Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, by its very nature, invites CRM security concerns. The information wrapped into a CRM solution can be the heartbeat of a company and is ripe for the plucking. Whether you use a cloud-based CRM solution or an onsite solution, you need to take care to make sure that your data is protected.
CRM Data Security
There are two major variants of CRM systems that we will explore in this article: cloud-based CRM solutions and on-site CRM solutions. Both of these types of CRM software will face similar concerns related to:
- Malware and phishing attacks
- Authorized user authentication
- Tracking user sharing rules
- Data encryption
- Monitoring transaction logs
Apart from data security, there are direct threats to CRM security that your CRM vendor should be able to address:
Does your CRM vendor take the necessary steps to stay ahead of regulatory requirements? If not, your company would be faced with severe fines for not taking CRM security seriously. Only certain users should be authorized to access different types of data when using a CRM security system.
Will the CRM security protocol in place by the vendor ensure that you can run your CRM system with minimal interruptions?
CRM Data Backup
How often is your CRM data backed up? And how quickly can it be retrieved in case of an emergency? And how secure is the CRM security backup data?
CRM Data Migration
How easy is it to move your CRM to a new platform? How easy is it to switch vendors? How fast can a data transfer to a new platform be completed? Will CRM lead management and customer strategies be impacted?
These are all questions you should definitely ask before selecting the right CRM security service provider for your business. No one would want backup CRM security data to fall in the wrong hands so your CRM vendor should ensure that the necessary steps are taken by them to ensure CRM security.
Concerns with Cloud-based Solutions
A major concern with hosted solutions is that the customer’s data is not on their own premises and that someone else has access to it. Customers need to be concerned about what kind of security the host is providing to protect against this. What types of CRM security protection are in place to prevent someone from hacking into the host? Is there monitoring going on to make sure that employees of the host are not accessing data that should be off-limits to them?
Another CRM security concern that customers have simply dealt with is the connection to the Internet. If a piece of the hosted solution can work without connecting to the Internet, customers would prefer it that way. Any opening to the Internet on either side provides some sort of vulnerability that could be exploited. The cloud-based CRM host needs to provide CRM security solutions to prevent unauthorized access from the outside, either into the host itself or to the customer while connected to the host. Security issues can quickly diminish the ROI of your CRM and compromise your data.
Thankfully, online vendors recognize that their reputation is built on CRM security and that any type of CRM security breach could be potentially fatal to their business and CRM workflows. Many vendors house their solutions in Fortune 500 data centers, something that most customers would never be able to afford on their own. A vendor can sell a customer the CRM security of their hosted solution by pointing out to them that they are offering a superior security system than they could ever afford on their own.
Here are a few ways in which cloud-based CRM security is assured:
- Data safety is ensured by further segmenting the VPC
- Encryption is huge in CRM security, no one can crack your data without your permission
- Some VPCs ensure that data is backed up daily.
Concerns with Onsite CRM Solutions
Because cloud-based vendors can offer superior data centers, companies keeping their data onsite need to be concerned about what kind of CRM security they have in place to prevent attacks from the Internet. And contrary to belief, sometimes the worst CRM security threats have come from within companies. Yikes!
Some of the CRM security issues a business could be exposed to include:
- Denial of Service attacks – the purpose is to make the attacked system unavailable to customers. Any sort of downtime could be devastating to a company.
- Theft of customer information – CRM security solutions hold information about every customer a business deal with. Attackers can break in and steal this information.
- Malware attacks – hardware and data loss can occur from viruses and worms.
To guard against these types of concerns, several methods can be employed.
- A good firewall should be in place.
- Businesses should have a good password policy, enforcing both long passwords and encryption.
- An anti-virus program should be running on both workstations and servers.
- A VPN connection providing a secure channel when transferring data will help with CRM security as well.
No Perfect Solution
CRM security will always be a concern, and there is no perfect solution. Criminals will always be looking for new ways to continue to disrupt businesses. Whether using a cloud-based solution or one that is onsite, companies should do their due diligence in both cases. You may also want to explore a hybrid CRM security solution, one where the benefits of cloud-based and on-site CRM functionalities and CRM security options. Cloud-based services can store your data while an on-premises CRM security solution will ensure that your hardware is used to improve CRM security. Research your CRM security vendor and be comfortable with the security measures being offered.
Make sure you have strong measures in place if you’re going to be hosting the data yourself. While at the very least you’ll be certain to encounter some sort of virus or malware at some point, at least you’ll be comfortable that you took every reasonable CRM security step you could to protect your business.