What should I consider when synchronising data between OpenCRM and Google?
|Updated: 10 June 2011 12:56:19||OpenCRM::Settings OpenCRM::Settings::Users OpenCRM::Settings::Google Sync|
Getting your Contacts and Calendar items synchronised between Google and OpenCRM offers a multitude of opportunities to share this valuable data with other systems and devices.
This FAQ outlines some of the considerations that you should be aware of, covering aspects that are less to do with the technical capability of your proposed solution and looks closer at Data Ownership and Best Practice.
Google Account Options
You have two key options available to you when you look at Google accounts, this includes the FREE Personal Account or Google Apps Business Account.
It is very easy to sign up to a FREE Google account and start to distribute the data from your corporate systems, however you should consider 'who owns the data'.
Using your employees own personal accounts that may already be set up and working raises the question of ownership of data and accessibility to the Google account should you need to restrict access for a specific user.
For this reason we would suggest you either sign up and manage the personal account yourself - in other words sign up to the account but keep the management of the user details within your control, this is not always feasible, or sign up to a Business Account where you manage the corporate account details and can restrict specific users as an overall administrator.
Mobile Devices synchronised from Google
Once the data is within Google many users will want to synchronise this information onto their smartphone, tablet or laptop. This process can offer real efficiencies when working off-line or in a disconnected environment, however you should think about how the mobile devices are used and the information that is stored on them.
By synchronising the data to an employees personal mobile device you should consider "who owns the data". You also need to consider how you would restrict access to this information if the need were to arise.
Many smartphones and tablets have a 'remote wipe' facility which can be triggered from a central administration control panel. If the device is owned and managed by your company this would be a wise option to set up to help manage the data when it is out in the field. This is useful if your device were to be stolen or lost as well as when you make changes to a persons employment.
Note : Be aware that a user could backup their device prior to your data wipe and the employee would be able to restore this data in the future, in most cases this backup is not accessible to you remotely. This is where your Employment Contract offers a level of protection.
Contract of employment
It has been common practice to have a section in your Contract of Employment that gives details on acceptable use for data and company resources. There is also quite likely a Non Disclosure Section which will cover what should happen to any private information including data if the employment were to be terminated. It is advisable to get some specialist advice on how best to manage this aspect of your contract but at the least should include a protection for your business and its clients with regards access to this information. Consider who is responsible for reporting any loss of the device and how secure the device should be (passwords etc..) that has your data available.
Third Party Applications
Synchronising your data into third party applications such as PIM's, Social Networks (FaceBook, Skype, LinkedIn, Jigsaw) and other vertical applications (such as Tungle.me) requires you to think seriously about who will get access to these applications and how you will manage restricting access if this became a requirement. Some third party applications exist to give a wider community access to your information, remember that once distributed this can be very difficult to protect. Consider your companies responsibility to this data on behalf of your clients and prospects.
User Permissions once data is out of OpenCRM
You need to think about how the data that is synchronised will be visible once it is outside of OpenCRM. As an example, you could create a single Google account to manage ALL your users calendar items. You can create different Calendars in Google and synchronise these calendars with individual users. The synchronisation process takes account of the OpenCRM security model and therefore will only let your user synchronise items that the user can see in OpenCRM, however, if you were to give access to a user to the Google account they can see ALL of the Google Calendars you have set-up to synchronise, this would allow them to see other peoples calendars and might mean they can see items that would otherwise be protected in OpenCRM which Google does not have a way to secure.
The other area that needs a dedicated thought process is when should you synchronise to a general 'global' contacts list and have multiple user from OpenCRM synchronising into this 'pot', OpenCRM will faithfully support the security that you have set up within OpenCRM but once the Contacts are shared in Google you do not have any of the granular OpenCRM security and therefore one user may be able to see all records which might include records that are private and protected in your OpenCRM system.
These data situations can be managed and supported with a proper data management strategy but it does need a considered view and some serious consideration for the bigger picture and who is responsible should a data leak occur.
These suggestions are provided as guidance only to help highlight the areas that you should be looking at when drafting your strategy and putting these data synchronisation features in place.
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