While large-scale events like system outages and data breaches tend to get the headlines, it’s important to keep in mind the vast majority of data loss and corruption issues aren’t tied to major events. Simple mistakes happen each and every day. This can be anything from a careless keystroke causing a table to be deleted, to an SSO tool corrupting user profiles and permissions.
Because the nature of data disruptions is so diverse, your backup and recovery tools must allow you to respond to the full range of disruptions in order to protect business continuity.
As you evaluate backup and recovery solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365, pay attention to its level of versatility. The more versatile the solution, the better suited it will be for mitigating both rare and day-to-day data disruptions.
Let’s walk through key differences between two scenarios and what each will require from your backup and recovery solution.
Disruption type #1: Your data is completely inaccessible
Although scenarios in which your data is totally inaccessible are uncommon, the business implications can be devastating when they do. Just imagine not being able to access your Dynamics data, and worse, the subsequent impact on business processes:
- Sales: How will Sales gain insight into account details needed to close out weekly leads?
- Marketing: How will Marketing notify the correct sales team members on which prospects require prompt follow up?
- Customer Support: How will the Support team act on high-priority incidents without the ability to access account information?
For all of these departments, ensuring continuity, protecting revenue generation, and customer satisfaction requires having access to data that will help them continue their workflows. Your backup solution should allow you to have controlled access to your data even if your CRM workflows are temporarily inaccessible.
This is why a key requirement of any effective backup solution is that access to backups should not be dependent on the system they’re meant to protect. In order for your data to remain accessible in the event that there is an outage with production systems, backups must be stored on separate infrastructure from the production data.
Whether it’s sales, marketing or customer service, those teams rely on the data in Dynamics 365 to do their day-to-day jobs. Your backup solution must guarantee access to your data at all times, particularly if the Dynamics platform is inaccessible.
For this reason, a best practice of backup and recovery is to ensure a bifurcated infrastructure. What this means is that access to backups should not be reliant on the same system they are intended to protect. In order for your data to remain accessible in the event that there is an outage with production systems, backups must be stored on separate infrastructure from the production data. Experts argue that this is an industry standard and best practice.
Disruption type #2: Key subsets of your data become comprised
Data within Dynamics 365 is naturally fluid and constantly changing. This will only accelerate as your organization increasingly relies on Dynamics CE and Power Platform to serve as a pillar for digital transformation. Integrations, migrations, customizations, and cleanups happen regularly so that data remains as current and relevant as possible to your company’s primary stakeholders.
Despite your best efforts, the need to move fast with these types of projects can introduce errors. Human error is a leading cause of data loss and can include things like:
- Integration errors: Commonly occur when companies extend Dynamics or Power Platform with new applications like Power Automate, or compliment data with third-party inputs to drive hyper-connectivity for something like prospect outreach. Setting up integrations can be quite complex — particularly when it comes to ensuring accurate mappings and configurations — making data loss a possibility.
- Customization errors: Admins and devs work tirelessly on custom fields, new tables, workflows, and triggers in order for apps to be better positioned for business process optimization. With the pace and volume of changes, it’s inevitable that some code with errors is going to be deployed, and these errors can cause inadvertent data loss or corruption in the production system.
- Cleanup errors: In general, it's rare for system data to be truly clean. Deduplication of records, bulk edits to field values to support new business processes and balancing spotty field values are all examples of mass updates to support data cleanup. With each of these updates, the likelihood of data loss or corruption is high when improper clauses or filter criteria are used.
Data disruptions from routine day-to-day activities deplete productivity, minimize trust in system data, and pose an overarching threat to business continuity as a whole.
Recovering from these particular types of data disruptions is distinctly separate from the first type of disruption we discussed. Unlike scenario #1, it’s unlikely for you to know immediately if and when a data loss or corruption has taken place (until you get that first panicked phone call from a user).
For that reason alone, your backup and recovery solution must prioritize proactive monitoring of data changes so that you can be alerted of anomalies as soon as they happen.
Similarly, such data loss or corruption instances usually only affect distinct tables, records, or fields. That’s why it’s essential for your backup and recovery solution to be able to visually pinpoint only the specific data you’ll need from a backup — so you can efficiently remediate errors without overwriting healthy data. The solution must also allow you to keep data relationships intact when you restore, regardless of how many levels deep they go.
Can your backup and recovery solution handle all types of data disruptions?
Not if, but when your organization finds itself in a mission-critical scenario, having a data recovery solution already in place is critical to maintain business continuity. With that being said, not all backup and recovery solutions have the same reach, depth, and functionality. Seek out the most holistic solution capable of offering coverage for the full spectrum of data disruptions.
To learn more about Own Recover for Dynamics 365, click here.