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Why You Need Visibility in Your Salesforce Environment

Eric Pearson Senior Product Manager , AutoRABIT
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

The Salesforce ecosystem continues to expand. The numerous managed packages and available add-ons offer added functionality—but these can also lead to a profusion of metadata, rules, and permission sets that can quickly become unmanageable.  

Rules governing a Salesforce environment can be dictated by the Salesforce platform, come from a managed package, or be instituted by an organization itself. As a group, these rules are known as a policy.

But unfortunately, many companies fail to adhere to the policies they put in place. This leaves them vulnerable to audits, creates data-security issues, and can even lead to the loss of proprietary information. The potential fines and lost opportunities can quickly add up.

Why would companies ignore their own policies? In many cases, they don’t intentionally ignore the rules they’ve put in place to secure and optimize their systems. Instead, they either don’t know about them or don’t have a system in place to verify their policies are being followed.

An unseen error can spell disaster for a Salesforce DevOps project. A bug that makes its way into a live update or application can degrade the end-user experience and create data-security vulnerabilities—while also becoming increasingly expensive to fix.

Visibility is key to getting your code right the first time—as well as ensuring that all policies are properly addressed. The good news is that there are automated tools available (such as static code analysis) that provide automated checks of these factors, giving you the information you need to streamline your DevOps pipeline.

Something as simple as visibility is often overlooked. But locking down these basic considerations is essential to properly managing your Salesforce environment. Here are five areas in which you can see improvement and better enablement through heightened visibility:

  1. Data governance
  2. Improved data security
  3. Cost reduction
  4. Product consistency
  5. Regulatory compliance

1. Data Governance

A strong data-governance strategy begins with knowing exactly where everything is and how it relates to the rest of your platform.

Accordingly, proper handling of your data streamlines various aspects of your Salesforce environment. Everything from planning to software development to regulatory compliance relies heavily on trustworthy—and complete—datasets.

Your data tells your story. And if you don’t know where your data is, you can’t capture and trust that story. Maintaining reliable oversight of your Salesforce data is much easier when you have assurance that your policies are being followed because everything is in the proper location.

2. Data Security

It’s impossible to achieve 100% protection from data-security risks. The best you can do is to (1) install as many safeguards as possible and (2) have a comprehensive plan in place in the event something goes wrong.

But before any of that can occur, you'll need to ensure proper oversight of code health and adherence to your Salesforce policies. Heightened visibility into code health, profiles, permission sets, and the actions of your team will allow you to rectify existing data-security threats and prevent problems long before they can be exploited.

Consider that buggy code in a live environment can hurt functionality and even create opportunities for hackers to create a back door to your Salesforce environment—compromising your data and the integrity of your access-control systems. Visibility into code health and updates can help you to greatly reduce the likelihood of a costly data-loss event or a hacker capitalizing on a vulnerability

Errors in code aren’t the only threat to data security. Permission sets that haven’t been updated or that are otherwise improperly configured, for example, can grant access to more people than necessary. For example, “modify and delete all data” is the most dangerous level of access anyone can have in their Salesforce instance. Granting this level of access to the wrong role can result in costly deletions or otherwise present risks to crucial data. Overexposure of data is a security risk that can be corrected with the help of increased visibility.

A user’s permissions should be audited any time there is a change to their role. New hires should also receive manual checks of permissions. But when dealing with monitoring the entirety of your workforce, an automated management tool is recommended. Automated tools can also help scan for policy-adherence considerations, saving time and effort.

3. Cost Reduction

The resources that go into maintaining a Salesforce environment need to be balanced by the benefits gained from that work. It’s easy to analyze the amount of developer time spent against the results of the application or update. The way a team interacts with the system at large, however, must also be considered.

Redundant work from reworking DevOps projects, fines and penalties from compliance failures, and lost opportunities can all be avoided by scanning code and policies. Simple errors can lead to costly results, so avoiding these unnecessary expenses increases the profitability of your operations. Combining cost-reduction measures with the speed and reliability of automation is essential to streamlining operations.

4. Product Consistency

A big part of building customer loyalty is consistently producing high-quality products. And when it comes to applications and updates, the quality of your code will be the deciding factor. High-quality code is testable, scalable, and establishes functionality without negatively impacting other aspects of a release.

Maintaining reliable visibility of Salesforce policies and code quality prevents unnecessary bugs, vulnerabilities, and wasted team member time. Policies and code reviews create a reliable infrastructure for your team, giving your developers and admins the support they need to oversee the important aspects of your Salesforce environment, confidently manage the platform, and produce dependable updates and applications.

Dashboards and reports that evaluate code health and policy adherence enable your team to adjust improper procedures and standards. These corrections provide the structure needed to implement repeatable, reliable processes that keep your Salesforce platform running smoothly.

At the same time, manual code reviews are tedious and prone to error. Because high-quality code is paramount, using every tool at your disposal to ensure high quality is imperative. Automated code reviews provide the visibility your developers need to fix errors as soon as they occur. Tools such as static code analysis are essential to ensuring proper coding structures in every release—supporting data security, superior quality, and lower production costs.

5. Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory audits don’t need to be a nerve-wracking experience. Companies that operate in highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance must be prepared to prove compliance with applicable regulations at any time. Maintaining consistent visibility of your system is the only way to properly be prepared for potential audits.

Remaining compliant with regulatory guidelines is a continuous effort. Repeated, automated checks of adherence to regulatory rules offers the peace of mind your team needs to focus on producing quality materials.

Gaining a high-level view of your Salesforce policies and code health helps avoid data-security vulnerabilities, ensures proper handling of sensitive information, and provides the documentation auditors need to evaluate your processes.

Confidence in your data-stewardship strategies start with preparation. And you can't properly prepare if you can't see what you're preparing.

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