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For InfoSec leaders, protecting sensitive data is not just a matter of compliance, but a fundamental aspect of maintaining trust, integrity, and the operational resilience of your organization. And Salesforce is at the heart of your operations– storing vast amounts of sensitive data ranging from personal customer details to critical business information. While this makes Salesforce a valuable asset– it also makes it a vulnerability if data isn’t properly secured.

This is where having a dedicated Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy for your CRM becomes important. A DLP policy tailored for Salesforce goes beyond traditional security measures, offering a comprehensive approach to identify, monitor, and protect sensitive data across the platform. It ensures that data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, whether through external breaches or internal mishandlings— serving as a safeguard for your Org’s reputation and compliance measures.

As we delve deeper into the why and how of formulating a DLP policy for Salesforce, remember that the goal is not just to protect data, but also to enable your organization to thrive by making data security a competitive advantage. Read on as we explore the essential elements of a Salesforce DLP policy, providing InfoSec leaders with the knowledge and tools needed to secure one of their most critical business systems. 

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data Loss Prevention (DLP), by definition, is a comprehensive approach to safeguarding sensitive data across an organization’s entire infrastructure, including networks, endpoints, and cloud services. It’s a critical component in the security strategies of modern Salesforce Orgs.

A DLP policy is the formal documentation and “game plan” that makes your DLP approach possible. Your Salesforce DLP policy serves as the framework that outlines the tools, processes, and strategies your Org utilizes to secure sensitive CRM data within the confines of your organization’s network.

The key objectives of a DLP policy include:

1. Protecting sensitive information 

From personal identification numbers to financial records and confidential business information, DLP helps in safeguarding data that is critical to the privacy of individuals and the operational integrity of organizations.

2. Compliance with regulations

Many industries are governed by regulatory requirements that mandate the protection of sensitive data. DLP aids in compliance with laws such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, and others, helping organizations avoid hefty fines and reputational damage.

3. Preventing unauthorized access and data exfiltration 

By monitoring, detecting, and blocking the transfer of sensitive information outside the organization’s network, DLP mitigates the risk of data breaches, leakage and loss.

An effective DLP policy involves identifying, monitoring, and protecting data in use, data in motion, and data at rest through deep content analysis and contextual security measures. The policy specifies:

  • What constitutes sensitive data
  • How it should be handled
  • Who has access to it
  • And the steps to take when policy violations are detected

A DLP policy aims to protect against both internal and external threats, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, safeguarding intellectual property, and maintaining the privacy and security of personal and corporate data.

Preparing Your Salesforce DLP Policy: Start Here

Implementing a DLP policy involves conducting some homework first. Before you begin working on your Salesforce data loss policy, you want to assess your overall Salesforce data risk. This involves identifying sensitive data, determining the risk levels of that data, and prioritizing risk measures accordingly to steer your DLP policy in the right direction. Here’s how to get started:

1. Identify sensitive data within Salesforce

The first step in crafting your Salesforce DLP policy is to identify and classify sensitive data within your organization’s Salesforce environment. Sensitive data can range from personally identifiable information (PII), financial details, health records, to proprietary business information. Data to be on the lookout for include:

  • Full name: Any combination of first name, middle name, last name, or maiden name.
  • Home address: Physical street address, city, state, and zip code.
  • Email address: Personal or business email addresses.
  • Social security number (SSN): Unique number assigned to U.S. citizens and some residents to track income and benefits.
  • Driver’s license number: Identification number from a personal driver’s license.
  • Passport number: Number found in a personal passport, used for international travel.
  • Date of birth: The day, month, and year a person was born.
  • Telephone number: Personal or business telephone numbers, including mobile.
  • Bank account numbers: Numbers associated with personal or business banking accounts.
  • Credit card numbers: Numbers found on personal or business credit cards.
  • Medical records: Personal health information, including medical history, diagnoses, treatments, and insurance information.
  • Educational records: Information about a person’s schooling, grades, and educational history.
  • Employment information: Details about a person’s employment, including employer name, job titles, and work history.
  • Biometric data: Fingerprints, retina scans, facial recognition, and other physical patterns used for identification.
  • Internet protocol (IP) address: Numeric address assigned to a device connected to the internet.
  • Vehicle registration number: Number assigned to a vehicle by the government.
  • National identification numbers: Unique numbers assigned to individuals by a government, other than SSN, such as a National Insurance number in the UK.

Salesforce provides field data classification options like data sensitivity level and compliance category to help in this process. These elements should be included, maintained and distributed as part of your broader Salesforce Data Dictionary.

