Keeping your sales staff engaged and productive is a constant struggle. You kick the day off with prospecting, email, and then it’s time for appointments. To help sales professionals get through this work, dozens of sales automation software tools have come to the market.
There’s no harm in helping people become more productive. Unfortunately, that desire for the latest and greatest automation tool has other problems. Ignore these problems, and they pile up like compound interest. Week after week, your organization will be exposed to more risks, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The Risk Lurking Inside Sales Automation Tools
Think about some of the most popular sales automation tools on the market. They have sensitive data from your customers and your organization’s internal organizations. For example, you may have customized quotes and invoices sitting in those channels. Email outreach tools may have email lists that you’ve developed over time. Chat tools may contain customer data from when they ask questions about deliveries and other factors.
Resource: Are you in the banking industry? If so, you face heightened expectations to address cybersecurity in cloud computing. To help you address that risk, read our post: “7 Fatal Cloud Computing Security Mistakes Bankers Need to Know About.”
What Happens if Confidential Data Is Lost?
Data loss and leaks are painful. Such events call your entire cybersecurity program into question. At the very least, you’ll need to apologize to your customers. You may also need to offer fraud protection services and spend more time on the phone addressing customer concerns. Worst-case scenario, you may attract the attention of the government, face fines, or worse. The implementation of GDPR, even though it only applies to Europe, indicates that there’s limited patience with data privacy failures.
Some of you might object, saying that you aren’t responsible for cybersecurity failure committed by another company. In a technical sense, you’re right. However, such distinctions aren’t going to be persuasive to an anxious customer concerned about fraud and reputation damage.
Building a Governance Framework for Sales Automation Tools
While 100% perfect cybersecurity is unattainable, you can take steps to reduce the impact and likelihood of problems. Protecting your sales automation tools requires putting them into a robust cybersecurity program. Review what’s required to make this change happen.
- Inventory your sales automation tools: You need to chart the landscape of your sales tools before you can manage the risk. Create an initial list on your own, and then sit with at least two sales staff to find any other tools they use. To be comprehensive, ask about any sales software they may be expensing or buying through company credit cards.
- Assess your information exposure risk: Initially, the recommendation is that you classify sales automation tools into two categories: high risk and low risk. High-risk tools would be used by more than 50% of the sales force and contain confidential data. Additionally, you may want to check if the provider of the sales tool has suffered a security breach in the past 12 months.
- Train your staff to spot problems: Most sales automation tools that your staff uses are cloud-based. That provides great flexibility and innovation opportunity, but that rapid innovation can make it tough to keep up your security protection. Train staff on when and how to alert your cybersecurity department to carry out a new assessment. You may need to carry out occasional assessments when new features are implemented.
- Develop data exposure contingency plans: The moment a vendor or sales professional makes a data mistake isn’t a good time to improvise! Develop a playbook to guide your response to the vendor and customers.
That’s a lot to ask, isn’t it? If you stop here, you’re unlikely to succeed. It’s tough to adopt these new habits and behaviors. Fortunately, you can ease the burden on your employees.
Reducing Risk with Access Management Controls
When too many people have access to sales tools and customer information, you’re begging for a scandal to occur. Don’t worry; you can implement a simple strategy to cut your security exposure in half. By using an access management software solution, you can eliminate gaps in your program.
How can using an access management solution reduce risk?
- Save time on IT audits: Regular reviews and IT audits are a proven way to detect and reduce IT risk. Unfortunately, these reviews used to be tough to conduct. With Compliance Auditor, you can automate IT audit alerts and reviews. That means you’ll never fall behind again.
- Reduce risk for powerful systems: Giving someone access to a powerful system (e.g., approval for high-value invoices) is a risky decision. That’s why you need to use a multi-level approval process for creating, changing, and removing these accounts. Compliance Auditor makes this easy to do.
- Reduce inactive user accounts: Over time, your organization will have more and more inactive user accounts. Inactive user accounts, especially to sales, customer service, and finance systems, put your organization at risk. To address this risk, check out Stopping Inactive User Account Risk Fast.
With access management processes in place, the likelihood of a data breach will decline.
What to Manage After You Address Sales Automation Security Exposure
Tightening your protections over sales automation tools has been the focus. These are high-risk tools from a security standpoint, but they are only one area of risk exposure that you need to examine. After you have this area managed, what else should you look at? It depends on your industry and cybersecurity maturity. As a recommendation, you should focus on improving cybersecurity employee training, systems, and management oversight.
To continue your journey of continuous improvement, read a few other articles:
- Scale Up Your Platform’s APIs and External Users Securely with These 6 Tips: If you have apps or an API with third parties, this is a must-read article!
5 Ways to Improve Mobile App Security in the Enterprise: Mobile apps are a popular way to increase customer engagement, but you also need to cover your bases in cybersecurity.