How Safe are the Client Management Platforms?

Due to the constant changes in consumer needs and behavior, there is a growing need for the adaptation of AI-powered applications across digital platforms. It helps offer customers a better experience and thus improves conversion and retention rates. As the use of client management platforms grows, the number of data breaches recorded is growing too.

Client management platforms hold terabytes of critical personal information such as sales data, credit card details, financial data, and company intelligence. Attacks on CRMs lead to devastating experiences in business. Like any other online platform or application, CRM platforms are not immune to attacks.

What risks do client management platforms face?

Salesforce is one of the CRM platforms adopted by the highest number of organizations in the world. Millions of organizations use the platform to perform various tasks that improve customer experience, such as:

  • Achieve smarter selling capabilities
  • Enhance customer service from any place
  • Use a variety of digital marketing tools to engage customers
  • Perform e-commerce at a larger scale from anywhere
  • Empower sales teams to achieve marketing goals faster

The tool connects millions of customers to organizations daily, which leaves the CRM platform with many online security risks. Due to this, Salesforce security should be a priority in any organization to ensure its data is safe. Salesforce and other CRM platforms experience different levels of risk if they are not properly protected.

  • Fraud is where attackers obtain money from users through deceit
  • False billing where attackers send false invoices to receive payments
  • Identity theft where attackers steal personal data to commit fraud
  • Selling of data to third parties where cybercriminals steal large volume of data and sell it to other organizations
  • Corporate or competition espionage involves stealing an organization’s sensitive data.
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Major CRM data threats come from extremal sources such as hackers and malware attacks. The platform also suffers insider attacks from employees, contractors, and other stakeholders. Data from Intel Security Report shows that 43% of CRM data losses come from internal actors. The report notes that half of the losses are mostly accidental. 57% of CRM data losses come from external sources, and most of it is malicious or intentional.

More often, cybercriminals target clients and build trust with them through pretense. Once their target builds trust with them, they move into action and obtain all the sensitive data they want and then sell it. Malware penetration is another major threat where criminals use phishing applications to infect documents, email contacts, and telephone numbers. The attackers pretend to be high-ranking organization managers and request other managers to transfer funds. In October 2021, Atento, a CRM provider, suffered $42.1 million losses due to a LockBit Ransomware attack. LockBit blocks user access and only allows it after receiving compensation.

Client management platform errors that leave the tool vulnerable to attacks

The complexity of marketing technology is growing fast. Companies adopt CRMs to deal with the challenges of using complex marketing tools. When creating a website or launching a CRM platform, online security should be a priority. This is because CRM platforms handle terabytes of data. Failure to take strict security measures leaves the platforms vulnerable to a range of cyberattacks. These are the errors that company managers should make and thus expose their CRM platform.

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Misconfiguration: A CRM platform contains a broad range of features that allow employees to connect with clients through multiple applications and APIs. To allow smooth connectivity, the platform is configured according to the tools in use and needs. Sometimes the IT team fails to configure it properly, which leaves loopholes for unauthorized users to access the system.

Lack of knowledge of workflows and processes: Daily, organizations complete thousands of processes across departments. They observe workflow protocols such as who should initiate a client order, process, or follow up on payments. All processes and workflows should be aligned with departments such as marketing, accounting, and customer service.

Lack of understanding of how these processes should flow from one department to the next leaves security vulnerabilities. It opens doors for people who should not access the CRM, making it vulnerable to attacks. Lack of knowledge of workflows and processes is a major cause of insider threats.

  • 66% of companies regard intentional or accidental insider breaches as more likely to happen than external breaches
  • Organizations in the US record about 2,500 internal threats daily
  • Losses due to insider breaches in 2022 have reached $15.38 million.

Leaving the CRM platform to handle everything: Many CRMs are offered as SaaS products that dwell on the cloud. Providers of such platforms invest a lot in cybersecurity to ensure the sustenance of their product integrity. Clients are not required to leave all security responsibilities to the SaaS providers. They should also play their part in ensuring they maintain maximum data security.

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Many organizations leave all responsibility to the CRM provider and relax on their part. This gives access permissions to high-risk data or provides too many access permissions to a large number of users. What organizations forget is that once they obtain their CRM, they configure it to fit their needs. They don’t consider any security programs on their part or even implement backups. This is where security gaps are created, leaving the CRM vulnerable.

Major data breaches in 2021/22 and what to do

2022 has recorded more data breaches than other years before, which is costing organizations millions in losses. Tech.co news has recorded a long list of major breaches in 2021 and 2022.

  • In 2021, T-Mobile experienced a data breach that led to a loss of $350 million.
  • On October 11, 2022, about 300,000 Toyota customers were affected after a breach occurred on its T-Connect platform.
  • On September 20, 2022, hackers accessed employee email accounts of American Airlines. They were able to access sensitive information such as passport numbers, medical details, and date of birth.
  • On June 29, 2022, OpenSea lost $1.7 million of NFTs after hackers accessed the employee email database.

Conclusion

Client management platforms are not immune to cyberattacks if there are no security measures to protect them. Organizations should consider using multiple security protocols such as authentication, data backup, and encryption. There should be continuous filtering and monitoring to detect malicious activities. Organizations should conduct employee training on the importance of online security and conduct security audits often.

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