Data Archiving

Why You Need a Data Retention Policy for Salesforce

Ori Yankelev
Chief Revenue Officer
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Whether the data is entered into a form on your website, via an integration, at an event, or from a legacy system, tons of data goes into Salesforce every day.

For the majority of companies, this data is usually most relevant right after it enters your system. For example, when new leads, contacts, or support cases are added to Salesforce you follow up on them almost immediately.

Overtime data has an expiration date after which it becomes less valuable to your business. This is one reason you may need to delete data from your production environment, or eventually, from your archives.

With thousands of records entering and leaving your Salesforce platform every day, it’s critical to have an official data retention policy on record.

Regulatory Requirements and Internal Policies

Regulatory Compliance - Numerous customers we’ve spoken to have a Salesforce data retention policy to comply with internal policies and governmental or industry regulations. These policies and regulations require companies to retain data for a certain amount of time. The retention period can vary depending on the regulations that are relevant to your organization.

Internal Policies - Your privacy policy or risk management policy could make it necessary to have a data retention policy. Privacy policies are often driven by regulations, like GDPR which require data to be deleted as early as possible. Risk management policies also tend to prefer limited data retention because customer data can be seen as a risk to the organization.

Data Retention Balance - As you assess your organization’s data retention policy, you may face internal opposition. Business stakeholders, such as sales, marketing, and customer support, need access to data for the best customer experience and to make informed decisions, but compliance officers want to retain as little data, or risk, as possible.

Reduce Storage Usage and Cost

Storage within Salesforce isn’t as big of a driver for most companies operating on the cloud. Cloud storage is usually inexpensive after all. Unfortunately, if you’re way over your Salesforce storage limits, data storage costs could become a concern. A data retention policy could become necessary to avoid going over your Salesforce storage limits. The common causes of Salesforce data overages include:

  1. High-volume customer interactions or transactions
  2. Applications or integrations that generate a lot of data
  3. Large amounts of tasks or email messages

To figure out which activities are consuming the bulk of your storage within Salesforce, go to Data > Storage under the “Administration” section.

Accelerate Salesforce Productivity

Depending on your Salesforce architecture, you may or may not have a lot of clutter. Common causes of Salesforce clutter include:

  1. Bad Data
  2. Duplicates
  3. Automations and workflows

Excess clutter could slow down employee productivity and platform usage, or even misinform executive decision making. For instance, bad data may make it difficult to decide how to size a territory or how many reps to staff in a certain area.

A clean Salesforce environment accelerates company performance through:

  1. Better decision making
  2. Improved user productivity
  3. Faster application and integration performance
  4. More intelligent AI tools

An effective data retention policy will help reduce clutter by encouraging regular review of the data within your production systems.

Your Data Retention Policy for Salesforce

Your data retention policy should look holistically at all of the data entering your Salesforce production environments. Pay attention to what kind of data you’re retaining, the sensitivity level of the data, and the regulations that could apply to the data. After categorizing each object, you’ll need to define when to reduce access to that data by deleting completely and when to move the data to your archives.

Watch the Best Practices for Salesforce Data Lifecycle Management webinar to learn more about how to develop a data retention policy for Salesforce with Own Archive.

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