Does CRM keep your data safe? 10 practices for data security and privacy in CRM software.

In today’s business landscape, data serves as the bedrock upon which successful organizations are built. It acts as the catalyst for business intelligence and informed decision-making. However, managing a vast amount of data also carries a significant responsibility: ensuring data security and privacy. Platforms dealing with customer data bear an even higher level of accountability.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms collect, store, and analyze vast amounts of data to enhance customer interactions, improve engagement, and drive business growth. Businesses relying on systems such as CRM should prioritize sensitive data security as a significant concern. In this article, we’ll provide insights into the importance of data security and privacy, reveal the main threats, and offer a set of best practices that you can implement to fortify your software systems.

Data security & privacy: Why is it important?

A robust CRM system typically stores sensitive information about customers, such as names, contact details, purchase histories and even personal preferences. This data is valuable for a wide range of activities, including sales, customer support, and esspecially targeted marketing campaigns. In this context, the issue of data security and customer trust takes centre stage. Actually, it becomes a significant challenge.

Effective customer data protection is essential for various reasons, from safeguarding your business’s reputation to complying with government regulations. Let’s explore the key reasons why customer data protection should be a top priority for businesses.

The importance of data security and privacy_linksoft
The importance of data security and privacy_linksoft

Prevent legal issues: Non-compliance can result in severe penalties, which is proved by a PwC survey, according to which 41% of organizations have experienced regulatory enforcement action related to data protection. Data protection becomes critical as it can have severe repercussions, including fines and lawsuit.

Avoid financial implications: Being irresponsible with data can lead to data breaches. Besides the overall inconvenience and disturbance caused by this kind of event, it is important to highlight the financial implications, because data breaches are costly.

Secure intellectual property: Most of the world’s publicly traded companies value, around 85% of it, is now attributed to intangible assets. In this context, securing CRM data as a critical business asset is pivotal and prudent data handling becomes essential for building trust.

Safeguard your reputation and customer trust: According to a Salesforce survey, 89% of customers are more inclined to recommend a brand after having a positive interaction with it, also pinpointing the crucial role of CRM data security in safeguarding customer trust.

Acquire competitive advantages: By being responsible and vigilant with customer data, you’re not only protecting your reputation, but also setting yourself apart from the competitors. Within this framework, protecting customer data proactively is not just a legal obligation, but an essential aspect of building and maintaining a successful business.

Data security concerns in CRM

Since cloud-based CRM platforms store vital data and sensitive information, they naturally draw the interest of malicious entities. Sensitive data represents an attractive target for cybercriminals and any breach or mishandling of this data can have serious consequences. Businesses that ignore these issues risk legal penalties, financial losses and, most importantly, a loss of trust from customers.

Data breaches and malware attacks_linksoft
Data Breaches and Malware Attacks

Internal risks

      • Employee negligence: By making unintentional errors, employees can expose CRM data to leakage or unauthorized access. This includes: the use of weak passwords, sharing login credentials with others, leaving devices unattended or unlocked, etc;
      • Insider Threats: In this case, we’re approaching intentional damage done by employees who can abuse their privilege in legitimate access to CRM systems. The malicious actions include data modifying, deleting, copying, or sharing for personal gain or malicious intent;
      • Lack of employee data security training: This happens when employees are not aware of the potential threats and how to prevent or manage them;
      • Data mishandling: It includes improper data management throughout its lifecycle. This happens when storing data in unsecured locations, transferring it using unencrypted channels, and when disposing data without due procedure.

    internal risks in data security and privacy for CRM

    External risks

        • • Cyberattacks: These are attempts of hackers and cybercriminals that target CRM systems to exploit their vulnerabilities. Various methods are used in this regard: brute force attacks, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, disrupting operations or stealing sensitive data;
        • • Phishing: With phishing, CRM data can be compromised by malware or hacker exposure. Usually, phishing happens through fraudulent messages that impersonate legitimate entities and trying to trick users into clicking on infected attachments, malicious links or providing personal data or credentials;
        • • Malware: Viruses, trojans, ransomware, worms, spyware, or adware, are all part of malware. This harmful software program can cause damage and compromise your data by corrupting, deleting, encrypting, or transmitting it to unauthorized parties;
        • • CRM Data breaches: Breaches occur due to a weak point in the CRM’s security defenses. For example, weak passwords cand lead to unauthorized access or CRM data exposure to malicious elements.

