A Handbook to Salesforce Data Backup Services and Solutions

It is a widespread misconception that the cloud systems like Salesforce may not need an additional backup. It is a fact that cloud providers may handle disaster recovery and restoration if something goes wrong on their part, but it does not extend to everything. Even when on the cloud, data can be overwritten or deleted by mistake by the user, so an effective backup strategy should be in place. Having backup will give you the much needed boost to manage your operations flawlessly. Many businesses have successfully used backups to manage their operations better. 

Salesforce was able to perform the disaster recovery independently with Disaster Recovery Service as a last resort with a restore option. Still, with effect from July 2020, this service was terminated. Even when the Disaster Recovery Service was in place, Salesforce always recommended that the users have an additional backup solution. If you are uncertain about how to go about it, talk to a professional. They have the training and knowledge to guide you in the best way to get maximum results. 

Salesforce data loss – causes

Possible causes of data loss can be different in various situations. Some of them are as below.

  • Manual errors – This is like changing the value of various fields on Salesforce which are not tracked in the recycle bin or while deleting a report.
  • Mass changes or data import- These operations may overwrite the data with some wrong values.
  • Workforce rules or some anonymous apps – These are usually used to modify the values unintentionally.
  • Malicious user behavior – Intentional or unintentional user behavior to time per Salesforce data.

While talking about Salesforce backup, it is also important to distinguish between the data and metadata. Data means those values stored in the object store, which are similar to the contents of the database tables. Metadata is the additional configuration specific to your organization as the layouts, custom fields, triggers, reports, rules, and other things that can be customized or added to the Salesforce org. 

For those organizations with Salesforce but without customization, metadata backup may not be as important as the data backup. For those organizations which heavily customize their Salesforce instances, some considerable investments require protection through metadata backup. Salesforce recycles bin may also be useful to track any update for the metadata changes. However, it may not be the way to ensure your data protection.

Data backup methods

While considering a salesforce data backup service, you also need to check out their data backup methods. Salesforce, by default, provides a few options which are used to do simple backups.

  • Manual data export is done by setting up the data management and choosing the data export options.
  • Data export through reports-data loader imports and exportsthe refund of the metadata backups through the package manager on Salesforce.
  • Using sandbox – Full sandbox can be 100 percentage mirroring the production in such circumstances, which hold both the data and metadata. This may cost some extra as it can only be refreshed every 6 weeks. Typically, it is used by organizations doing a lot of Salesforce development to test large data migrations. However, this can be used as a backup tool for data as well.

Mirroring the database

While the underlying Salesforce database may not be accessible, different tools like Heroku, Skyvia, cData, and others will allow mirroring Salesforce object data as relational DB and popular systems like PostgreSQL Microsoft SQL server, etc. It is also a good option while the RDBMS systems are already in place. However, the default relational data backup methods may not back up the metadata except for the custom object fields.  

So, this also needs to be backed up separately. Not all the products will allow bi-directional synchronization, so the restoration may require some extra steps like exporting data, preparing data fields, the data loader scripts, etc. This is also a good solution, especially for Salesforce organizations for more than basic CRM tasks.

How does Salesforce backup work?

Salesforce backup may be significantly started from the file systems for the database backups. While the backup relies largely on some shape or form on copying the files to the Backup storage, Salesforce has no direct access to the database and file systems. Everything has to be accessed through API-based access, which distinguishes between the backup and other applications. A standard backup procedure recommends following steps before restoring the data. It also means that the triggers and workflows may still be executed. For effective restoration, these should be disabled along with email sending and batch jobs.

Restoring Salesforce data and relational database

There are many differences in the restoration process for Salesforce against the relational database restorations. Lookup fields to various objects can be easily handled by most of the backup packages. So, it is always good to have the settings to disable the trigger processing for your code. You might also try to temporarily change the object names to text rather than considering the auto-generated ones for the restoration. Also, stop listing the object names as the text fields may get generated through a trigger with an option to bypass the same.

Salesforce backup services will offer many features by enabling more effective sales, like altering the notifications on deleted and modified objects and storing data and metadata across various Salesforce instances. So, despite Salesforce being on the cloud, an appropriate backup and restoration strategy should be in place. We strongly recommend all Salesforce users make it a part of their overall Salesforce deployment strategy. 

Along with the native tools, there are many third-party tools and apps for Salesforce data and metadata backup, which you can leverage. However, not all of these are the same to ensure optimum database protection, proper backing up, and on-time restoration. You need to be very careful about choosing the most reliable and professional third-party backup services.

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