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September 27, 2023
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 min read

A Complete Guide to CRM Data Loss Prevention in Salesforce

Learn how to protect your Salesforce data. Discover the factors leading to data exposure risk, its consequences, and CRM Data Loss Prevention strategies.

A Complete Guide to CRM Data Loss Prevention in Salesforce
Calendar Icon White
September 27, 2023
Clock Icon
 min read

A Complete Guide to CRM Data Loss Prevention in Salesforce

Learn how to protect your Salesforce data. Discover the factors leading to data exposure risk, its consequences, and CRM Data Loss Prevention strategies.



  • Factors like configuration errors and third-party integrations can lead to data vulnerabilities, making DLP crucial in Salesforce CRM.
  • The consequences of data exposure in Salesforce CRM can significantly impact an organization's reputation and finances.
  • Strategies for Salesforce data protection range from role-based access control to robust backup solutions.
  • Strac enhances Salesforce security by offering automated detection, data classification, and fine-grained access controls.

The threat of data breaches is more than just headline news; they can devastate any business. According to a report, a Salesforce data breach can, on average, cost a staggering $4 million, and 60% of small businesses that experience a data loss event never fully recover. 

Is there any solution that could save your business from data breaches? Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software.

Data Loss Prevention is a set of tools and processes designed to ensure that unauthorized users do not lose, misuse, or access sensitive information. It also helps organizations enforce consistent data protection policies across their Salesforce CRM instances, thereby reducing the risk of data exposure. 

In this post, we’ll learn about Salesforce DLP and 7 solid strategies to enhance DLP in Salesforce.

Does Salesforce CRM have an in-built DLP functionality?

While Salesforce offers a range of built-in security measures, it lacks native Data Loss Prevention (DLP) functionality. This gap leaves organizations vulnerable to various risks such as configuration errors, employee mishaps, and insecure third-party integrations. In short, Salesforce required third-party DLP solutions like Strac to protect data and maintain compliance.

Factors Contributing to Data Exposure Risk in Salesforce CRM

Data vulnerabilities have consequences that extend beyond the immediate security incident, affecting an organization for the long term. For instance, Salesforce faced a data breach in 2019 due to malicious software infiltrating its network, posing a significant risk to Salesforce and its client base. So what contributes to this risk?

1. Lack of Dedicated Stakeholders

Organizations often don't have individuals explicitly responsible for understanding how security policies should inform Salesforce configurations. The consequence? Higher likelihood of security gaps and vulnerabilities as no one ensures that the CRM's security settings align with the organization's broader data protection strategy. This can lead to unauthorized data access or even data breaches, compromising customer trust and potentially resulting in legal consequences.

2. Audit Requirements

Both standard and custom objects and fields must be actively audited in accordance with compliance requirements like PCI DSS, CCPA, and HIPAA. Failing to conduct regular audits can result in, 

  • Non-compliance, exposing the organization to hefty fines and data breach risks. 
  • Unnoticed security vulnerabilities, 
  • Unauthorized data access, and 
  • Potential misuse of sensitive information.

3. Sandbox Risks

Sandbox is essentially a testing environment, a safe space where developers and administrators can experiment without affecting the live, or production environment. While this is great for testing new features or configurations, it also poses a security risk. 

Sensitive data from the live environment is often copied into the Sandbox for testing, making it a target for potential cyber-attacks. Because Sandboxes are generally less secure than production environments, they can be a significant attack surface.

4. Complex Data Locations

Emails, attachments, and chat messages expand the number of places where data can reside, complicating the task for security teams. While these features enhance functionality, they also create multiple locations where sensitive data can reside. 

When data is scattered across multiple locations, the risk of unauthorized access or data leaks increases. This complexity makes it challenging for security teams to monitor and protect all possible data storage points.

5. Unclassified Data

Very few organizations using Salesforce CRM classify their data. This makes it difficult to identify risky data and its location. A sensitive data catalog can help in this regard by systematically identifying and flagging sensitive data for appropriate protection measures.

6. Internal Data Breaches 

The risk of internal data breaches increases exponentially with the number of users accessing sensitive data within Salesforce. In a notable incident, the state of Vermont exposed sensitive data like Social Security numbers, addresses, and bank account information due to misconfigurations in their Salesforce Community sites. The breach was traced back to internal users who had more access privileges than necessary, leading to the data being exposed on public platforms.

Consequences of Data Exposure Risks

Data exposure in Salesforce CRM can have consequences, affecting everything from your financial bottom line to your brand's reputation. Let's explore these risks in depth.

1. Financial Impact: The financial impact of ineffective CRM Data Loss Prevention is severe. As per the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, the global average data breach cost in 2023 was $4.45 million, a 15% increase over three years.

2. Immediate Security Risks: Real-time security risks arise when sensitive data is shared in standard or custom objects, making it accessible to unauthorized people.

3. Data Leakage Risks: The Salesforce ecosystem, while robust, can expose sensitive data like customer information, files, and other critical data, contributing to Salesforce DLP risk. This can happen due to accidental data sharing or abuse of privileged user data access.

Quick Tip: For those concerned about data leakage risks, Strac offers automated detection and redaction to help you maintain control over your sensitive data.