2. Conduct a data risk assessment

Once you have identified the sensitive data, the next step is conducting a comprehensive data risk assessment. This involves understanding the potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with storing, processing, and accessing this data within Salesforce.

Salesforce’s Event Monitoring and Field Audit Trail features can be instrumental in this process, offering insights into user behavior, data access patterns, and potential security threats. Additionally, employing methodologies such as threat modeling and risk scoring can help quantify the risks and identify areas that require immediate attention.

3. Prioritize data protection efforts based on the assessment

The insights gained from the data risk assessment should guide the prioritization of your data protection efforts. Not all data carries the same level of sensitivity or risk, so it’s important to allocate resources and implement controls based on the level of risk identified.

High-risk data may require more stringent controls, such as encryption, access restrictions, and continuous monitoring, whereas lower-risk data might be adequately protected with less intensive measures. Prioritizing your efforts ensures that you are not only efficient in your approach to data protection but also effective in mitigating the most critical risks first.

Steps for Implementing Your Salesforce DLP Policy

After locating and prioritizing the sensitive data within your Salesforce environment, you’re ready to move forward with developing and putting into practice your Salesforce DLP policy. 

This step requires a detailed approach to integrate data protection into every level of Salesforce use within your organization. As you shift from planning to implementation, remember that this effort should closely align with your organization’s specific needs, regulatory obligations, and the goal of maintaining a secure data ecosystem.

The focus now is on transforming your strategy for data protection into effective action, ensuring comprehensive coverage for all sensitive information within your Salesforce platform.

1. Policy scope and objectives

Developing an effective data loss prevention policy for Salesforce is a strategic endeavor that starts with a nuanced understanding of the policy’s scope and objectives. This step is foundational, ensuring that the policy comprehensively addresses all facets of data protection within the Salesforce ecosystem.


Establishing the scope is the first critical step, serving as the blueprint for the policy’s reach and impact. It involves detailed considerations including:

  • Data coverage: This aspect identifies the types of data the policy protects, highlighting the breadth of information considered sensitive and in need of safeguarding within Salesforce.
  • User inclusion: By specifying which users, roles, and departments fall under the policy, this clarifies the human aspect of data interaction, emphasizing accountability and awareness among all stakeholders.
  • Process inclusion: Detailing the monitored and controlled processes underscores the operational aspects of the policy, from data entry to how reports are generated and used.
  • Salesforce instances: Including all Salesforce instances ensures the policy’s uniform application across the organization’s entire Salesforce environment.
  • Third-party applications: Acknowledging integrated third-party applications that interact with Salesforce data ensures these external elements comply with the policy, maintaining a secure data ecosystem.


The objectives articulate the policy’s ultimate goals, driving home the reasons behind each stipulation and the outcomes they seek to achieve.

  • Protection of sensitive data: This objective underscores the policy’s primary goal—safeguarding sensitive information from unauthorized access, ensuring data is only accessible to those with legitimate need.
  • Compliance with regulations: It highlights the importance of adhering to legal and regulatory standards, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to legal compliance and ethical conduct.
  • Preservation of customer trust: This reflects the policy’s role in maintaining customer confidence by ensuring their data is handled with the utmost integrity, a crucial factor for business reputation and customer retention.
  • Data integrity: Emphasizes the commitment to maintaining data accuracy and consistency, vital for operational excellence and decision-making reliability.


2. Definition of sensitive data categories

At the heart of the policy is the identification and classification of sensitive data. By categorizing data effectively, the policy sets the stage for targeted data protection strategies, ensuring that sensitive information is handled with the utmost care and in accordance with its classification. Here are the steps to take to properly define sensitive data: 

  • Classification methodology: Once sensitive data is identified, the next step involves applying a detailed classification methodology. This involves categorizing data based on its level of sensitivity and the potential impact of its exposure or loss. Categories might include confidential, private, public, or internal use, each with its own set of handling rules and protection measures.
  • Protection level determination: The classification of data directly influences the level of protection each category necessitates. Highly confidential data, such as personal identification numbers or financial records, requires stringent security measures, while less sensitive information may be protected with less restrictive controls.
  • Targeted data protection strategies: With sensitive data clearly identified and classified, the policy can now outline targeted data protection strategies tailored to each category’s specific needs. These strategies can include role-based access controls, regular backups, audit trails and more. This ensures that all data, regardless of its classification, is handled with care and protected in accordance with its sensitivity level.

