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Salesforce Winter '21 Release Features for Admins

With fall in full effect and the leaves changing colors, another big change this time of year is the Salesforce winter release. The Salesforce winter release typically contains major functionality upgrades, and the Salesforce Winter ’21 Release is no exception!

Due to the expansive nature of the release, I created not one, but two lists:

(1) Top 5 Winter ’21 Release Features for Salesforce Admins & (2) My 5 Favorite Things in Winter ’21.

Visit the Trailhead module Winter ’21 Release Highlights or, if you’re ambitious, take the Learn MOAR Winter ’21 for Admins challenge for a special badge and chance at a free certification voucher!

As always, check for the exact date Winter ’21 will land in your org and sandboxes.

So without further ado:

Top 5 Winter ’21 Release Features for Salesforce Admins

1. Guest User Security Policies Enforced

Community Cloud, or should I say Experience Cloud, has major updates beyond the rebranded name. These site guest user security updates should come as no surprise as they were first released during spring ’20, along with the option to opt out through summer ‘20.

In the Salesforce Winter ’21 Release, these security policies are now enforced with no opting out available. Keeping clients’ data secure is a top priority for Salesforce, and this update shows as much causing many organizations to re-evaluate their data security risks overall.

The three main security settings are Secure Guest User Record Access, Assign new records created by guest users to the default owner and Reduced Object Permissions for Guest Users.

Secure Guest User Record Access

This setting, located under Sharing Settings, is now enabled in all orgs with Lightning Communities or Sites and can no longer be disabled.

Guest users now have:

  • Private org-wide defaults for all objects

  • No manual sharing or Apex managed sharing

  • No queue membership or public group membership

  • Guest user sharing rules, a special type of criteria-based sharing rule, must be used to grant Read Only access to records

Assign new records created by guest users to the default owner

Records created by guest users will now automatically be owned by the default owner, which is enabled in all orgs with communities and cannot be disabled.

While existing records owned by guest users aren’t impacted, Salesforce recommends transferring ownership of any records owned by guests to another user in the org.

To assign the default owner:

Community Workspace > Administration > Preferences

Assign new records created by guest users to the default owner

Reduced Object Permissions for Guest Users

Guest users can no longer have View All Data, Modify All Data, edit, and delete object permissions. Read and Create permissions will remain. This setting can be opted out for Winter ’21, but will be enforced in Spring ’21, so I’d advise to make the proper changes now instead of delaying the inevitable.

Carefully check your org’s guest user profiles, permission sets, and permission set groups for any object permission settings enabled for standard or custom objects. These will have to be disabled. Otherwise, any guest users will automatically be removed from the permission sets or permission set groups which may impact access to other functionality.

Check whether the Reduce Object Permissions for Guest Users security alert appears for your org. If so, follow the step-by-step recommendations.

Reduce Object Permissions for Guest Users security alert

Additional recommendations:

  • Review and take action on all Security Alerts

  • Check all flows involving Guest Users and determine if any are now broken

  • Check data visibility for Guest Users

  • Create Guest User Sharing Rules for all objects requiring access

  • Check (or ask your developer buddy to check) Apex classes for automation involving guest users

Helpful resources:

2. Salesforce Communities: Record-based Criteria for Audiences & Content Delivery Network

Audience criteria can now be based on record fields from Accounts, Opportunities, Contacts, Leads, Campaigns, Cases, Custom Objects and more. Now you can show shoppers viewing luxury handbags a different theme layout than shoppers looking at TVs. Please note that this only applies to record detail pages.

Define Audience Criteria

For more, read here.

Salesforce Communities: Content Delivery Network (CDN)

In short, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) uses distributed servers to store your publicly cacheable assets and reduce the page load time for your community for users across the world. It’s available at no additional cost, so be sure to look into it!

Access this setting in:

CMS Channels > Public Channel

3. Salesforce Service Cloud: New Email-to-Case Threading Behavior

If you were one of the many users who upvoted this IdeaExchange Idea, you can rejoice that Salesforce is solving the ‘infinite email-to-case loop’ bug by replacing Ref ID on Email-to-Case with a new threading behavior. Now, incoming emails will be matched based on header information.

This should also resolve issues involving multiple cases created from ‘reply all’ emails or replies to a forwarded email about a case. Just be sure the user headers are set correctly on Emails!

This is yet another demonstration of the power of Ideas. Don’t forget to add your own idea or vote on existing ones.

4. Schedule List Emails

List emails can now be scheduled to be sent at a future time and date with the Send Later feature.

Schedule List Emails

5. Profile Filters

All-new Profile Filters give control over visibility of profile information. Limit users to viewing only their own profile name while at the same time allowing selected users to view all org profiles through the View All Profiles permission.

To enable: Users > User Management Settings > Enable Profile Filtering

My 5 Favorite Things in the Salesforce Winter ’21 Release:

1. Salesforce Communities: Enhanced Page Management

It’s now much, much easier to add subpages and build page hierarchies within the page menu up to 6 levels deep from within the page menu. Moving pages is a breeze with the URL updating automatically to reflect changes.

Before Salesforce Winter '21 Release
Before Salesforce Winter '21 Release
After Salesforce Winter '21 Release
After Salesforce Winter '21 Release

2. Salesforce CMS Content now has folders

Salesforce CMS Folders

With all these new organization features, it makes you wonder if Salesforce folks have been binging The Home Edit on Netflix. But I, for one, am not complaining.

Salesforce CMS content admins can now organize content into folders with a hierarchy limit of 5 levels. Now there are no excuses not to clean up that CMS content clutter!

Five Levels of Folder Hierarchy

Move content with ease and sharing folders is a breeze as each folder has a unique URL:

Folder Unique URL

3. Knowledge Articles now supported in the Salesforce CMS Collections Component

CMS users in Salesforce orgs that use Knowledge should smile from ear to ear with this news. Now, you can create a Salesforce CRM collection for Salesforce CMS from knowledge articles using a public list view. You’ll need to first add a CRM connection for Knowledge. In the community experience builder, make sure to select the CMS Collection component.

4. Salesforce Lightning Email Template Builder

Salesforce is following the clicks-not-code revolution by reducing the need for HTML code in email templates. Use the new drag-and-drop builder to design professional Lightning email templates without adding lines of code.

Salesforce Lightning Email Template Builder
Salesforce Lightning Email Template Builder

5. It’s the small things in life!

Utility Bar Alignment: Select Mirrored to align the utility bar on the right instead of the left.

Utility Bar Alignment

Highlights Panel: Hovering over a lookup field on a record page now displays the first 7 fields from the compact layout in a highlights panel instead of 5!

Changed Deals at a glance: See how the amounts and close dates on your opportunities have recently changed without needing to open the records.

Contact CRM Science Salesforce Consultants

ICYMI from Summer ’20, find a detailed view of alerts including security alerts in Release Updates. You can also access the full Salesforce Winter ’21 Release Notes here.

Need help navigating the ways the Salesforce Winter ‘21 Release will impact your org? Contact the CRM Science Salesforce Consulting team to chat about your Salesforce projects.

Jon Chen

Salesforce Analyst

CRM Science


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