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How to prevent data breaches when integrating third-party CRM tools


How to prevent data breaches when integrating third-party CRM tools
How to prevent data breaches when integrating third-party CRM tools

The recent security breach at Xfinity, a reputed internet provider in the US, has exposed the personal data of almost all their customers – nearly 36 million people – including account usernames, passwords, and answers to their security questions. This has sparked conversations about the paramount need for proper security measures and data and security breaches awareness. 



This has sparked conversations about the paramount need for proper security measures and data and security breaches awareness. 


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a prime tool for businesses in terms of relationship management with their customers and clients. However, with the ever-present increase in terms of sensitive data being stocked in digital management systems, it has become critical for organizations to exercise the use of vigorous actionable CRM security measures to safeguard themselves against cyber threats and warrant data privacy.  This consequently makes the use of CRM tools to cement safety as a priority and not an option, to necessitate proper security measures being undertaken for everyone’s benefit to fortify their businesses and their customer’s sensitive data and information. 


The attraction of boosting CRM functionality with third-party applications is irrefutable.  From marketing automation to AI-powered analytics, these integrations promise a streamlined path to customer success. However, such integrations could lead to data breaches if proper protection measures are not taken.

Each integration acts as a new node of a branch of your CRM tree, a likely weak point for malicious enforcers. The responsibility for data security does not end there, at the CRM's edge. Businesses must scrutinize their partners, ensuring adherence to stringent security protocols and data protection regulations. The consequences here could be crippling but reputationally and monetary. 

The good news is, that building a secure CRM ecosystem is possible. Before including any third-party app in the dynamic, companies must conduct thorough due diligence, assessing the vendor's security posture, data handling practices, and compliance with relevant regulations. Implementing clear access controls and data encryption within the CRM further bolsters the defense.


Here are several ways common threats and vulnerabilities exist, and some best practices and tools to combat proper compliance with data protection laws and regulations. 


It is imperative to realize the underlying risks and types of cyberattacks that can compromise the security and privacy of sensitive data, a few of them are:


Phishing

Phishing is one of the most common ways to execute a cyberattack affecting CRM systems. These attacks are the most common because they rely on human error or fear to actualize. They involve the use of emails or messages that pretend to be from a legitimate source who may be in the guise of a vendor or business partner to trick users into supplying sensitive information such as login credentials or financial data.


SQL Injections

These attacks capitalize on vulnerabilities in the software used to build and manage CRM systems, permitting attackers to gain unauthorized access to databases and steal or manipulate sensitive data. It’s executed when a malefactor sends a malicious SQL code as part of a user input, such as a form submission or search query. The database can then execute this code, potentially allowing the attacker to view, change, or delete the data present in the CRM system.


Distributed Denial of Service(DDoS) Attacks

These attacks involve bombarding a CRM system with traffic, causing it to crash and resulting in a loss of service and data, or likely theft. 


Malware

Short for malicious software, this is designed to impair computer systems, extract data, and disrupt their normal operations. This particular kind of attack can be devastating for CRM systems, and usher loss of sensitive customer data, system downtime, and reputational damage to the business. It’s also one of the most common ones the general public is aware of including viruses, trojans, and ransomware, which can gain unauthorized access to CRM systems, steal data, and lock users out of their accounts until a ransom is paid. 


Social Engineering 

Social engineering relies on human interaction to trick users into giving away sensitive information that could endanger the security of the CRM system. This is another one that involves the distribution of malware via email attachments or links. 


How to address these vulnerabilities and prevent data breaches when integrating third-party CRM tools?


  • Recognizing weak authentication access and controls


Weak authentication and improper verification of a user’s identity could lead to damage when it comes to access controls and mechanisms that restrict user access to different parts of the CRM system. These weaknesses become chinks in the armor that malicious individuals take advantage of and gain unauthorized access


  • Recognizing the need for encryption


It is paramount that encryption is the norm for dealing with sensitive data while it is being stored and even when it is being transported from one source to another within the CRM ecosystem. This encryption-by-default policy would save them from any unprecedented attacks–offering protection by default 


  • Recognizing the need for updated software

Adaptability is another facet of preventing data breaches when integrating third-party CRM tools. To stay updated with the latest threats to security and the latest ways to protect oneself from data breaches, security practices need to stay updated and ready for any new and varied threats

  • Ensuring the integrity of the third-party CRM tools

Notably, it would be essential to thoroughly examine the third-party CRM tools that are being used in terms of integration because if their integration in itself causes a breach it would do more harm than good to the business. Proper quality checks need to be conducted and the third-party CRM tools need to be assessed in terms of the standard of services they are providing

  • Recognizing the nature of threats 

It is essential to consider all the aforementioned things but it is also essential to note that threats can often come from within the organisation itself. This is why it is crucial to conduct a regular examination of the tools being used and their integration into the ecosystem of the business


Ultimately, harnessing the power of third-party integrations without compromising data security requires a proactive approach. Treating each vendor as a stalwart guardian of your customer data, not a convenient shortcut, is the cornerstone of building a truly secure and resilient CRM landscape. Do you need more information on how to keep your data safe? Visit us at here and book a demo.

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