Insightly adds CRM security to its product

With smaller security budgets and IT teams than enterprise businesses, small and medium-sized companies are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Insightly's new security features hope to combat that.

Each quarter, the editors at SearchCRM recognize a CRM technology for innovation and market impact. The product selected this quarter is Insightly CRM and its new Advanced Permissions feature.

Product: Insightly Advanced Permission CRM security features for small and medium-sized business

Release date: October 2016

What it does

To help small businesses combat the threat of data breaches, Insightly Inc. added CRM security features, including Advanced Permissions, which creates layers of permissions based on employees' status. The less available that vital company information is, the less susceptible it is to cyberattacks or employees exposing the information -- either maliciously or accidentally.

"One of our clients' main concerns is employees leaving with data," said Loretta Jones, vice president of marketing for San Francisco-based Insightly. "It's part of the reason why we created this feature. It's important that customer data be secure and we make it harder for that data to be stolen from them."

Insightly is just one of many companies working on enhancing its CRM security features to make its data more secure. The market of access control tools includes Tivoli Systems Inc.'s SecureWay Privacy Manager and Watchfire Corp.'s WebCPO, which manages website privacy. There are also consultancies focusing on helping businesses, including Privacy Council Inc. and Corsaire, which provides network security.

Focusing on small businesses with miniscule funding for security features, Insightly hopes its CRM security capabilities both protect its customers and save them money.

Why it matters

Small and medium-sized businesses are among the most vulnerable for a cyberattack, because they typically lack a robust IT security team and substantial budget for security firewalls.

Smaller companies often need to invest in tools that not only help run businesses processes, but also provide safety features to deter vital company information from being stolen.

CRM security is one area that is particularly vulnerable for smaller companies, because the customer relationship management software contains immense amounts of data and information, both from in-house and from customers and their companies.

"Security is extremely important, especially as we hold a lot of information for other companies," said Erin Mathie, co-founder of Business Made Simple, a Salem, Utah-based CRM implementation company and Insightly customer. "Most of the companies we work with have small teams, and we don't have the staff in-house to do security features for us."

"It's great to have something simple enough to control internally that we don't need to outsource that work," Mathie said. "It's very important that only the people that need to have access to client information do so."

The percentage of cyberattacks on small businesses has steadily increased since 2011, according to Symantec, rising from 18% of attacks occurring on small business in 2011 to 43% in 2015.

Feature drilldown

Advanced Permissions: Allows users to create layers of permissions based on the level of user. The feature allows content to be viewed and accessed by only the people who should have access to it, without compromising data security.

Recycle Bin: This feature allows you to correct for human error and accidental deletion of data, and it provides a backup plan to combat incidental data loss.

Opportunity History Report: It displays changes to sales opportunities. The track of changes creates a visible audit trail of user updates on all sales opportunities.  

Security Organization Controls 2: This complies with security standards developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The compliance is required by many industries managing sensitive data.

What users say

Mathie works with a crew of four others to implement CRM systems and help other small businesses organize their processes and get on track. To manage the companies they work for and for their own internal processes, Mathie said she uses Insightly's CRM system, which is built primarily for businesses with one to 250 employees.

"We use Insightly for everything, to track projects, do task management, track our sales from when they become leads," Mathie said. "We use it for reporting and projections. It's our main go-to for everything."

Mathie said while the security features meet the needs of what Business Made Simple does, more regulation compliance, such as with Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, would be a welcomed addition to Insightly.

The CRM security features were released in October, and Mathie said they've allowed the company to share necessary information across the company, while also keeping certain data closed off.

"It gives us a lot of ease and flexibility in setting up permissions," Mathie said. "It allows for that horizontal sharing of information. There's also a hierarchy, so each team member can see the information available for the people below them. It makes it easy to manage, but doesn't allow everyone to see what they don't need to."

Prior to the release of Advanced Permissions, Mathie said you had to set those guidelines on individual leads, which took time and was prone to error.


Insightly has plans ranging from free -- for up to two users -- to Enterprise, which is $99 annually and $129 per user, per month. The Advanced Permissions and other security features are available on only Professional and Enterprise plans.

Next Steps

Tips for improving data security

Data security comes with a price tag

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