3. Data handling and access control procedures

Next, you’ll want to develop a comprehensive framework for how sensitive data is processed, stored, and transmitted is the first step. This framework should address various aspects of data management, including data entry, storage solutions, data processing activities, and the secure transmission of data both within and outside the organization. It ensures that every interaction with sensitive data is governed by strict guidelines, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or data leaks. Within this framework, you should include:

  • Defining access controls: Central to these procedures is the definition of access controls. This involves specifying who is authorized to access sensitive data, underlining the importance of role-based access. Access controls are meticulously designed to ensure that employees are only granted access to the data necessary for their job functions, minimizing the risk of internal threats and inadvertent data exposure.
  • Conditions for data access: Alongside who can access data, the policy also delineates under what conditions access is granted. This includes criteria such as the use of secure connections, multi-factor authentication, and the need for access to be granted on a least-privilege basis. Conditions for data access ensure that data is not only accessed by the right individuals but also in a manner that maintains its security.
  • Data handling protocols: The policy elaborates on the protocols for data handling, detailing how data should be managed at each stage of its lifecycle. These protocols cover data creation, modification, storage, transmission, and deletion, providing clear guidelines to prevent unauthorized data manipulation or loss.

4. Monitoring and alerting mechanisms

To enforce the policy and ensure ongoing compliance, robust monitoring and alerting mechanisms must be in place. These systems continuously oversee data movement and access within Salesforce, identifying any actions that deviate from established norms. By detecting potential security incidents in real-time, the policy enables swift responses to prevent data breaches, unauthorized access, or loss.

Sonar is your ultimate tool for proactively monitoring Salesforce. Sonar visualizes your event monitoring logs and provides automated alerts when new application access is added or updated, opening the door to security threats.

5. Incident response and recovery plans

Lastly, a comprehensive incident response and recovery plan is essential for mitigating the impact of a data breach or loss. This section of the policy should outline: 

  • Immediate incident response: The plan kicks off with clear procedures for an immediate response to security incidents. This includes the initial steps to quickly contain the breach, preventing further data loss or exposure. Rapid response actions might involve isolating affected systems, revoking access, or implementing additional security measures to secure data.
  • Assessment of the situation: Once the immediate threat is contained, the policy outlines a detailed process for assessing the situation. This involves identifying the scope of the incident, the data affected, and the potential impact on the organization. A thorough assessment is crucial for understanding the breach’s implications and planning the next steps for recovery and notification.
  • Notification procedures: The plan specifies protocols for notifying affected parties, which may include internal stakeholders, customers, regulatory bodies, and law enforcement, depending on the nature and severity of the breach. Timely and transparent communication is key to maintaining trust and meeting legal and regulatory obligations.
  • Data recovery processes: For incidents involving data loss or compromise, the policy outlines recovery processes to restore lost data from backups or other means. This ensures that operations can be resumed as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to business activities.
  • Incident analysis and future prevention: Perhaps most importantly, the plan includes a comprehensive process for analyzing the incident to identify its root causes and any security shortcomings that were exploited. This analysis is critical for implementing corrective measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. It may involve updating security protocols, enhancing training for employees, or making changes to access controls and data handling procedures.
  • Return to normal operations: The final step in the plan is guiding the organization back to normal operations, ensuring that all systems are secure and that any changes made in response to the incident are fully integrated into the daily workflow. This phase also includes monitoring for any residual effects of the incident and verifying the effectiveness of the corrective actions taken.

In crafting a Salesforce DLP policy that incorporates these essential elements, your organization can create a secure and resilient environment for their sensitive data. This not only protects you from the common risks Salesforce can impose on your business but also reinforces its commitment to data security and privacy standards.


Conclusion: Amplify Your DLP Policy With Sonar

Creating a solid DLP policy for Salesforce goes way beyond just ticking off compliance boxes; it’s about keeping your data safe, earning trust, and staying agile in the face of challenges. By smartly pinpointing what data needs protection, setting up clear rules on who can access what, and having a game plan for when things go sideways, you’re not just protecting bits and bytes—you’re making sure your Salesforce setup is a safe, efficient machine that keeps your business ahead of the curve.

Sonar is an invaluable tool for supporting your DLP policy in Salesforce. It provides proactive observability and robust data governance, helping IT and InfoSec leaders confidently secure sensitive customer data. Sonar’s data loss prevention software detects access changes, alerts leaders to potential risks, simplifies data classification, and ensures system uptime—all crucial elements for maintaining a secure Salesforce environment aligned with your DLP objectives. Best part? You can try it for free– no strings attached. Access Sonar now.