Salesforce has gained popularity as a development environment due to its no-code/low-code capabilities, which the company calls "Clicks, Not Code." As the name suggests, users can create their own updates and applications without writing a single line of code.
But what most users don't realize is that these benefits have a short shelf life. No-code environments inevitably become more complex. And data security becomes increasingly difficult to manage as system complexity grows.
Each configuration and customization creates metadata with interlinking dependencies. As time goes on, these links grow in complexity and importance. Introducing changes to a piece of data has wide-ranging and potentially costly consequences on other aspects of your Salesforce environment.
Threats to your system come in many forms. Everything from malicious cyberattacks, to simple errors by team members, to natural disasters can result in costly data breaches that expose sensitive information. A complete data security strategy needs to take every possible precaution to protect this valuable data.
The issues that arise when no-code/low-code environments grow toward more traditional development environments can be mitigated through intentional action and the utilization of automated DevOps tools. These tools provide a range of benefits, such as an increased rate of deployment success, a reduction in errors, and higher ROIs for development projects. Automated DevOps tools also reduce data security vulnerabilities.
But how can they do this? And which tools are best equipped to address these specific problems?
These automated DevOps tools are essential to supporting a complete data security strategy in a low-code environment: static code analysis, continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (CI/CD), and backup and recovery.
Static Code Analysis
The code that makes up your applications and updates — whether you're using Clicks, Not Code or writing lines of code yourself — directly impacts the emerging complexity of your environment and potential data security challenges.
Improper data relationships, bugs, and other errors can create faulty metadata dependencies that not only impact the functionality of your system but the general security of it as well.
Moving from a no-code/low-code environment to one with more complexity will require some work from your developer team. This will come in the form of directly addressing new challenges as they appear through new features and updates.
Static code analysis ensures the code that goes into these DevOps projects is free of vulnerabilities and errors by providing complete visibility to your team members. This is done by automating quality checks on two levels — line by line, as well as an overall snapshot.
Line-by-line alerts can be set to notify your developers the moment a line of code is flagged by one of hundreds of built-in rules. This enables your developers to fix the problem immediately, before it has a chance to be attached to any other contingencies down the line.
Static code analysis also offers wider views of your system to find existing technical debt and shore up errors that already exist within your DevOps environment.
Automating these essential functions saves your team members time as well as supports data security measures as your environment grows more complex.
The speed at which you can address emerging data security issues will have a great impact on your success in doing so. A no-code/low-code environment will quickly become more complex and require continuous improvements.
Working with a multideveloper team is a great way to increase the output of your DevOps pipeline, but it also introduces potential errors.
Developers are likely working in their own sandbox before merging their updates with the main code repository. A frequent result of this are lines of code from different developers that don't work properly with each other. If these conflicts or overwrites aren't addressed, they can lead to failed deployments or bugs in the live product. These bugs have the potential to become data security threats.
Continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (CI/CD) are automated DevOps tools that ensure the lines of code that make up an update or application are properly arranged. Even low-code environments have the potential for improper coding structures. These automated tools can catch such errors before they become security threats.
Backup and Recovery
As mentioned above, there are numerous threats to the overall security of your system, whether no-code/low-code Salesforce environments or those that have grown more complex. Implementing automated testing in various stages is essential to protecting your system — but if we're honest with ourselves, our Salesforce environments can never be completely secure.
No-code/low-code environments might seem simple, but losing access to the metadata links that keep your operations running will have drastic impacts. Backing up your data, especially with an automated data backup and recovery tool, ensures you are protected even if the worst-case scenario occurs.
The ability to quickly return to operations helps your company in a few ways. First, any downtime is time where you can't provide services and make money. The average cost for a data breach was $4.24 million in 2021. Second, exposure of data leads to a loss of trust from your clients and customers. And third, it takes a lot of redundant work to get your system back to its previous state.
A frequent and reliable data backup reduces the redundant work and much of the cost of a data loss event. The ability to quickly recover this information gets your system back online. A quality backup and recovery tool can be automated to take snapshots of your environment — either the whole thing or specific areas — so you always have a recent set of data to fall back on if a data loss event occurs.