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Salesforce is the most secure and available platform in the industry. Yet data protection remains a shared responsibility as it does with all modern SaaS platforms. Customers are responsible for preventing user-inflicted data and metadata loss and corruption and for having a plan in place to recover if it happens. That’s why Salesforce recommends using a partner backup solution that can be found on the AppExchange. 

Despite this recommendation, our 2020 State of Salesforce Data Protection survey found that 88% of companies are lacking a comprehensive backup and recovery solution, which may be especially risky with many companies increasing their remote workforce. Furthermore, 69% say their company may be at significant risk of user-inflicted data loss. 

Salesforce Data Recovery Service Is Being Retired

Last year, Salesforce announced that they will be retiring their last-resort data recovery service, effective July 31, 2020 because it has not met their high standards of customer success and trust. For customers who aren’t proactively backing up their data, Salesforce currently offers this last resort Data Recovery service. However, at a cost of over $10,000 and a 6-8 week recovery time this service is not an adequate option for many customers. The upcoming retiring of this last resort Data Recovery service is an excellent opportunity to remember that a proactive backup and recovery has always been a required and recommended best practice. Salesforce offers a number of native backup options to minimize your business risk of user-inflicted data loss.

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Native Salesforce Options

Weekly Export and Report Exports

Users with “Data Export” profile permissions can generate backup .CSV files of their data on a weekly basis (once every 6 days) or on-demand via user-generated reports. The export can be scheduled and then manually downloaded when ready. Weekly Export backups can include images, documents, attachments, and Chatter files. In the event of a user-inflicted data loss, users must manually restore by uploading their .CSV files in the correct order. Because this process can be challenging OwnBackup has created a free eBook with a step by step process to Recovering Lost Data Using Salesforce Weekly Export.

Data Loader

Data Loader is a client application for the bulk import or export of data. It can be used through the user interface to bulk import or export Salesforce records through .CSV files, as well as Insert, Update, Upsert, Delete, or Export Salesforce records as .CSV files. Data Loader command line can also be used to backup data to or from a relational database, such as Oracle or SQL Server. Restoration of lost or corrupted data would be manual.

These native methods include data, but no metadata. In order to proactively protect your Salesforce platform, you should back up metadata and attachments as well. Without this vital piece, putting the relationships between your Salesforce data objects back in place can become a painstaking process. 

Without the ability to maintain relationships, you’ll only have partial restore capabilities. If an account is accidentally deleted, all of the contacts, cases, tasks, and other records will be deleted as well. If you only restore the account, but not it’s dependent child records, your recovery capabilities are only providing you partial coverage.

Having a copy of your data is important to meet the minimum standards of a backup. The real challenge is the ability to restore data back into Salesforce. Plan for regular data recovery testing to ensure that you are prepared for any unexpected data events. You must test your strategy so you’ll be aware of what will actually happen if you were to experience a data loss or corruption. When you test, you may find that you are unable to recover in the time or to the fullness that you require. When testing, check:

  • Are you able to recover specific versions of document or data or metadata?

  • Are you able to minimize data transformation during the restoration process?

  • How does your strategy handle different types of restore processes?

  • What is the performance and time to restore?


How to Trust in Your Salesforce Data Recovery Plan

At the beginning of this article we mentioned Salesforce recommends using a partner backup solution that can be found on the AppExchange. The reason they recommend this is almost entirely due to the challenges most experience when attempting to recover lost or corrupted data and the fact that metadata cannot currently be backed up using native backup methods.

OwnBackup, a top-rated partner on the AppExchange, is here to help you identify the five concepts that really matter when it comes to a comprehensive backup AND recovery.

1. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

For many companies, having unresolved data loss or corruption for over one week could equate to millions of dollars in lost revenue. As you construct your data recovery strategy, you will need to define your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). 

The RPO is the amount of data a company can afford to lose before it begins to impact business operations. Therefore, the RPO is an indicator of how often a company should back up their data. 

