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Understanding the Salesforce Security Model


Within the vast landscape of Salesforce, where the bedrock of business operations is formed by sensitive data, a resilient security model becomes paramount. This article unveils the complexities intrinsic to the Salesforce Security Model, spotlighting pivotal elements like Organization Wide Defaults (OWD), Field Level Security (FLS), Object Level Security (OLS), Profiles, and Permission Sets. These components collectively orchestrate a multi layered defense, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of data. As the narrative unfolds, we embark on a journey to demystify the nuanced architecture that fortifies Salesforce against potential threats, illuminating the strategic deployment of OWD, FLS, OLS, Profiles, and Permission Sets as the guardians of a secure and thriving Salesforce ecosystem.

Salesforce Security Model

Salesforce’s security model operates on a multi layered foundation, encompassing various elements to safeguard data integrity, confidentiality, and accessibility.

Organization Wide Defaults (OWD)

Central to the Salesforce Security Model is OWD, which establishes the foundational level of access organization wide. OWD settings act as the base, determining the default visibility of records. This setup ensures users access only data relevant to their roles, creating a personalized and role-specific environment for accessing information. OWD decides who sees data, matching roles and responsibilities, ensuring correct access and control within a secure framework.

Implementation Tip:

Regularly review and adjust OWD settings based on organizational changes to maintain an optimal balance between data security and accessibility.

Role Hierarchy

Role hierarchy is a fundamental component in Salesforce’s organizational structure that defines a chain of command within a company. It establishes a visual representation of reporting relationships, outlining how users, particularly in sales and support teams, interact and collaborate. In this system, higher-up roles can see and control information owned by users in roles below them. This helps information flow better and lets employees access needed data while keeping security and privacy in check. The role hierarchy is crucial for organizations aiming to structure and manage Salesforce data in line with internal organization.

Implementation Tip:

Understand the organization’s reporting structure and determine how roles align hierarchically.

Sharing Rules

Sharing rules in Salesforce provide a mechanism to extend record level access beyond the default settings, letting administrators to fine tune data visibility based on specific criteria. These rules serve a pivotal role in instances where a more nuanced control over access is necessary. By defining criteria such as fields, ownership, or other record attributes, administrators can selectively share records with users, roles, public groups, or territories. Whether through ownership based sharing rules that automatically share records based on ownership or criteria based sharing rules that define specific conditions for sharing, this feature ensures that data access aligns precisely with organizational needs. Sharing rules enhance collaboration by granting custom access to records while maintaining robust security and privacy measures within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Implementation Tip:

Tailoring criteria based on scenarios and user needs determines the suitable groups or individuals for sharing records accurately.

Manual Sharing

Salesforce’s Manual Sharing offers flexibility, enabling admins and record owners to grant specific users/groups access on a per record basis. Accessed through the record interface, it allows for ad-hoc adjustments in access levels, including Read-Only or Read/Write permissions. While valuable for accommodating exceptions to standard access rules or addressing specific, one-off scenarios, manual sharing should be used judiciously to prevent the creation of a complex access structure. Regular review and documentation of manual sharing instances help ensure transparency and alignment with evolving business needs, contributing to a well managed and adaptable data access strategy within the Salesforce environment.

Implementation Tip:

An essential recommendation: Establish guidelines and documentation for authorized manual sharing circumstances and the designated individuals or groups.


Profiles serve as a fundamental pillar in the Salesforce Security Model, determining the range of actions users can perform organizationally. Pre-defined permissions significantly impact field access, extending their influence to encompass page layouts and record types within Salesforce. Profiles intricately shape the user experience in Salesforce, setting boundaries for user capabilities according to their roles and responsibilities. By sculpting permissions at this granular level, Profiles contribute indispensably to the coherence of the security architecture, making sure that users navigate the Salesforce environment with custom access that aligns seamlessly with their specific organizational functions.

Implementation Tip:

Match profiles with job roles, ensuring users have the right permissions to perform their tasks efficiently and effectively.

Permission Sets

Profiles extend a comprehensive array of permissions, yet Permission Sets introduce an extra layer of flexibility by bestowing specific permissions upon users without necessitating alterations to their profiles. This modular approach brings forth a heightened level of control, letting organizations to fine tune permissions with precision. Permission Sets in the Salesforce Security Model empower administrators to assign additional access without fundamentally altering user profiles, making sure flexibility. This strategic deployment of Permission Sets ensures a nuanced control mechanism, granting organizations the capability to respond swiftly to increasing user requirements without compromising the integrity of established profile structures.

Implementation Tip:

Utilize Permission Sets to tailor permissions for users with unique requirements, streamlining the management of permissions in dynamic environments.


In navigating the Salesforce Security Model, understanding the nuanced interplay between OWD, FLS, OLS, Profiles, and Permission Sets is essential. A robust security strategy safeguards data, aligns user access with organizational needs, and strengthens Salesforce against potential threats effectively.

As businesses evolve, so do their security requirements. Frequent audits, reviews, and updates of the Salesforce Security Model maintain its adaptability, safeguarding your organization’s crucial asset its data. Embrace the power of Salesforce security to propel your business forward securely in the ever increasing landscape of digital innovation.

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