3 Ways To Secure Your CRM and Avoid Security Risks

October 1, 2019 Charity Heller
Cyberattacks are the number one threat to businesses worldwide, according to Information Age. Hackers can steal personal information about your employees, customers, and vendors ... data that is often contained within a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management tool.
Hackers can also engage in competitive espionage by stealing financial information, and details about planned projects. When hackers maliciously hack into your system, companies  pay the price. Data breaches cause damage to your brand, your internal and external relationships, and, ultimately, your ability to generate revenue.  
The news is rife with instances of data breaches that have impacted companies across a wide variety of industries, from Chipotle, to Twitter, to Equifax, to T-Mobile, to Target. One of the most recent occurrences happened at Facebook, where an unsecured database revealed phone numbers of 419 million users - and that's not even the largest data breach this year at Facebook. Clearly companies large and small struggle to keep data safe and secure. 
The CRM is an area where companies are particularly vulnerable.
The burden of responsibility for securing the sensitive data in the CRM belongs solely to the companies who requested, or accepted, this personal data. When the request for data is made, there is a reasonable expectation that data will be kept under lock and key.
Here are a few tips to help prevent a data breach by securing your CRM. 

How To Prevent a CRM Data Breach 

1. Secure your servers 

If you have physical servers at your office location, make sure your servers have secure points of entry, and your routers and local networks are secure as well.
This can be accomplished many ways; here are a few best practices:
  • Lock down the SSID of your router. Don’t use easy-to-guess names that a hacker could easily figure out.
  • Disable your router’s SSID broadcast. Prevent unwanted visitors from finding you by turning off this broadcast.
  • Create and continuously update your administrative login credentials, for any application where data is stored or accessed. Set a calendar to change the password regularly, use a strong password, and keep a log of who has credentials. 
  • Eliminate or limit remote access to your server. It might be inconvenient, but doing so can help to strengthen your wall of security and prevent outsiders from accessing your server remotely. 
  • Ensure your browsers are updated to support the latest security updates.
  • Enable firewalls for all computers on your network. 
  • Ensure your cloud storage provider follows strict data storage, encryption, and security measures like redundancy.

2. Ensure CRM administrators follow best security practices

Managing internal administrators can be one of the biggest challenges to implementing CRM security. 
  1. Staff members want to feel they can be trusted, but you have to manage access and access-levels to your CRM - even if that means limiting admin access. 

  2. Ensure employees are using their own individual accounts to login, instead of share logins. Additionally, when an employee leaves the company, make sure their login is expired or restricted. 

  3. A common overlooked CRM security risk is the ability to download information. While many employees need access to reporting to do their jobs, broad access can pose risks to the precious data that lives inside your CRM. Limit the number of individuals who can download data, and make sure everyone knows your company's  policy on how to properly handle the information. 

3. Stay Up-to-Date

One of the biggest security missteps? Not staying up-to-date on the latest versions of your CRM software! With each update, you’ll gain deeper protection from data breaches and risk of vulnerability of your system to hackers, viruses, or bad actors of any kind.
CRM security risks are real and could threaten the very lifeline of your business, not to mention leave your business exposed to legal threats if negligence exists. In lesser scenarios, it can damage your brand, hurt your bottom line, and impact your internal culture - all things that can take years to rebuild. Be proactive and empower your employees to support your CRM security goals to help you succeed in this area.

About the Author

Charity Heller

Charity Heller is a senior manager of content at ZoomInfo and Datanyze. She is passionate about creating relationships through storytelling, communication, language, and strategy. Charity is a certified project manager with a BA in English literature and professional editing certification from the University of California, Berkeley.

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