The RTO is the timeframe by which both applications and systems must be restored after data loss or corruption has occurred. The goal here is for companies to be able to calculate how fast they need to recover, by preparing in advance.

What the recovery time and recovery point end up being are deeply influenced by backup frequency, backup retention, your ability to compare current and past data, and to restore just the data that has been impacted. RTO and RPO are two parameters that help minimize the risks associated with user-inflicted data loss

2. Data Integrity

Data integrity means that you should have a complete backup of your Salesforce environment. Backing up a few critical fields or records isn’t enough. Salesforce is a relational database that doesn’t allow admins to manipulate or populate the record IDs. All of the relationships in Salesforce environments are based on these record IDs. In the case of a data loss, a cascade delete effect will remove all of the child records associated with that account.

This is one of the big reasons why an audit trail is not a backup and recovery solution. You never know what the scope of a data loss will be in the future. For that reason relying on field level changes on a subset of objects as a reliable backup solution is a fundamentally flawed strategy.

Therefore best practice is to have a full backup of all of your Salesforce data, metadata, and attachments. You may also want to have a partial, high-frequency backup for critical objects that change more than a few times each day.

Another best practice for maintaining data integrity includes having restore capabilities that allow both full and granular restore to prevent an accidental overwrite of legitimate changes.

Finally, the integrity of your backups themselves are critical, particularly for companies with internal data security policies or regulatory compliance concerns.

3. Security

Your company is likely required to follow security requirements. Your backup and recovery process shouldn’t be excluded from these security requirements. Saving .CSV files of your Salesforce data within the company hard drive or your laptop should not be considered a best practice. Ideally, your backup data should be saved to trusted cloud storage. To meet compliance requirements the data should also be encrypted both in transit and at rest.

You should also consider the permission settings and accessibility of your backups. With your current backup process, could an inappropriate user access and delete data.

4. Reliability

A reliable backup and recovery plan includes automated change identification, scheduled backups, proactive data change monitoring, and the ability to reach out for technical support if needed.

You should have the ability to automatically identify changes that have occurred in your schema. A tool that can identify what has changed between backups is important for data, metadata, and attachments.

Your backups should run daily at a minimum. Schedule your backups to run on a set schedule which is easy to define and monitor. 

With so many end-users with read-write and delete permissions or merge abilities, proactive monitoring is crucial. A reliable data backup and recovery plan allows you to quickly find out when unusual changes have occured or if a backup has failed.

5. Accessibility

Storing data backups outside of Salesforce is a best practice for accessibility. If Salesforce were to become temporarily unavailable, you would still have access to your data and metadata.

Data backup portability is a must for an optimal data backup and recovery plan. Data movement should be able to take place securely and conveniently. Whether you’re looking to conduct more complex reporting on large data sets with BI and ETL tools or want to maintain legacy business continuity and data recovery procedures, your data should be yours to use as you please. 

Data accessibility is also a key requirement of GDPR and CCPA. In support of these regulations, you should have full transparency into their data, even backups. To comply with these regulations, you’ll need to be able to search for where a Data Subject’s data, including attachments, resides within their backups.  Additionally, you must have the ability to rectify or forget an individual's data in your backups for full compliance.

Protect Your Data and Maintain Business Continuity with Comprehensive Backup and Recovery

By making the tough decision to retire their Data Recovery service, Salesforce has reiterated their commitment to customer success and trust. Now is the perfect time to reassess your current backup and recovery strategy. Were you completely relying on Salesforce’s Data Recovery service? Why not start backing up with their native Weekly Export service instead? Any backup strategy is better than doing nothing at all. 

We’d also encourage you to explore Salesforce AppExchange partner solutions, such as OwnBackup. OwnBackup brings ROI to its over 1,700 customers every day by helping them protect their Salesforce data. OwnBackup customers are almost 3x more likely to notice a data loss or corruption and they feel 3x more prepared to recover..

Now is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and put a comprehensive backup and recovery plan in place to ensure that your Salesforce data has the same level of protection as your other critical systems. 


To request a demo and learn more about OwnBackup and our solutions, click below.

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