Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Still Not Convinced Your CRM is Secure?

When a new business management solution is developed or for that matter when when a new anything is released it is bound to end up under the microscope. With Web Based CRM Software the area most scrutinized was how secure this web based application could really be. There has been many articles, white papers, webinars and so on discussing the security of online CRM Software and I thought I would add one more blog to this list to add further evidence of the tight security of online CRM.

First a list of 3 areas used to ensure the security of your Web Based CRM:

1) Data is housed in a highly secure Data Center and constantly maintained 2) Data is transferred using highly secure internet connections similar to those trusted by the banking industry 3) Customizable Organization Security Tools

There is no better place to start then the data center where an organizations information is stored. Prior to Web Based CRM it was up to each individual organization to house, maintain and securely network their own data center. This brings on a large cost and takes a lot of resources to properly house a data center. Involved in maintaining a data center is building the correct facility which is ready for all types of natural disaster and is constantly backed up as a fail safe. With this in the hands of an organization who's main role is to provide and protect such a data center combined with their ability to allocate a large amount of resources to this task, organizations can rest assured that their data is safely stored and backed up in a cutting edge data center.

Next we have the transfer of business information over the internet. In a time when I don't remember the last time I actually stepped foot inside of my bank and most people I speak with share the same trait, the internet has reached a point where data can be securely sent and received via the internet and a simple web browser. Using a file encryption like that leveraged by banks, Web Based CRM vendors can safely transfer an organizations data to any computer a user desires as long as they have a secure internet connection. The great upside to this functionality is the freedom it provides businesses and the money saved by no longer needing to have a hardwired office network. This feature allows SMB's to be up and running quickly with a secure CRM solution with little or no head aches, currently I even have an HP wireless printer which now allows me to sit in my kitchen, contact 2000 people simultaneously using Online CRM and print a confirmation of this act without a single wire to trip over.

My third point, is at the organization level. Many CRM vendors like Salesforce or offer many means of furthering securing your CRM based on user roles and profiles. Using customized user roles and profiles an organization may set exactly who can view, edit or view and edit any given record within their system. Best of all this functionality is easy to use and modify as new hires join the team or staff advance up the ladder. Adding again to security at the organization level is functionality called the audit trail. This feature provides executives, managers or administrators with the ability to see who has been doing what within the CRM. Companies can easily see who has created, modified or deleted any record which also acts as a means of uncovering the most productive employees.

The mentioned above features and functionality of Web Based CRM Software are only some of the ways CRM vendors are protecting your data while at the same time saving you money. For added security you can take it another step and add two-factor authentication which involves a USB token which acts as your key to your CRM platform. Without having your USB Key with matching login information your user name and password are rendered useless thus being of no value to scammers. All in all I believe that organizations can now trust Web Based CRM Software with their important data and still receive a good nights sleep.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Improve Coordination in a Business Organization

Organizations are always looking to increase productivity, smooth processes and cut down on the time it takes to complete tasks. When an organization is well coordinated and has smooth workflow processes they not only improve their output but they also improve their quality of work and accountability within the organization. In order to improve coordination certain tools must be present to allow for interdepartmental coordination and for employees to better collaborate on tasks. These particular tools can be found within business solutions like Web Based CRM Software. Many Online CRM solutions provide organizations with coordination tools like a shared calendar, instant messaging services, web self service portals and document, report and task sharing functionality. These tools allow individual employees as well as team members to function more effectively since all company information, documentation and historic events can be located within a single platform.

With a shared calendar and the ability to share documents, reports and tasks team members will poses all the tools they require to operate smoothly. A shared calendar will allow team members to view when other members are not in or taking vacation which will prevent the assignment of tasks for that particular time period which could delay a project. Also, having the ability to share documents and reports within a secure environment keeps all needed resources at the finger tips of the right people.

Other CRM tools including Instant Messaging and Web Self Service Portals improve coordination both within and outside of your organizations walls. A self service portal can lighten the work load your customer service receives with customer self service forms and allows your business to better collaborate while searching for related cases within a knowledge base. I have seen many different ways organizations attempt to maintain contact including the use of public messaging services, emails, phone calls and so on but none have worked as well as a secure internal messaging system. This will remove all chance of an important file making its way to a public messenger and will also make sure that employees are not spending more time chatting with friends then working with co-workers.

When looking for ways to increase the coordination within your organization there are some providers who can supply your organization with these particular tools and there are also CRM vendors like Salesforce and who provide these coordination tools as part of a complete CRM solution. To find the best fit for your company I suggest researching all options and even taking some free trials which are often offered to get the best feel for what your organization requires.

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