Salesforce has proven to be a reliable CRM platform. Yet there are situations when something goes wrong with your data or metadata. How do you make sure everything is restored to its original state? In this article, I explain the options available to you.
Somewhere on the internet hangs a server on which your Salesforce is running. You can expect Salesforce to do everything they can to ensure security and availability. And they do; there’s not much to worry about. In the worst case, Salesforce makes a mistake that affects you; then they are responsible for fixing it. The last major outage was in May 2019. They did indeed fix that one, but with your own backup you would have been back up and running sooner. Should Salesforce go down completely, then unfortunately you will no longer be able to access your data. In that case, you would be happy with a copy in another location to fill a new CRM system with.
The vast majority of problems in Salesforce are self-inflicted. As much as 70% of all data loss is the result of human error. A user accidentally deletes an account, you overwrite the wrong fields in an import, or an update turns out to be completely wrong. In those cases, you have a number of standard options to repair the damage.
Recycle bin. Deleted records are kept in the Recycle Bin for 15 days. From there they can easily be restored.
Data export. It is possible to export all data from Salesforce on a weekly or monthly basis and save it in a safe place. If something goes completely wrong, you can use these files for a recovery action. Keep in mind that it can be quite complex to determine which data to restore and how. Moreover, in these files you have only data and no metadata. Metadata is for example: a process, the rights on an object or settings in Salesforce.
Sandbox. A sandbox is a (partial) copy of the production environment. If you have messed up, an up-to-date sandbox is extremely useful for recovering the correct settings. A sandbox is particularly useful when it comes to restoring metadata.
Disaster Recovery Service. As a final resort, you can contact Salesforce to restore your Org. This service costs a minimum of $10,000 and will also be discontinued by July 2020. Not an option.
Of course you should avoid ever needing a backup. Some good habits are:
Only give users rights to what is necessary for their job. You can minimise the risk of accidental deletion by assigning the appropriate rights.
Changes to the production environment are always made from a sandbox where these changes have been tested and approved.
Do a data export and a refresh of a developer sandbox regularly. It costs nothing and you never know when it might come in handy.
Additional backup solution
In addition to the standard recovery options, it is also possible to purchase a special backup solution for Salesforce. The big advantage is that you can quickly restore an original situation, both in terms of data and metadata. This is very different from doing it yourself with (outdated) data exports and sandboxes: this is very time-consuming and the end result can be disappointing. Other advantages are that the backup is always up to date and stored outside Salesforce.
Do you need an additional backup solution? There is no simple answer to this question. Of course I would like you to have the best backup tool, but it also comes at a price. My advice is that you make an analysis of the risks you are running, whether you find them acceptable and whether an investment in a backup solution is justified to minimise any future damage.
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