Dynamics CRM Data Management: Audit Management and Clean-up

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We had discussed data management (Cleaning up Data in Microsoft Dynamics CRM), in one of our previous posts. In this blog, I would like to talk about audit history – one of the largest data generators in any Microsoft Dynamics CRM instance.

Audit history is used to track changes to any records. A typical database row of audit data will provide information about the user who has changed the record, the previous value, and the new value.

Let’s say if I have changed the phone number of an account, the audit history will look like the following:

Audit history is important when dealing with vital fields in important entities. For example, in some organizations e-Commerce flows through their CRM instance. It would be essential to save any changes to the fields involved in the transactions.

With that being said, it is also important to determine the extraneous entities and fields. And a best practice will be to disable auditing in the extraneous entities and fields and enable auditing only for the entities and fields which need to be truly audited.

Let’s look at a few best practices in audit management.

Disabling audit logging at the entity level

In some instances, you might determine that an entire entity and its fields do not require auditing. In those cases, you can disable the auditing at the entity level. Here’s how you do it:

  • Go to Settings -> Customizations -> Customize the System
  • Click on the small triangle next to entities
  • Click on the entity name which needs to be disabled
  • Remove the checkbox in auditing (see image below)
  • Click on the Save Icon
  • Click on Publish

NOTE: The above tasks can be done and recommended only to be done by users having the System Administrator and System Customizer security role.

Disabling audit logging at the field level

In some instances, you might determine that a few fields need to be audited and a few fields can be spared. In this case, this is what you need to do:

  • Go to Settings -> Customizations -> Customize the System
  • Click on the small triangle next to entities
  • Click on the entity name which needs to be disabled
  • Enable the checkbox in the auditing
  • Click on Fields(see image below)

  • Find the field for which the auditing needs to be disabled. Double click on it.
  • Click on Enable/Disable on the radio button for auditing based on your needs. Click on Save and Close

Click on Publish All Customizations at the top

Cleaning the old audit history

If a CRM solution is a few years old, many organizations delete the old audit history and keep the recent one consisting of a few previous years. It is good practice to delete the logs which are no longer used. However, the decision to delete old audit history needs to be discussed with all stakeholders as some of them would like to retain old audit data.

For example, it is understandable if an organization does not want to delete its entire audit history which is over a couple of years old when there is E-Commerce flowing through their CRM organization.

Therefore, the IT department of the organization must consult with other stakeholders before making the change.

If the decision has been made to delete the audit history, do the following:

  • Go to Settings-> Auditing(Found under system tab)
  • Click on Audit Log Management
  • Select the rows organized by time frame which needs to be deleted
  • Click on Delete Logs

NOTE: The above method will delete all audit history of all entities within the time frame selected. We cannot delete the audit history of only certain entities within a certain time frame through out-of-the-box methods.

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