First, a little background
At RevCult, many of our clients work in highly secure and regulated industries (i.e. healthcare, financial services, etc.). With the close scrutiny involved with those industries comes an elevated focus on compliance and security. Almost all of our clients in those spaces have carefully defined and articulated data retention policies. When implementing a cloud solution, like Salesforce.com, to elevate your business and the processes that drive it, the platform often falls under the purview of Information Security teams. This is to ensure that the data stored within the platform adheres to the same standards as the rest of the IT systems.
Fortunately, Salesforce.com’s Shield security suite of products offers a solution to ensure that your data stored in the Salesforce cloud follows the same Data Retention Policies as the rest of the company. The component of Shield that can help here is called Field Audit Trail.
Field Audit Trail allows you to:
- Track more fields per object than the standard (out-of-the-box) Field History Tracking feature
- You can track up to 60 fields per object instead of only 20
- Retain “online” History records (those that appear in the record’s History Related List on the page layout) for a shorter duration
- Standard Field History tracking retains that information for 18 months; with Field Audit Trail, you can modify that retention period (per object) to anything from 0-18 months
- Retain “archived” History records for up to 10 years
- You can define this retention period (per object) for anything from 0-10 years
- Out of the box History Tracking does not store anything anywhere past 18 months
Awesome – so what’s the catch?
No Central View
As many of our clients have found out, Field Audit Trail is a great way to ensure that you’re storing the right information (not too much; not too little), but implementation can be a challenge. Selecting the fields you want to track history for at an object level isn’t too bad from a standard Administrator’s standpoint. That said – seeing all of your objects in one place and how many fields you are (or are not) tracking isn’t really available.
A Need for Developers
Additionally, the configuration of Data Retention Policies is an “API Only” feature. This means that you’ll need a developer (preferably one who is familiar with the Salesforce.com Metadata API) to update your Data Retention Policies for you. You would also need the help of a similarly proficient developer to let you know what policies are currently in place at any given point in time. They are simply not visible in the User Interface anywhere as of this writing.
The Solution: Field Audit Trial Cockpit
In true RevCult fashion, we decided there had to be a better way than manually configuring and trying to explain to our clients’ InfoSec teams that “we promise we implemented the Data Retention Policy as defined”. We wanted to find a solution to:
- Allow us to implement Data Retention Policies faster and more reliably, with as little chance for human error as possible
- Expose the Data Retention Policies that have been implemented to end users for review/confirmation
- Ensure that ongoing development efforts (adding new objects to an existing org) wouldn’t require this extra “invisible step” of making sure the policy was configured correctly
When we build internal tools that are invaluable to the success of our clients in any way (in this case, it’s security), we like to look at the bigger picture and see if others can benefit from the work we’ve done. In this case, we strongly feel that others CAN benefit from the solution.
All that said, we’re proud to announce RevCult’s Field Audit Trail Cockpit, the UI for Salesforce Field Audit Trail. It's now available as a private listing in the AppExchange.