How To Secure Your Salesforce DevOps & Ensure Maximum Security

You know the drill – security is a must during app development. Salesforce isn’t different. If you’re using DevOps to create apps for your business or organization, you must take steps to secure your Salesforce DevOps environment. Unfortunately, the process of integrating security functions into the Salesforce DevOps cycle (which should happen from the very beginning) sometimes meets resistance from developers and managers who may have a different belief that security may slow down the development process. However, you must convince all stakeholders of the importance of security and privacy alongside uptime and customer experience at the end of it. You need to convince them that Salesforce development requires a structured and disciplined approach that balances operational governance and continuous delivery.

Why secure your Salesforce DevOps? And How About External Security?

There are a couple of things. First, although Salesforce is a potent vehicle for digital transformation, it lacks built-in release processes or source repository. As such, the platform struggles with things like version control, constant code overrides, and resolving conflict metadata, making it a wise move to secure your Salesforce DevOps at all times. It means that whether you have ten or a thousand sandboxes, you face the challenge of keeping the data and metadata they contain in sync. There’s a real risk of merge conflicts and no core compliance strategy. This is because Salesforce wasn’t originally built with these needs in mind – it wasn’t meant to be a collaborative DevOps environment.

Security Solutions for Each of the Five Levels of DevOps Maturity

A solution such as Copado, a DevOps platform that’s 100% native to Salesforce can help you achieve the required security levels to protect your development environment. But, before you get started, you need to understand where you are on the DevOps journey. Every user is at a different position on the path to successful DevOps. Each level requires a different set of security approaches for maximum impact.

Factors to Determine Where You Are on the DevOps Journey

The following are several questions to help you determine where you are on your Salesforce DevOps journey;
  • What’s your level of customization? How many sandboxes or production environments do you have?
  • Did you have a branch management strategy for your code? If so, what was it?
  • What’s the experience level of your Salesforce delivery team? Does it purely comprise developers, or is it a hybrid of developers, administrators, and other parties?
  • What do you use for data and metadata backup? Do you even have a governance structure?
  • What’s the relationship between your enterprise security team and the rest of the Salesforce team?
secure your Salesforce DevOps

Selecting the Right Security Stratege

Depending on your answers for the above questions, you’ll fall into one of five stages of DevOps implementation, i.e., select and deploy, version control, agile releases, intelligent automation, and continuous delivery. Here’s how to proceed;

Level 1: Select and Deploy

At this level, the organization is focused on selecting, deploying, and managing metadata. Your team likely lacks a single source of truth for modifications and struggles to achieve coherency across multiple teams. You’ll need four key things to achieve the desired security level – audit trails, a compliance strategy, security testing, and ad hoc backups. Without proper backups, it can take a long time for your Salesforce development environment to recover in case of an outage. This can result in massive losses. You need to put real effort to secure your Salesforce DevOps environment.

Level 2: Version control

At least half of all Salesforce customers are at level two in their implementation journey. They’ve started to establish basic version control. They are also doing compliance reviews and backups. However, tasks are still manual and ad hoc. Additionally, the team lacks structure. Thus identifying issues before they become security concerns is a challenge. If you find yourself in this stage, the first step you need to take is establishing an auditable audit trail in Salesforce. Also, you must automate compliance checkpoints and perform weekly backups. Above all, consider creating a testing plan for the entire development process.

Level 3: Agile releases

Since the majority of Salesforce users are at level two, it means that Level three is the stage most users are currently aiming to reach. One of the hallmark features of this level is being able to tie releases to an agile planning tool. Agile releases align your company’s business goals with your Salesforce implementation goals and overall security strategy. The one tool that you’ll need here a lot is automation. Typically, the user is already doing the right things, but most processes are still manual. Automating audits, compliance monitoring, testing/code review, and backup can help you move to the next level.

Level 4: Intelligent Automation

Users at this level are nearly there. They’ve already automated vital security processes and quality checks in critical parts of the development process. However, there are still a few manual steps within the system that may create security loopholes. You need to address these gaps. Three key areas to focus on here are production, regression testing, and daily backups. All these three areas need to be automated. Otherwise, something like daily manual backups can consume a lot of time. Some organizations lose as many as eight hours of work through manual backups. You nearly at the prime position in your bid to secure your Salesforce DevOps environment.

Level 5: Continuous Delivery

This is the Holy Grail for Salesforce DevOps users. It means that you’ve achieved true CI/CD, thus continuously and securely delivering new capabilities to the market on a daily or even hourly basis. Unfortunately, currently, less than 5% of Salesforce users are at this level. Despite reaching the apex, though, users at this level still need to ensure continuous ad automated compliance monitoring. Continuous regression testing and near-real-time ability to recover is also essential.

What Level are You?

Security is critical to success in the Salesforce DevOps environment. If you’re already using the platform, take some time to assess your security needs (use the questions discussed above) and take the necessary steps to secure your Salesforce DevOps process.