April 25, 2024

Safeguard Your Salesforce Data: How a Salesforce Consulting Partner Helps Mitigate Risks from Misconfigured Apps

Salesforce is a powerful platform that empowers businesses to streamline sales, marketing, and customer service operations. However, its true potential is unlocked through custom applications built using Apex — Salesforce’s proprietary, Java-like programming language. The nearly limitless ability to customize instances is one of the biggest draws for organizations seeking to improve sales, operations, and customer experiences. But misconfigured apps can introduce security vulnerabilities that expose sensitive data. And that happens, which is why data security companies have recently issued advisories. The good news is that a qualified Salesforce consulting partner can help you mitigate these risks.

The Security Risks of Misconfigured Custom Salesforce Applications

Researchers from Varonis, a data security software company, “discovered that multiple government organizations and companies had customized or added on features to their Salesforce Apex code that leaked data, allowed data corruption, or allowed an attacker to disrupt business functions,” as reported by Dark Reading’s Robert Lemos. “The at-risk data included sensitive information such as phone numbers, home addresses, and SSNs, but also credentials, such as usernames and passwords, says Nitay Bachrach, senior security researcher at Varonis, who conducted the assessment.”

“At the heart of the problem, Lemos explains, “is the Apex programming language, a Java-like tool that allows companies to add functionality to their Salesforce instances and developers to create apps for the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace. Simple errors and misconfigurations while using the tool, however, can result in vulnerabilities that undermine security of corporate Salesforce applications.”

Even a minor misstep in coding Apex can create security gaps that leave Salesforce data vulnerable to hackers. 

  • Insecure Apex Code: Apex provides tools for controlling data access. However, if developers are not well-versed in secure coding practices, they might introduce vulnerabilities. For instance, using the without sharing attribute can bypass permission controls, allowing unauthorized users to access or modify sensitive data.
  • Improper User Permissions: Salesforce employs a robust permission system to control user access to data. But if user profiles and permission sets are not configured meticulously, it can create security gaps. For example, users might be assigned roles that grant them more access than their job function necessitates.
  • Unsecured Integrations: Salesforce integrates with various third-party applications to extend functionality. But if these integrations are not configured securely, they can create backdoors for unauthorized access.
  • Data Leakage Through APIs: APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are essential for seamless data exchange between Salesforce and external applications. However, if APIs are not secured properly, they can become conduits for data exfiltration.

When caught early, misconfigurations can be corrected before any serious consequences arise. Conversely, undetected security vulnerabilities can lead to severe problems. As we all know, data breaches have been responsible for financial losses, reputational damage, and regulatory fines. Compromised customer data perpetuates increasing occurrences of identity theft and fraud.

How a Salesforce Consulting Partner Can Help

For all of its expansive and dynamic features, the Salesforce platform can be a complex and sometimes challenging undertaking for customers. Configuration, for the most part, is relatively straightforward. Salesforce provides users with plenty of options for adapting the platform to fit their specific business processes. Tools include drag-and-drop, point-and-click, enable/disable, and more. The security risk for configuration remains relatively low.

Customization, on the other hand, involves software development, coding, and integrating the CRM service with third-party applications. The threat of dangerous vulnerabilities manifesting in the system can range from moderate to downright critical. So where custom apps are concerned, you may not want to go it alone.

A qualified Salesforce consulting partner can be your trusted advisor in navigating the complexities of Salesforce security, helping you mitigate the risks associated with misconfigured custom applications