External threads

10 practices for data security in CRM

CRM systems are at the heart of managing personal data for many businesses. They store a wealth of customer information, ranging from basic contact details to detailed records of interactions and transactions. The challenge is to balance the utility of CRM systems with the responsibility of protecting this data. In this context, you can implement some, or even all the practices we’re about to name below.

1. Implement Strict Access Controls

Implement role-based access controls to ensure that employees have access only to the data necessary for their specific roles. For example, the sales team needs access to sales data and customer information, while marketing people need access to leads’ information.

Review and update these user roles regularly and revoke access for employees who no longer require it.

2. Optimize CRM Data Lifecycle

Manage the entire lifecycle of your CRM data and adopt a systematic approach to its collection, usage, storage, and disposal. In this regard, make sure that your CRM adheres to the GDPR compliance principles: lawfulness, fairness and transparency, purpose limitation, data minimization, accuracy, integrity and confidentiality, storage limitation, and accountability. Define clearly how to gain and manage customer consent for data collection, what data is stored and how long it’s retained.

3. Encrypt Sensitive CRM Data

Whether at rest or in transit, sensitive data should be secured by utilizing encryption protocols. To ensure secure data transmission between CRM systems and external entities, you can leverage SSL/TLS encryption protocols. It acts like an unbreakable code, so even if unauthorized individuals obtain access to your data, they cannot decipher it.

In this situation, VPN also plays an important role. It creates an extra layer of secure tunneling for data in transit and makes it more difficult for attackers to exploit your information. By encrypting email attachments and using secure transfer methods, you protect your CRM data while sharing it with external parties.

4. Perform Regular Data Backups

In case of system failure, a breach, or accidental data loss, you should ensure that you will not completely lose your information. The backup of your CRM data acts as a safety net, as insurance for your data. In this regard, create regular backups and store them in secure offsite locations to ensure data integrity and availability when needed.

5. Leverage Regular Software & System Updates

System updates are keeping your CRM software up to date with the latest security patches and enhancements. The protection against known vulnerabilities is shown by addressing known weaknesses and strengthening the overall security posture of your CRM posture.

6. Secure Your IT Infrastructure

Keep your IT infrastructure protected from external threats by implementing robust network security measures. You can install a reliable firewall to monitor who has access to your data. Furthermore, you can install a reputable anti-virus program to take care of your CRM data, as well as protecting it from viruses, trojans, and other malware attacks. As mentioned before, don’t forget to encrypt all your disks and install VPN for an added layer of security.

7. Ensure Strong Passwords

To secure your system from internal threats, implement strong authentication methods. In this sense, you can enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), which is like having multiple locks on a door. Moreover, review and update user permissions regularly. Other best practices include setting complex passwords or changing them often.

8. Monitor Suspicious Activity

Implement real-time monitoring and alert mechanisms to detect any suspicious or abnormal activity within your CRM system. Think of it as having security cameras installed in your CRM environment, continuously keeping an eye out for any potential CRM security incidents or breaches. Furthermore, develop a comprehensive incident response plan to address data breaches and privacy incidents promptly. Include in this plan steps for notifications for affected parties and regulatory authorities when necessary.

9. Train your employees

Educate your teams on data security best practices and make sure they understand how important is to manage customer data with vigilance

10. Choose a trusted vendor

Among all the best practices for ensuring proper data management in CRM systems, the most important aspect of securing your data is to choose a reliable CRM provider. Research various providers and solutions, check security features and assurances vigorously because just as your customers matter, so does their data.

How Dynamics 365 protects your data

Cloud Security

All of Microsoft’s cloud products, including Dynamics 365 are built and hosted on their cloud platform called Azure, the world’s second-largest public cloud provider. (It also has the most compliance certifications than any other cloud provider.)

Azure is operated from over 100 secure Microsoft data centers worldwide, and each physical datacenter is secured with multi-layered protection. As Microsoft built Dynamics 365 on Azure, when you purchase any of the cloud-based solutions from that suite, you can rest assured that you are receiving the same state-of-the-art security, privacy, and compliance.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 security
Microsoft Dynamics 365 security

Data segregation

Dynamics 365 runs on Azure, so it’s a multitenant service by nature. This means that multiple customers’ deployments and virtual machines share the same physical hardware. Azure uses logical isolation to separate each customer’s data from others. This gives you the scale and economic benefits of multitenant services while preventing customers from accessing one another’s data.


Microsoft Dataverse, which securely stores and manages data from Dynamics 365 and other business applications, employs SQL Server Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) for real-time data encryption. Encryption Keys, managed by Microsoft, are essential for data access and are strongly recommended to be managed directly by Microsoft.

