Your Salesforce Org stores a ton of sensitive information; keeping things compliant and private — while still maintaining the pace of change — requires resources that most teams don’t have.
A big part of the problem is visibility. If you don’t know what, or where, your most sensitive data is, it can be virtually impossible to build an effective security program. This is where data classification comes in.
What Is Salesforce Data Classification?
Data classification helps organizations understand their data and answer important questions: where is PII stored? Who can view it? Who can change it? Once you know this, it’s much easier to manage compliance policies and mitigate risks around data loss or theft.
Because Salesforce hosts customer data and financial records, organizations must ensure they have proper controls in place to protect their data. Data classification is one of the main ways businesses can do this in Salesforce — and we have an entire post dedicated to Salesforce’s built-in data classification tool.
Now that we know the what, we want to look at the why — below, we’re covering some of the main reasons and benefits to using data classification in Salesforce.
Access and confidentiality
As we mentioned, your Org stores tons of critical information about your customers, prospects and business — if the access controls around that information are incorrect, obsolete or not properly understood, that’s a clear source of risk.
Salesforce’s access controls are complex (if you need a crash course on how they work, we have a free eBook on the topic here). But even the best-designed access controls require a comprehensive understanding of where sensitive data is housed. Once you know this, it is significantly easier to assign view, edit or delete privileges to the appropriate users.
Data classification is about more than just privacy. It also helps identify the data in your Org that is subject to regulatory compliance — think, pricing controls in Revenue Cloud (SOX), patient records in Health Cloud (HIPAA), etc.
When you know where in-scope data is, you can build controls around the processes and integrations that could affect it. Read more about data classification and compliance in this post from our parent company, Netwrix.
Even if your Org — or your business — isn’t in scope for regulatory compliance, you’ll want to know where private and sensitive information is housed for security purposes. With data classification enabled, you’ll be able to more effectively prevent unauthorized users, fraud and data deletion by restricting access or requiring additional oversight where it’s needed.
Classifying data also plays a huge role in business risk assessment — by knowing what and where the more sensitive data in your system is, you can direct resources where they’re most needed, and triage risk accordingly.
Data classification makes the data in your system accessible and easy to read (and locate) — saving time and resources as a result. That translates to more accurate reporting, and more timely insights into your business and your customers.
There’s no denying that building and implementing a data classification scheme takes time. But it’s a one-time effort that will translate into improved productivity, fewer risks and less work around big picture goals like security and compliance.
Hopefully this post gave you clearer insight as to why data classification is important and the benefits it brings when implemented correctly.