Athenahealth Protects Over 180 Million Salesforce® Records with Own
athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health records (EHR), revenue cycle management and medical billing, patient engagement, care coordination, and population health management, as well as Epocrates® and other point-of-care mobile apps. athenahealth connects care and drives meaningful, measurable results for more than 67,000 health care providers in medical practices and health systems across the United States.
Athenahealth is a modern enterprise with a cloud first IT strategy. Salesforce, the internal CRM system is used by more than 75% of athenahealth’s employees—over 3,000 users. No patient details are stored in Salesforce, but all client data linked to marketing, sales, account management and support is stored in the platform and tightly integrated with critical backend systems that also serve finance, HR, and other departments.
In the past, athenahealth relied on manual data exports to backup their Salesforce data, but that solution did not meet their requirements around Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) given the business-critical nature of the system, and the data.
Another challenge was scalability. Driven by business growth and the launch of Salesforce ServiceCloud for the customer support team, data and metadata storage skyrocketed from 20GB to almost 190GB, representing 180 million records across 950 objects (all figures exclude attachments and documents) — all in the span of two months. Using Salesforce weekly exports, or manual data exports, proved ineffective and time consuming for keeping timely backup snapshots.
Knowing the challenges involved with manually restoring data to Salesforce and the complexity of their environment, the team identified user inflicted data loss caused by user error or malfunction as a critical risk.
As a public company in the healthcare field, athenahealth is required to meet several regulatory standards, from Sarbanes-Oxley to HIPAA. Operating in this climate of compliance has influenced the company culture.
athenahealth needed an enterprise grade solution that would perform daily backups and provide the tools needed to monitor changes, and quickly recover from any data loss or corruption event. This type of backup solution would enable athenahealth to serve its customers and employees with confidence, knowing that data was safe and that business continuity was ensured.
After performing an in-depth review of available solutions, athenahealth chose Own to provide automated, secure, daily backups and a comprehensive disaster recovery solution for its Salesforce platform. Own performs automated, complete full backs to ensure data can be retrieved and restored from any point in time. If data additions, deletions, or modifications are detected by a user or by proactive monitoring from Own’s Smart Alerts, the deltas can be quickly identified with a Compare Report to determine the precise data to be restored.
Own’s protection and functionality extends to metadata as well. athenahealth’s Salesforce administration and development teams are able to easily take snapshots of production or sandbox metadata on-demand. This enables the teams to quickly view and identify the latest changes to metadata within in the same environment or between two different environments. The ability to easily access and compare data and metadata snapshots in both the development and production environments allows them to move faster and with confidence.
Ease of use, visibility into data corruption and changes, backup status reports, and easy data restore have proven to be key features in Own’s solution.
Additionally, it has driven operational efficiencies, freeing athenahealth’s CRM team from managing backups to turn their focus onto value-added Salesforce development activities.
Shortly after the customer support team went live with Service Cloud, athenahealth’s CRM team ran a major update on the Salesforce environment and accidentally updated thousands of records with data that was out of date. Luckily, the corruption was spotted in time, and using Own, the team was able to easily identify the corrupted records and restore the correct data.