  • Security Assessment and Architecture Review: A comprehensive security assessment can identify vulnerabilities in your custom applications, user permissions, and integrations. Your consulting partner can then recommend appropriate security measures to address these vulnerabilities and strengthen your overall Salesforce security posture.
  • Secure Coding Practices: Salesforce consultants with expertise in secure coding practices can help your development team write secure Apex code that adheres to Salesforce security best practices. They can also introduce code review processes to identify and rectify potential security issues early in the development lifecycle.
  • Permission Set Optimization: An experienced Salesforce consulting partner can help you optimize your user permission sets to ensure that users have the least privilege necessary to perform their jobs effectively. This reduces the attack surface and minimizes the damage if a security breach occurs.
  • Secure Integration Design and Implementation: When integrating Salesforce with third-party applications, your consulting partner can ensure that these integrations are designed and implemented securely, following Salesforce security guidelines and best practices.
  • API Security Best Practices: A Salesforce consulting partner can guide you on implementing robust API security measures such as authentication, authorization, and encryption to prevent unauthorized access to your data through APIs.
  • Ongoing Security Monitoring and Maintenance: Security is an ongoing and sometimes iterative process. A qualified Salesforce consulting partner can help you establish a process for continuous security monitoring to identify and address new threats promptly. They can also provide ongoing maintenance to keep your Salesforce instance up-to-date with the latest security patches.

Benefits of Partnering with a Salesforce Consultants

Leveraging Salesforce consulting partners brings value that extends far beyond mitigating the risks associated with misconfigured custom applications. 

  • Expertise and Experience: Salesforce consulting partners have a deep understanding of the Salesforce platform, its security features, and best practices. They can leverage their expertise to identify and address security issues that your internal team might miss.
  • Proactive Approach to Security: A consulting partner can help you implement a proactive security posture, enabling you to identify and address security vulnerabilities before they are exploited.
  • Reduced Costs: Security breaches can be incredibly expensive. By proactively addressing security risks, you can save your business significant costs in the long run.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your Salesforce data is secure allows you to focus on your core business objectives with peace of mind.

Custom Salesforce applications can be game-changing for businesses, but they must be developed and configured securely. Misconfigured apps introduce security vulnerabilities that expose sensitive data. 

By partnering with a qualified Salesforce consulting partner, you gain access to their expertise and experience in secure coding practices, permission set optimization, secure integration design, and API security. They can also help you establish a process for continuous security monitoring and maintenance to ensure that your Salesforce instance remains secure. 

Choosing the Right Salesforce Consulting Partner

Not all Salesforce consulting partners are created equal. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a partner for your Salesforce security needs:

  • Experience and Expertise: Look for a partner with a proven track record in Salesforce security. They should have a team of experienced consultants with deep knowledge of the Salesforce platform, its security features, and best practices.
  • Focus on Security: While many consulting firms offer Salesforce implementation and development services, choose a partner that prioritizes security and has a dedicated security practice.
  • Alignment with Your Needs: Evaluate the partner's understanding of your specific business needs and security requirements. Ensure they can tailor their services to address your unique challenges.
  • Communication and Collaboration: Choose a partner who values open communication and collaboration. They should be able to clearly explain security risks and solutions in terms you understand.
  • Cost and Transparency: Get clear pricing information upfront and ensure the partner's fee structure aligns with your budget. Look for a partner that provides transparent communication about the scope of work and potential costs.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a Salesforce consulting partner who will become a trusted advisor in securing your Salesforce environment and helping you unlock the full potential of your custom applications.

About Oloop Technology Solutions

Oloop is an award-winning, SBA 8(a) certified, minority owned enterprise specializing in Salesforce. We may be a small organization, but our experience is extensive and our commitment to clients is exemplary. Our Salesforce AppExchange rating is 5.0, the highest ranking possible. When we conducted our last D&B PPE survey, we received a 100% satisfaction rating from our clients for the quality of our work and personnel. Check out some of our company highlights.

  • Salesforce Ridge Consulting Partner 
  • Over 100 successful Salesforce engagements since 2015 
  • One of a dozen partners globally supporting the Salesforce Jump Start program 
  • Two (2) Salesforce MVPs on the team 
  • More than 70 member team across the United States, Canada, Egypt, India, and the Philippines 
  • Federal experience supporting the Small Business Administration (SBA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Commerce (EDA and NTIA), and the Veterans Administration (VA)

We have an extensive history as a Salesforce consulting partner, supporting clients across multiple industries. To learn more about how we can help you or to review our customer success stories, get in touch with us today!

Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

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