Sensitive data detection, classification and Redaction
Sensitive Data Redaction

4. Authorization Bypass: Authorization bypass is a security loophole that can expose your Salesforce CRM to unauthorized access. It happens when security protocols fail to restrict access effectively, allowing unauthorized users to view or manipulate sensitive data. This risks CRM compliance and leads to data breaches and legal repercussions.

5. Stored Cross-site Scripting (XSS): This type of XSS can be hidden on any web application page that gathers user input and stores it for future use. If not filtered, the input can blend into the website and run in the browser, leading to various browser-based attacks.

6. SOQL Injection: This is a security vulnerability in Salesforce CRM where attackers manipulate user input to alter SOQL queries. By doing so, they can gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or execute restricted functions. This compromises data integrity and poses a serious risk to CRM regulatory compliance standards.

7. Compliance Risks: Non-compliance with international regulations like GDPR, CCPA, or HIPAA can result in hefty fines and legal repercussions. For instance, under GDPR, companies can face two levels of administrative fines:

  • Up to 2% of the company's annual global turnover or roughly €10 million, whichever is higher.
  • Up to 4% of the company's annual global turnover or roughly €20 million, whichever is higher.

7 Strategies for Enhancing Data Loss Prevention in Salesforce

A report by SilverlineCRM states that 86% of sensitive fields are not protected in many Salesforce instances. This underscores the importance of DLP strategies, especially when Salesforce CRM often holds sensitive customer information like social security number, credit card details, or driver's licenses. Here are seven strategies to keep your data safe and secure in Salesforce CRM:

1. Optimize Security Settings

Security Setting during Setup

Regularly conduct Salesforce Security Health Checks to ensure your security settings meet the Salesforce Baseline Standard. Aim for a high compliance score to minimize vulnerabilities.

2. Limit System Admin Roles

Reducing the number of 'System Admin' profiles is crucial to avoid ungoverned changes that could lead to data loss. Instead of granting full admin access to multiple users, assign specific roles and responsibilities to each admin. This ensures that only qualified individuals have the authority to make significant changes, thereby reducing the risk of accidental or intentional data mishandling.

3. Restrict "Modify All Data" Permissions

Limit the number of profiles with "Modify All Data" permissions to minimize the risk of user-inflicted data loss. This permission should be reserved for admins or important stakeholders.

4. Certify Salesforce Admins

Certification isn't just a badge; it's a testament to an admin's skill level and understanding of Salesforce best practices. Ensuring that all Salesforce admins are certified provides multiple benefits⬇️

  • It elevates the team's overall competency, 
  • Ensures the team is up-to-date with the latest Salesforce features and security protocols.

This is crucial for maintaining a secure and efficient CRM system.

5. Unique Credentials for Integrations

Assigning unique credentials for each integration streamlines monitoring and enhances security. If an issue arises, you can quickly identify which integration is the culprit, thereby reducing downtime and potential data loss. This targeted approach to credential management is crucial for maintaining a secure and efficient Salesforce environment.

6. Implement Robust Backup Strategies

A well-thought-out backup strategy is crucial for safeguarding your Salesforce data. Incorporate both full and incremental backups into your plan. Full backups capture all existing data, while incremental backups only store data that has changed since the last backup. To further enhance your data protection, consider third-party solutions that offer features like encryption and automated backup schedules.

7. Regulatory Compliance

Pay attention to data protection laws and regulations like GDPR, CCPA, or Salesforce HIPAA compliance. Ensure that your backup strategies are compliant with these regulations to avoid legal consequences.

Strac for Salesforce Security

Strac supports users to keep their Salesforce data safe. The platform offers a robust Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution that seamlessly integrates with Salesforce, providing additional security for sensitive CRM data.

➡️Learn more about Strac’s solution for Salesforce Data Security here - Salesforce DLP.

Strac’s key features to keep your sensitive data secure.

Automated Detection and Redaction: Leveraging high-accuracy machine-learning models, Strac detects and redacts sensitive information, reducing the risk of unauthorized exposure.

Comprehensive Data Classification: The platform offers a robust framework for classifying various types of sensitive data, making it easier to apply appropriate security measures.

Fine-grained Access Controls: You can implement detailed access controls, ensuring only authorized personnel can access sensitive data within Salesforce.

Anonymization and Masking: Use Strac’s advanced features to anonymize and mask data, especially in sandbox and testing environments.

Regulatory Compliance: Strac helps you comply with various data protection laws like GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA, offering peace of mind and reducing legal risks. A DLP Security Checklist can help ensure your backup strategies comply with these regulations.

Integrations - Strac offers integrations is the widest range of SaaS apps - from Gmail, Salesforce, to ChatGPT, Intercom, Slack, Zendesk, and more. 

Strac SaaS Integrations

Alerts and Notifications:  Stay ahead of potential security issues with real-time alerts and notifications. These timely warnings allow you to take immediate corrective action, ensuring your Salesforce data remains secure.

Strac UI Vault: Strac offers a secure vault environment for storing and managing sensitive Salesforce data. This adds an additional layer of protection, making it even more difficult for unauthorized users to access your valuable information.

Founder, Strac. ex-Amazon Payments Infrastructure (Widget, API, Security) Builder for 11 years.

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