Expect the Unexpected, Protect Your Systems
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting business across the globe, many companies are trying to survive, while others are thriving from unexpectedly high demand (hand sanitizer and toilet paper, for example).
For businesses that have shifted to remote work options to protect employees, it can feel a bit like the wild west trying to keep productivity and morale up while figuring out the complex task of managing technology and protecting data from afar.
Although a global pandemic is not a common occurrence, you should always expect an “unexpected crises” to happen at some point. That’s why we’ve put together this guide with seven tips for keeping your CRM systems, like Salesforce, protected during a crisis.
Plan and Prepare
Before any crisis occurs, you have to have a plan to get through said crisis. Whether it’s planning for a natural disaster or business hardships, plan for the worst-case scenario. Many businesses have plans for economic downturns. But you also need to plan for circumstances that may be completely outside of anyone’s control. Work on building multiple plans for various scenarios (a 3-month vs. 6-month lockdown, for example, in the case of COVID-19). Then those plans can be adjusted accordingly if a crisis hits, as opposed to trying to build a plan from scratch with a fight-or-flight mentality.
When you’ve already been impacted by a crisis, like we are now, it helps to prepare mentally and through updated processes for changes in future expectations. Many thought pieces have already discussed how life as we know it is forever changed. How will that impact your company, internally and externally? For example, will more of your employees expect to work remotely? Will customer expectations change permanently and impact your customer service strategy? How does having a remote work policy affect the security of your data? These are things that you can prepare now for when lockdowns begin to relax and the economy eventually picks up again.
Consult Necessary Stakeholders
Whether that’s a manager, CEO, or your team of Salesforce users, you need to be in contact with the people whose voices matter. Communicate with teams and leaders before a crisis when you are planning for the unknown, but also prepare to over-communicate during a crisis. Even when leaders don’t have all the answers, leading effectively means communicate what you do and don’t know. A study at Forbes shows that customers are more likely to fault a company for under rather than over-communicating.
Company leaders need to communicate expectations and current situations (as necessary) to their internal teams, while marketing, sales, and service teams can work with customers to empathetically connect with them. A crisis may not be the right time to close a deal, but you can see if there’s anything that you can do that may help a customer in these difficult times.
Keep Morale High
It can be tough to lead in times of uncertainty, and with people’s routines affected like they have been by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be hard to ensure that employees are practicing property security measures to keep company data and CRM systems functioning properly. Keeping team (or company) morale high is not only a great way to keep productivity going as much as it can, but it also increases company loyalty. And loyal employees are less likely to purposefully do anything malicious that could compromise your systems.
Besides, it’s a lot more fun to work with people who are excited to work than the alternative.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
While the first tips affect businesses at the organizational level, the next couple are technologically based to digitally and physically protect your systems and data.
The easiest way to protect your CRM system is through several simple security measures. The first? Enable multi-factor authentication, or MFA. MFA logins require a second security step to log into an account, making it harder for hackers or those with ill-intentions to access your system. Turn on MFA across your organization in Salesforce and cross it off your security to-do list. Then you’ll already be one step ahead in case of a crisis.
Share Best Practices with Everyone
There are several other best practices in terms of cybersecurity that you can share with your organization to protect your CRM system. To improve your MFA even further, encourage the creation of strong passwords for logging into your CRM system. Many tools already do their part in this endeavor (requiring numbers and symbols in passwords). Some organizations and tools require users to change their passwords at frequent intervals. No matter what path that you choose, encourage strong passwords before a crisis hits.
Another best practice is to avoid scam emails. There will always be people that try to take advantage of the chaos and uncertainty surrounding a crisis to improve their own outlook. During the COVID-19 pandemic, phishing emails have taken advantage of the situation, sharing misinformation, fake security measures, and other false promises. Encourage your IT experts to keep your employees up to date on the latest scams and methods of detecting phishing emails. This is another easy way to keep your company’s data and hardware safe, whether there’s a crisis or not.
Secure Your Data
It might be stating the obvious but backing up your data is something that should be consistently done by an organization before, during, and after a crisis. While a lot of data is stored in the cloud instead of on office servers, the systems and processes for recurring backups still need to be implemented and reviewed regularly.
Protect Your Connections
For businesses that need even higher levels of security, having employees work remotely can be difficult for protecting against breaches. Use conference call software that provides additional security (maybe not Zoom) to prevent unwanted users from crashing your important conference call. If you require that your employees access your systems on a secure network, work to provide a VPN so that any time users need access remotely, they can do so without compromising security.
And another easy tip: Don’t take important calls on landlines that aren’t secure or in places where you could be overheard. While the quarantine measures may be keeping people from having top secret phone calls in public, encourage that practice even after your employees aren’t required to work from home.
These tips may help your business and Salesforce users keep your CRM system safe during the current pandemic but can also help you prepare for what comes afterwards and in case of any future crises as well. Planning and preparing can help mitigate worst-case scenarios in future situations. However, when you’re in the midst of unforeseen circumstances, you can still make decisions that will keep your data and systems security into you can ride out the worst. Not sure how to move forward with protecting your systems and processes? Consult with one of our Oceanforce Solutions experts!