Dynamics 365 Security: How To Keep Your Data Safe

In the last couple of years, the media has reported on a number of high-profile data breaches ranging from LinkedIn and eBay, to the more taboo Ashley Madison website. Over 500 million user records were published during this time, with personal information being exposed in public. This has justifiably caused users to worry. Dynamics 365 security is important, so how do you keep your data safe?

While it’s obvious that all of these companies that were targeted took information security very seriously and paid a lot of money to maintain confidentiality through state of the art firewalls and more, they aren’t entirely to blame for these breaches.

First of all, data hacking and security breaches don’t always happen because of hackers. Most people will assume that personal information is thrown into the public by dark figures hiding behind screens looking to create a bit of mayhem, however often, the issues are closer to home. Employees and people tasked with handling this information are a lot of the time responsible for these breaches and according to Verizon, 77% of data breaches include an insider.

For example, in 2014 Facebook released 6 million user’s personal data by mistake and an employee at Snapchat was a victim of a phishing e-mail scam, divulging information on 700 employees. Accidental or not, the biggest threat to data security are the ones responsible with using and handling the data.

So how then can you ensure data security? The key is finding the perfect balance between security and usability. Some companies conjure far too tight a control over their systems (biosecurity, multi-level authentication, data policies which allow access to only basic information, etc) which makes using the systems impossible for employees. This has a negative effect, with users opting out of inputting data and creating their own systems for record keeping, in order for them to have easier access to the information. Once again, the data security threat becomes real and while senior figures in the company may feel content and safe, in reality, data breaches become even more likely.

Finding the right business system is key and Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one CRM system that helps make data secure while providing ease of use to users. By taking advantage of the following functions, companies can ensure greater data security:

Role-based security

Role-based security is ideal for grouping collections of privileges into roles that underline the tasks that can be performed by certain users or teams. The system includes a set of predefined security roles, which makes security management easier. The privileges define access to creation, reading, writing, deleting and sharing records set by entity type. They also define how broadly the privilege applies, whether it’s at user level, business unit level, or across the entire company.

The clusters can be as general or detailed as desired. So, for example you can choose what a Sales representative has access to, whether they can read, write and share accounts and whether they have the option of deleting any accounts except their own. If say there’s a more senior user, like a Head of Sales, they can perform more tasks such as modifying data and viewing resources as well as assigning accounts to anyone in the system.

All Dynamics 365 users need to have a security role to access the system. These roles are cumulative as well, which means that a user can fulfil more than one role in the company and be given multiple roles to combine access to privileges required.

Business Units

Business units are groups of users in Dynamics 365 that allow for a company to build their business structure in the system. Some data needs to be kept separate from different groups in the organisation, but there also needs to be room for collaboration and by taking advantage of business units, companies can do that.

Record-based security

Companies can use record-based security to take data security even further. This feature allows for users with certain privileges to share them with users who lack those particular ones. So, for example one user who owns a record can grant access to the record to a user on another team if required. This sharing of privileges can be customised, like say wanting to allow the user to view the record, but not give them access to write.

Once these privileges have taken effect, only then can the user access the rights. If the user does not have the privilege to view, or read an account, they won’t be able to, even if another user may give them access to a specific account through sharing.


By taking advantage of the teams function, companies can effectively group users together. It’s an easy way to share business objects and allow for collaboration with different people across different units. If a team is part of a business unit, it can include users from other units. So, for example if you have users part of an IT department that are split into two teams: development and testing, but there is a project that needs them to collaborate. Therefore, access levels are shared between members.

Hierarchy security

The hierarchy security model is a feature that came into being in 2015. This a crucial feature for companies where the hierarchical structure changes often. This function is useful for example when a director is assigned a senior manager as a direct report. This way the director can access their report’s information and data. Also, if a colleague is covering for another employee, a company can assign them as a subordinate and the colleague will have access to all of the information required.

It’s a simple and flexible approach to ensuring the right access to data at the correct time.

Field-based security

Field-based security restricts access to certain high business impact fields in an entity only to certain users or teams. In layman’s terms it allows to read or write access of unique fields to be controlled tightly. For example, a user may have rights to read an account, but can be restricted from viewing specific fields in all accounts.

Dynamics 365 offers a wide range of tools to make sure that data and the responsibilities and privileges that come with them are maintained securely. If organisations work with an experienced CRM security consultant and use a mixture of the tools mentioned above then they create an environment that is accessible to users and is safe for data handling.

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