Want To Get With The Flow? Go Slow.
Let’s face it - the world is moving faster and faster, and if you want your business to stay relevant, you have to move faster. Time is money, and time is becoming more valuable by the second. Like a productivity-wish granting genie, Microsoft introduced Flow - a workflow automation system that allows you to automate a series of tasks at the push of a button.
But does something dark and dangerous lie under Flow’s promise of efficiency? With it’s powerful connectors, Flow grabs your data - common and confidential - and begins to fling it between applications and servers that your company may or may not govern.
Without a careful eye, accidental and malicious file-sharing can happen in a heartbeat, bringing your company to its knees in a nanosecond.
Scared yet? Before you change your passwords and unplug your server, let’s see how you can set up Flow with peace of mind.
How To Utilize Flow With Peace Of Mind
How do you learn to ride a bike? You start moving forward with training wheels! Here are three helpful guardrails for getting started using Flow:
1: “The Insurance Policy”: Create Data Loss Prevention Policies
Did You Know? By default, Microsoft Flow does not set policy for data access.
That means you need to take the first step and create a policy to prevent data loss before you send your team down the road with Flow.
Don’t get caught in a bad situation without proper documentation! Want to see more information about the permissions you should set up? Read more here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/flow/prevent-data-loss
2: “The Sandbox”: Start With 1-3 User Environments
Before your team gets going, let them get their digital hands dirty in the sandbox. Help your team get to know Flow by setting up no more than three user environments.
When you create an environment within Flow, two default user privileges are created:
● Environment Admin: Anyone in the Environment Admin role has full rights to the environment including role assignments.
● Environment Maker: Users in the Environment Maker role can create PowerApps and Flows.
Being a “maker” may seem hip in today’s Insta-culture, but Makers in Flow can be dangerous. Set up permissions and access in environments, and make sure that Environment Makers can’t accidentally share confidential company info to a data-hungry world.
3: “The Training Wheels”: Connect Those Connectors Slowly
You may feel ready to jump on the Flow ten-speed and take off, but don’t forget why training wheels exist: to help you learn before you ride.
Flow is so incredibly easy to use that it will be tempting to launch your environments with connectors for every application you currently use.
Have a call with a promising client? Push a button, and…
● Add their information to your CRM
● Send them a follow up email
● Follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter
● Push them into a follow up regimen
● ...wait, did their information just go into a random DropBox account?
Avoid the unimaginable. Set up each new environment with basic connectors like SharePoint and One Drive connectors to help your team get used to using Flow. Once they get comfortable you can add more at a sustainable pace.
Pro Tip! Set your environment data policy to “No Business Data” by default to ensure no accidental connections with third-party applications.
Go With The Flow - Boldly and Wisely
So is the best way to use Microsoft Flow to not use it? Not at all!
Actually, the better you Flow, the more competitive you will become. It’s all about being wise while being bold.
Be Bold. Ditch the time wasted on those frustrating daily chores and get to the most important thing - providing your best business to your most valuable clients.
Be Wise. Remember Spiderman’s Uncle Ben’s parting words: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Even the most powerful workflow - left improperly secured or managed - can lead to a mistake that can kill your company. Avoid fatality by making sure your workflow environments are stable, secure, and exist at a manageable size. Be diligent, and you will soon be flying down the street on that Flow bike in no time!
There are many other elements and connectors throughout the Office365 system that require similar levels of risk-avoidance. Keep your eyes peeled here for upcoming blogs with more tips for taking your company to the next level!