anonymizes the live production data, making it safe and eligible for being used by personnel who do not have access to the same. This allows you to add fictitious details to the original records, making it impossible for the users to access the live production data. Details like credit card numbers, addresses, contact numbers, and other sensitive information can be protected with the help of data masking.

There are different techniques for masking your Salesforce data and making it anonymous. These methods can be used for rearranging the content of the original records or replacing the original records with customized dummy data.

Benefits Of Data Masking In Salesforce

Here are some of the major benefits of masking your Salesforce data:

Complying With Data Security Regulations

Every organization is required to comply with the data protection standards and regulations of the country in which it operates. Maintaining this compliance requires companies to keep their databases secure against all possible threats. Regulations like General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI), Portability Insurance and Health Insurance Liability (HIPAA), and many more require organizations operating in different industries (especially finance and healthcare) to manage sensitive information of the customers in the most secure way possible.

Companies that fall under the purview of these regulations are liable to pay financial and legal penalties if they fail to comply with the regulations.

Masking your Salesforce data helps you guarantee your customers that their information is secure. It helps you comply with the data security and privacy regulations meant to safeguard your customers. Salesforce data masking is a definite way of accessing live production data for testing and/or development without having to compromise sensitive records.

For example, if you are willing to migrate your salesforce data to a sandbox for quality testing, organizations subject to PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, and other relevant regulations can hide sensitive information about their customers (credit card details, health records, and other personally identifiable information) by masking the records with dummy data.

Preventing Insider Threats

When it comes to data leaks, breaches, and unauthorized access of records, the blame often goes to external factors. However, it is important to note that internal threats are just as common and harmful for the smooth functioning of your organization.

When you expose confidential records to developers, trainers, and other Salesforce personnel, you are putting the security of your database at stake. While professionals like engineers, QA developers, and administers are required to undertake a number of processes for testing data and applications, it is not always necessary for them to have access to the live production data.

By masking your Salesforce data, you can prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to the sensitive records stored within your Salesforce database. Data masking makes it impossible for them to decipher the dummy records and access information they are not allowed to view.

When you mask all your sensitive Salesforce data, you allow Salesforce professionals to carry on with their respective tasks without compromising the security of your production data.

Along with dealing with internal threats, masking Salesforce data allows you to prevent a number of external threats to the security of your database. Businesses are often associated with external consultants and third-party service providers to undertake specific processes. This requires them to share their records with these entities on a regular basis. If you are dealing with sensitive information about your customers, you cannot afford to provide the same to external parties to work on. This would lead to the infringement of most data regulation standards across the world.

Salesforce data masking helps you prevent this issue by sharing masked data with external collaborators. This allows you to provide them with access to the test data without compromising the security of your production environment.

Safer Than Data Encryption

Organizations often get confused between the practices of data masking and data encryption. It is important to understand these terms cannot be used interchangeably. While data encryption is commonly used to secure sensitive records while migrating data between servers or over a specific network, it is not exactly the same as data masking.

The major difference between the two practices lies in the fact that while data encryption can be reversed to obtain the original production data, masked data cannot be reversed. This makes data masking a safer activity as compared to data encryption.

The Final Word

Data security plays an important role in Salesforce development and administration. These were some of the most important aspects a Salesforce user should be well-versed with in order to keep their database secure and private.

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