Editor’s note: This post was updated in February 2023, with the latest information and resources.
In July 2020, Salesforce announced that they were retiring their last-resort Data Recovery Service because it did not meet their high standards of customer success and trust.
Then, in March 2021, they reversed their decision and reintroduced the Data Recovery Service. As Salesforce explained, “the Salesforce community had pointed out that Data Recovery Service’s value lies in its very existence and knowing it is there in the event of an emergency.”
Just a few months later, though, in November 2021, they (re)retired the Data Recovery Service in place of Salesforce Backup and Restore (which has had fits and starts of its own).
So, if the Data Recovery Service is no longer being offered, why should you care about it? Well, as indecisive as Salesforce has been with the service, who’s to say they won’t bring it back at some point? In this blog, we review what you get with the Data Recovery Service and explore the other backup and recovery solutions available for Salesforce.
What is the Data Recovery Service?
When it was offered, the Data Recovery Service provided a measure of last resort should you experience an irretrievable data loss, and was not intended to be a backup and recovery solution. While the service was better than having no recovery options at all and may have provided some peace of mind, it had several notable limitations:
- Salesforce did not guarantee that this service would successfully restore 100% your data
- The files that you received included data, but no metadata
- The process of recovering your data took approximately 6-8 weeks
- The data was returned in CSV files, meaning that you still needed to manually upload back into Salesforce
- The service costed $10,000
Other native options provided by Salesforce
Although the Data Recovery Service has been (re)retired, Salesforce continues to offer several other native backup options to its customers.
Data Export Service
Salesforce’s Data Export Service allows you to perform a manual or scheduled backup of a specified set of standard or custom objects. You are then responsible for storing the files in a secure location where, if needed, they can be located in the event of data loss or data corruption. If that happens, there is a very specific set of steps that must be followed to restore the data. Like the data recovery service, this is complicated and time-consuming because you have to restore data relationships contained in many .CSV files contained in a .zip file. Also, the file does not contain metadata.
API/DiY Export to Data Warehouse
Another option customers have is to export their data to a data warehouse. Again, this is a backup step, not a recovery strategy. The exports are typically done for very specific data, not all data, and there are no notifications to alert you that the data being exported is corrupted. In most cases, the only time you’d truly know whether the data was exported correctly is when you try to recover it.
Data Loader allows you to import, export or delete data in Salesforce. The backup process is very similar to the Weekly Export, which involves manually downloading .CSV files or scheduling an export, a very time-consuming process. Unlike the Weekly Export, however, you CAN use the Data Loader tool to restore data into Salesforce.
In addition to being ideal environments for performance testing, load testing, and staging, Salesforce sandboxes are sometimes used as a data backup solution. The reason this is not recommended is that sandboxes can only be refreshed every 29 days, meaning anything created in the last 30 days has not been backed up. Furthermore, refreshes need to be submitted manually; and once you refresh a sandbox, the old version is gone. This means that you don’t have any historical backups beyond the last full sandbox refresh.
Reasons to use a third-party backup solution
If Salesforce offers native solutions, why should you consider a third-party solution?
It's important to remember that SaaS providers like Salesforce follow a shared responsibility model where the vendor is responsible for application uptime and availability, while the customer is responsible for protecting the data they store in the platform. Since you're ultimately on the hook, you want to make sure that you choose the best possible backup and recovery solution for your business.
While Salesforce provides native tools to back up your data, most of these will not help you restore your data in the event of data loss or corruption. Having a copy of your data is important to meet the minimum standards of a backup. But the real challenge is the ability to restore the data back into Salesforce exactly how and when you need to.
Additionally, to ensure business continuity during unexpected events, it’s been a long-standing technology best practice that your backups be kept separate from your production data. Even though Salesforce is one of the most reliable SaaS applications out there, outages (or ‘service disruptions’ as Salesforce calls them) do happen. By storing your backups outside of Salesforce, your data will still be accessible in the event of an outage, allowing you to maintain continuity.
Finally, Salesforce themselves acknowledge the value of having a third-party backup and recovery provider. As Salesforce notes, “Salesforce AppExchange is home to a rich partner ecosystem that provides robust backup and restore solutions for customers today".
Own Recover for Salesforce
Of the backup and recovery solutions on the AppExchange, Own Recover is the highest rated, with more than 5,000 customers and nearly 500 5-star reviews. Here are some of the reasons so many Salesforce customers choose Own:
Easy to implement. From the time a customer logs into the system to the time they’ve kicked off their first backup is measured in minutes. Although we have an astounding support team available to help whenever needed, most customers can expect to be self-sufficient.
Flexible backup frequencies. We help customers attain their RPO and RTO objectives. By backing up all of your Salesforce data, metadata, and attachments daily, Own minimizes the amount of data your organization will lose, or RPO, as well as the time it will take to recover, or RTO.
Access to backups independent of Salesforce. Own stores their customers’ backed up data outside of Salesforce. This means if Salesforce is unavailable, customers still have access to all of their data.
Unlimited backup storage. There are no storage limits to your backups, regardless of how large the organization’s environment is.
Proactive monitoring. With Smart Alerts, you can set alert criteria object-by-object, and get notified about unusual data loss or corruption to your backups.
Granular restore capabilities. Own's Precision repair tool offers the easiest way to identify and correct your data (down to the field level) surgically and quickly, without losing valid changes.
To learn more about what to consider when choosing a backup solution, check out our ebook, The Buyer’s Guide to Backup and Recovery.