But Microsoft’s encryption prowess does not stop there; it extends to securing data transit. Connections between users and Microsoft data centers are encrypted using industry-standard Transport Layer Security (TLS), guaranteeing data integrity during transmission.

      • • Encryption Keys: Encryption keys are the linchpin of data security. Microsoft manages these keys to ensure the highest level of data protection. Administrators can access and self-manage these keys, but it is highly recommended to entrust Microsoft with their management.
      • • Secure Data Transit: Microsoft secures data during transit by encrypting connections between users and its data centers, relying on the industry-standard Transport Layer Security (TLS). This ensures data integrity during transmission.


    To access data, only authenticated users with specific user rights to Dynamics 365 are permitted. Dynamics 365 relies on Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to identify users, ensuring they have valid Azure AD accounts within the authorized tenant.

    Additional authentication measures, such as conditional access and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), provide enhanced security by considering factors like user location and device used.

        • • Azure Active Directory (Azure AD): Dynamics 365 Online users must have a valid Azure AD account within the authorized tenant to access the platform. Azure AD accounts can be associated with other business applications, streamlining user access across various services.;
        • • Conditional Access: Azure AD can enforce conditional access policies based on various factors, such as user location and the device used. Real-time risk detection enhances security by dynamically assessing whether access should be granted;
        • • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide additional authentication beyond just their username and password credentials. This helps thwart automated cyber-attacks and unauthorized access.


      Authorization is the control of access to Dynamics 365 applications. It lets you control the functionality and data that users can access. Dynamics 365 uses security roles for authorization. After a user is authenticated, the security roles assigned to the user or groups of users authorize access to data, services, menus, and other Dynamics 365 features and capabilities.

      Granular Access Control: Security Roles

      Security roles in Dynamics 365 are instrumental in regulating user access. Each user must have a security role before they can log in, and if an individual user has multiple security roles assigned, he will get access based on that specific role combination.

      Security roles restricts users to only access information relevant to their specific role and responsibilities. They facilitate a granular approach to data access control based on the combination of roles, teams and business units assigned to them.

          • • Business Units: Dynamics 365 utilizes business units to define the organizational structure. Each user is assigned to a specific business unit, but for finer security granularity, role-based security is recommended;
          • • Role-Based Security: Roles are pivotal in granting permissions to users based on their job responsibilities. Permissions include privileges like creating, reading, updating, and deleting records. Dynamics 365 provides predefined roles like “System Administrator” and “System Customizer,” but you have the flexibility to create and edit roles to align with your organization’s unique security needs;
          • • Team: Teams enable the collective assignment of a security role. Any user added to a team inherits the security role associated with that team. This feature simplifies the management of permissions across users from different business units;
          • • Hierarchy Security: This model categorizes user access based on their position within the company hierarchy. It proves invaluable when managers require access to records or reports that typically fall outside their department’s purview.


These are detailed access permissions assigned to different security roles. Each security role consists of record-based and task-based privileges that can be assigned at user and team levels.

      • • Record-level privileges – these privileges cover 8 privileges in order to create, read, write, delete, append, append to, assign, and share. You can decide which of these privileges are assigned to a security role to determine the user access level to a specific record or record type. Here, a user can be given “share privileges”, as mentioned above;
      • • Field-based security – allows restrictions to be applied around individual fields on a record. For example, a user might have the record-level privilege to read Account records, but due to field-based security, data in the Payment Detail field will be masked;
      • • Task-based privileges – tend to be on/off controls and aren’t based on business units or organizational considerations. Examples of these privileges include bulk deleting, publishing reports, viewing audit history, and publishing duplicate detection rules.

Ensure business data security with Dynamics 365

Microsoft solutions offer robust data security measures to protect your sensitive information. By choosing a cutting-edge software such as Dynamics 365, you can be sure that your data is safe within an advanced security system and your business is not the next hacking target.

Microsoft understands the critical nature of data security, and Dynamics 365 reflects this commitment with a multi-layered security approach. This approach encompasses data encryption, identity and access management, threat detection, and more. By layering these security measures, Dynamics 365 ensures that your data remains protected both at rest and in transit. Good news is, you’ re in the right place, and LINKSOFT can help you implement the secure Dynamics 365 suite as a CRM solution for your business.


Right from the beginning, we set out to build a Microsoft Dynamics Centre of Excellence that reunites the best specialist and the most efficient platforms in order to implement high performing and easy-to-use CRM solutions. We impose the most demanding standards of excellence on our processes, in order to ensure we are able to fulfill our mission and respect our values.

Get in touch with us now, and let’s craft the perfect strategy for your business!