Your Need For Salesforce Sandboxes and Data Masks

Salesforce offers a variety of CRM solutions to leverage customer service, marketing, business development, and more for organizations. Modernizing your system or set of systems can be daunting. One of the many reasons you may be hesitant to implement and integrate complex systems could be due to the fact that when project complexity increases, so does the risk. When the complexity and risk of a project are higher, innovation and productivity tend to suffer and the intended changes to improve your systems may never happen. However, these risks can be mitigated using Sandboxes and Data Masks!

Sandboxes give more agility and reduce the risk of making changes by allowing developers to test the changes before moving them to production. A Sandbox is an add on feature in Salesforce where users are able to develop configuration changes as well as test and train these changes prior to putting them into production – which is the live and working environment. Any changes that are made are pushed into a changeset, controlling what moves from the Sandbox to production.

A common misconception people have when starting to utilize Sandboxes has to do with which types of data can be changed. There are two types of data; Data and MetaData. Data includes records such as phone numbers and addresses. MetaData includes configuration changes such as processes and baselines. This type of data can be changed in Sandbox. It is imperative that these configuration changes are made in Sandbox and never in the actual working environment because you could potentially break something that cannot be fixed.

There are four different editions of Sandboxes available in Salesforce; professional, performance, unlimited, and enterprise. The number of Sandboxes and types vary between these four depending on which level your organization decides to purchase. In addition, Salesforce offers four types of Sandboxes; developer, developer pro, partial copy, and full Sandbox. So what’s the difference between these four types? Developer and developer pro Sandboxes do not copy any data. In partial copy, 10k records per object are copied and in full copy, all of the records are copied.

Sandboxes can also be refreshed at different times depending on which type of Sandbox is used by your organization. Developer types can be refreshed every day, a partial copy can be refreshed every five days, and a full copy around once every month. When you refresh data in your Sandbox, both Data and MetaData are copied into the Sandbox. When changes are made in the Sandbox, only the MetaData is pushed into production, not Data. Adding, deleting, or editing records in Sandbox does not make changes to other environments.

The safety of the data is a major concern when it comes to the use of Sandboxes. Sandboxes with unmasked sensitive data can be risky as a broader set of employees and contractors may have access to Sandboxes. One way to maximize safety and minimize access to sensitive data is by granting employees access to only the data that is required for their role. For example, John is an Account Executive at your company. He is given access to all of the sales data but does not have access to view the company’s marketing analytics, service delivery details, or financial information because it is not relevant to his job. Beyond limiting data visibility, Data Masks can be used in Salesforce to provide the most security to your sensitive data while testing applications.

There are a variety of ways to mask your data including, anonymization, pseudonymization, pattern-matching, and deletion.

  • Anonymization scrambles the contents of a field so that it is unreadable e.g. John becomes gJ5ii42-/.
  • Pseudonymization converts a field so that it is unrelated to the original e.g. John becomes Mark.
  • Pattern-matching replaces data with user-specified patterns while deletion just deletes the entire field into an empty data set.

By using data masks, your organization can meet compliance needs, address data security, develop and manage with agility, and increase productivity.

At Brite Systems, we keep our client’s data secure and our Salesforce team utilizes sandboxes extensively. If you would like to secure your organization’s data, contact our team of experts today.

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