Recent trends have put it beyond doubt that big data is on the rise. Unfortunately, so are cyber threats.
Cybercriminals are also becoming more and more prolific, increasing the complexity and volume of the threats that businesses typically face today. And with more and more companies turning to cloud-based solutions, it is absolutely critical to adequately address any security issues and safeguard valuable information and systems.
However, navigating the intricacies of a complex CRM system can be a challenging task. Without the necessary experience and know-how, critical security issues can easily be overlooked.
As a premier Dynamics 365 consulting partner with over 20 years of SaaS industry experience, OMI has the practical knowledge that comes from delivering cloud solutions while focusing on getting the user experience right, implementing different integration setups, as well as empowering sales, marketing, and other departments with the tools and know-how to navigate common Dynamics 365 pitfalls.
So in this article, let’s explore the crucial aspect of security. We look at the Dynamics 365 security model, some common threats, and some best practices for tackling them.
Dynamics 365 Security Model
With data being the central driver of any CRM platform, it only stands to reason that D365 is built with security in mind, in order to protect the integrity of the data and the privacy of users while promoting effective data access and collaboration among users.
The Azure platform serves as the foundation for the D365 security model. The model has a structure that provides for several levels of security: encryption of data, a secure virtual network gateway, key logs, safeguards against malware, and threat detection.
Authentication and authorization systems, such as multi-factor authentication with two-step verification, are used to manage access.
Authorization allows users to define roles and assign the necessary data access privileges. This facilitates a structured approach to controlling access and creates a data hierarchy that reflects the structure of the business.
Dynamics 365 also makes use of Azure Security Center’s advanced capabilities for detecting threats, and its tools for monitoring the security of the network.
Terms and Methods
First, a brief glance at some of the terminology that crops up in most D365 security discussions.
Each user is allocated a role that corresponds to their organizational position or job function, such as manager, sales representative, customer support professional, IT administrator, or marketing team member. Each role’s rights differ and can be customized to meet their data access needs.
In Dynamics 365, an entity is any data object maintained in the system’s database, this includes things like fields in forms, database records, customer and user accounts, and so on.
These rights are provided to specific user roles or accounts. A project manager, for example, may have ownership of project data, while their team members can merely view it. Similarly, different departments within the firm may have different rights granting access to various parts of the Dynamics 365 database.
These are the specific permissions assigned to users or roles, determining their access level to system entities like data fields, customer records, or user accounts. These privileges help organizations control user actions within the system, such as creating, reading, updating, or deleting records, and ensure data security by allowing access only to information and functions necessary for users’ job roles.
Types Of Security
Dynamics 365 offers several features to protect your data:
This type of security governs access to individual records. For example, a sales representative might only have access to the customer records they directly manage, while their manager can access all records being accessed by his entire team.
This level limits access to certain fields. It offers more granular control than record-level security. For instance, an HR employee might have access to basic employee information, but sensitive fields like salary and performance reviews could be restricted to HR managers only.
This approach grants access on the basis of a user’s position in the organization, facilitating data access through a hierarchical structure. A department head, for example, would be able to see their entire department’s data, while subordinates would only see the data that they need for their roles.
Access rights and privileges are granted depending on the user’s job role or function. A marketing team member may have access to marketing campaign data, whereas a finance employee would have access to financial records and reports.
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Dynamics 365 Security Threats
Understanding the challenges of implementing effective measures and safeguarding critical information in Dynamics 365 requires that you always remain aware of the most common threats faced by Dynamics 365 users. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Phishing attacks involve cybercriminals sending bogus messages which seem to come from a reliable source. These messages are intended to trick people into disclosing sensitive personal information or installing malicious programs. The attackers will then exploit this information to steal money, steal identities, or gain access to computer systems.
Unauthorized access to sensitive data stored in Dynamics 365 can lead to financial loss, reputational harm, and regulatory penalties.
Insider threats involve employees or contractors who have legitimate access to the system but misuse it for malicious purposes.
Ransomware refers to software that locks up your data with encryption and makes it inaccessible to you until you pay to have it unlocked.
Customer information, financial records, intellectual property, and other sensitive corporate data are all at risk, making it extremely important to understand and safeguard your implementation against these risks.
7 Dynamics 365 Security Best Practices
Limiting User Access and Privileges
Make sure that users are granted only the minimal level of access necessary to fulfill their job responsibilities – the principle of least privilege. This will help you insulate yourself from the risk of unauthorized data access.
Enabling Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA enhances security by asking users to provide two or more forms of identification before gaining access to the system. This precaution helps prevent unauthorized access, even in the event of a compromised password.
Regularly Updating and Patching Dynamics 365
Keep up with the latest fixes and upgrades from Microsoft to make sure you are consistently guarding your system against newly found vulnerabilities.
Implementing Role-based Security
Make sure your organization’s user roles are defined, and assign the appropriate access rights and privileges. This serves several purposes. On the security front, it makes it easier for you to stay on top of user access management – making sure that data is only accessible to those who need it, and it also promotes accountability. Users act responsibly when they are aware actions can be traced back to them
Monitoring and Auditing Dynamics 365 Access and Activity
Make auditing system logs and monitor user activity a routine and implement alerts to notify administrators of suspicious activity. This gives you a mechanism with which to identify and address potential threats in a timely manner.
Conducting Regular Security Assessments
Perform evaluations on a regular basis to identify potential vulnerabilities and areas for improvement, including assessments of user access permissions, system configurations, and policies.
Employees and contractors should be trained and reminded of the importance of data security on a regular basis. Repeat the potential dangers and best practices for protecting sensitive information and ensure your overall preparedness is always as good as it can be.
Understanding the D365 security model, being aware of typical threats, and applying best practices such as limiting user access, enabling multi-factor authentication, and conducting regular assessments are all part of addressing concerns in Dynamics 365.
You can be further assured of your implementation’s security by bringing in an experienced partner, such as OMI Dynamics 365 services, and taking advantage of specialized skills, industry knowledge, and value-added resources to assist in navigating the security challenge, and guaranteeing that your organization meets its objectives while limiting potential risks and keeping your data safe.