Editor’s note: This post was updated in January 2024 with the latest information and resources.
Having a robust backup and recovery solution is an essential component of business continuity. But don’t just take our word for it–Salesforce recommends it. And if you’re in a particular industry, like financial services, public sector, or healthcare, you can count on your Salesforce data being under the compliance microscope. Between growing users, orgs, and the data itself, you don’t want to find yourself working in Salesforce without the proper guardrails or the inability to get important data back quickly if you lose it.
Below, we unpack some different ways to back up your Salesforce data, and the importance of having a robust data backup and recovery solution.
Salesforce's History of Backup and Recovery
Salesforce is a secure place to house and manage data, but it has limitations when it comes to data backup and recovery. There are DIY options for backing up and recovering Salesforce data, but these can be time-consuming, less secure, and put your compliance at risk. Plus, the costs of allowing your company data to get deleted or corrupted in the first place can add up.
Salesforce replicates your live environment in real-time, which means that any records you delete (accidentally or not) will no longer be available to recover. This is great for Salesforce's own uptime and availability, but not great for your company's backup and recovery.
Salesforce is no stranger to the importance of backup and recovery, having launched and retired several on-platform solutions over the past few years. In July 2020, Salesforce announced the retirement of its last-resort Data Recovery Service because it did not meet its high standards of customer success and trust. The company reversed its decision in March 2021 and reintroduced the Data Recovery Service, only to (re)retire it in November 2021. In September 2021, Salesforce announced that they would be launching Salesforce Backup, which became generally available in August 2023. Despite Salesforce’s starts and stops when it comes to backup, one thing remains clear: a proactive backup and recovery has always been a required and recommended best practice.
NATIVE SALESFORCE DATA BACKUP METHODS
There are actually several ways to back up your Salesforce data using standard Salesforce functionality. Each has their own benefits and limitations that admins should be aware of when deciding on a backup and recovery strategy. The list includes the following in no particular order.
Data Loader: This client application, which is installed separately, enables you to export bulk records to comma-separated values (CSV) files. While it easily integrates with the Salesforce platform, the manual steps can be time-consuming and doesn’t support exporting attachments.
Data Export Service: From the Salesforce UI, you can choose between manual or scheduled data backups exported into CSV. Data Export Service is limited to generating manual backup files: once every 7 days (for weekly export) or 29 days (for monthly export). Should you have a data incident in between your backups, you’re looking at days or weeks of missing or lost data—creating major disruption across teams and the business.
Report Export: Using the reports interface, The Report Export allows you to easily export Salesforce data into a spreadsheet, with your choice of Microsoft Excel (.xlsx or .xls) files or CSV. Users like that it's native to Salesforce and easy to use but dislike the inability to export historical trending reports.
Salesforce Recycle Bin: Salesforce provides you with a recycle bin, but this also has numerous restrictions. Your deleted data is held in the recycle bin for 15 days. If your recycle bin is full, deleted data is permanently deleted. Also, users can delete their own recycle bin data, so your data won’t be safe against malicious users.
When it comes to Salesforce data protection, it’s customary to focus on just the data. Turns out, you must extend your efforts to the “nuts and bolts” of the data: the metadata. Salesforce metadata consists of page layouts, code, automatic logic, and configurations, and it’s what makes your Salesforce org, well, yours. Like Salesforce data backup, Salesforce has different tools to backup metadata, complete their own advantages and drawbacks.
Change Sets: Change sets allow your metadata to be copied from one Salesforce org to another by creating an outbound change set. While it’s a native tool, backing up Salesforce metadata via change sets requires a lot of clunky steps, which can add additional time (not to mention confusion) to the process. There is also no roll-back functionality, meaning that all changes in the source org will have to be manually reversed, drawing out the process and your stress level.
Sandbox Refresh: Given that a Salesforce sandbox is a copy of your live production org, a sandbox refresh ensures that your metadata is copied in its latest form. Its complete isolation for your live org will give you peace of mind, but it does come with limitations: a full sandbox refresh can only happen once every 29 days, meaning that any changes between the last and next refresh won't be backed up.
THE VALUE OF A SALESFORCE PARTNER BACKUP AND RECOVERY SOLUTION
Using Salesforce, companies are invested in propelling their mission, innovations, and teams forward. Unfortunately, a data loss or corruption-big or small- can stunt or even backtrack all your hard work. It’s up to organizations to proactively protect their important data and metadata with an independent backup and recovery solution. Independent backups ensure that your data is always accessible, regardless of what happens on your SaaS platform (like a service disruption).
With so many backup and recovery solutions on the market, it’s critical to know how different backup vendors stack up. With Own, you feel confident knowing that your data–and peace of mind–is our first priority. With over 500 5-star reviews on the AppExchange, Own Recover for Salesforce makes it easy to protect your data and metadata, thanks to automated backups, proactive notifications of loss or corruption and easy-to-use recovery tools. With our 24/7 customer support, you’ll have a Salesforce admin certified support engineer to help you when you need it most.
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