Exploring Customer Barriers to Proposed Profile Changes - Salesforce User Management Outlook: 2024 & beyond.

May 10, 2024


Last year, Salesforce set an idea in motion to sunset Profile-based Permissions for Spring 2026. Dubbed the End of Life (EOL) of Permissions on Profiles update, Salesforce’s timeline has since been postponed with 2026 fast approaching. However, that doesn’t mean this important security and user management initiative is going away anytime soon.

While the new date for the proposed EOL update has not yet been announced, the hope is that all Salesforce customers will eventually transition away from Profile-based permissions and adopt a Permission Set model. Mass adoption always poses a challenge given the (oftentimes prolonged) transitional nature of many orgs when it comes to enterprise software and IT infrastructure, making a 2026 timeline a bit too close for comfort for most customers.

Organizations need additional time to prepare, and more importantly, Salesforce needs to have the right infrastructure in place to guarantee minimal business interruption. The reality at the moment is that the solutions Salesforce has available to facilitate such a sweeping change have not yet matured enough to provide all customers with a smooth transition. However, Salesforce is continuing to add new functionality centered around user management with each seasonal update in order to work towards this goal.

With the Summer 2024 release, Salesforce will make tools like User Access Policies (UAP) that introduce proactive user management automation generally available to customers. With User Access Policies, administrators can set policies that provision access when certain conditions are met. For example, a policy can be set up so that whenever a new user is created with a ‘Sales Rep’ role, UAP automatically assigns the “Sales Rep” Permission Set to that user. This allows for better organizational efficiency in ensuring users get the appropriate levels of access to perform their job functions.

However, there are a sizable number of Salesforce customers that are still in the early stages of adopting modern user management best practices, making the EOL Profile Permissions update less feasible for 2026. Many Salesforce customers are not equipped with enterprise-grade IT departments with pristine data architecture and automation, instead relying heavily on Profile-permissions and user management workarounds.

There are cases where organizations have 50 different custom Profiles spread across 100 Salesforce users while rarely utilizing Permission Sets at all. It may not be the simplest task to convince all customers to start using more advanced user management features like Permission Set Groups, Muting Permission Sets, and UAP when they’re already accustomed to managing user access in a different way.

Conveying business value that more Salesforce customers can relate to and improving complex user management experiences are critical steps for moving the community away from Profile-based permissions. For example, there are a few key reasons why transitioning to Profile-based Permission Sets shouldn’t just be a technical detail to ignore but rather is something worthwhile to invest in.

For Salesforce customers still using custom Profiles for user permissions:

  1. Profile-permissions hurt efficiency - Custom Profiles take more time to manage, especially as a business grows and roles change. Permission Sets allow for more flexible adjustments.
  1. Profile-permissions pose financial risks - compliance failures and data breaches lead to hefty fines, legal costs, and other liabilities. Permission Sets help mitigate these risks by allowing for more precise controls over user access.
  1. Profile-permissions can damage a company’s reputation - inadequate control over permissions raises the chances of compliance failures and data breaches. In addition to fines, relationships with customers and partners may deteriorate. Permission Sets make it easier to comply with regulations.

Overall, orgs that don’t adopt modern user management best practices leave themselves more exposed to unintended consequences. While full adoption is challenging, transitioning to best practices is a worthwhile goal to pursue for all organizations.

Given the positive business impact that it ultimately provides, Salesforce may once again set a timeline to remove user permissions from Profiles once customers are better equipped to handle the transition. For now, converting Profiles to Permission Sets and reading up on implementing modern Salesforce user management best practices are great ways to get a head start on maintaining a more secure, efficient, and risk-conscious Salesforce organization.

If you’re looking for a simpler user management experience, check out our free-to-use user management tool, Permatrix, where you can explore Profile-permissions and easily convert Profiles to Permission Sets.

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- Written by Arthur Papernik, Product Manager at LeedsSource