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The Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Backup and Recovery

With the way Salesforce has provided efficient solutions to manage customer and partner data, it’s not surprising how it leads the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services industry.

Alongside this powerful capability, however, comes the responsibility of providing adequate security for that data. Unfortunately, most SaaS providers primarily focus on providing a great platform and pass data security and management on to the customer.

And so, deploying Salesforce means acquiring the responsibility of managing, securing, and protecting not only your organization’s data, but the data of your customers and partners as well. If it sounds like a huge obligation that’s because it is.

With this blog post, we aim to empower Salesforce users to better manage their Salesforce data by providing the ultimate backup and recovery guide. Let’s get to it!

Why do you need backup?

How can we ever fully trust that our data is perfectly safe without it being backed up? Data center failures, power outages, disasters, human error—there are just too many possible causes of data loss. The deletion of an account, an object, or a contact is not something you can easily brush off.

Even if you can categorize data loss as minor or major, both still pose risks to your organization from a business and legal perspective; backing up your data saves you from all of that.

salesforce backup

What needs to be backed up?

It’s important to know what data in Salesforce is essential and what should be protected for recovery. An efficient backup service should be able to secure all your main data types including Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, Cases, and Contracts.

In addition to the main data types, custom object records, files, and content should also be backed up. For some organizations, backing up the above is not enough as they have their own custom configurations, fields, page layouts, and metadata, these should also be covered in the backup.

Common Data Loss Scenarios in Salesforce

There are multiple instances when your Salesforce data can be deleted – intentional or not. These are the most common ones experienced by organizations that can be remedied by a third-party backup and recovery solution. Take a look at these scenarios to know what to avoid:

User-Driven: These are typical mistakes from users. Sometimes, users are not aware of why touching certain data led to that data’s deletion. There are also times when employees make changes to data prior to leaving a company, which makes it harder to resolve since they are no longer part of the organization and no one is aware of the data they left. There are even users who are overconfident that deleted items can be retained by the Recycle Bin and not entirely aware of its limitations.

Recycle Bins in Salesforce hold deleted items—but what it doesn’t hold are version histories of those items. If unwanted changes are made to content before being deleted, how do you think you’ll be able to revert to the original data?

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Admin-Driven: Opposite of the above scenario, admin-driven mistakes result in larger losses of data and require a more complicated recovery approach. Most of these mistakes happen using Data Loader where admins try to do bulk updates, changes, or actions all at once, which also makes it very easy to mass delete data. Admins may not even be aware of the data they’ve deleted. And it’s not only the admins who can use Data Loader; anyone who has access can perform actions like mass deletion.

If a power user accidentally deleted 32,000 records in Data Loader, for instance, those deleted records will be in the Recycle Bin for a maximum of 14 days. The only way to recover these records is to restore them from the Recycle Bin page by page, which takes a ton of time and effort.

How does Salesforce protect data?

Native Backup Tools:

1. Data Export Service: With this, you can automatically or manually back up your data—images, documents, attachments, and Chatter files—weekly or monthly. The downside is that data export is not supported by sandboxes, and files are deleted 48 hours after the completion of export. Delays can also be expected, especially in cases of heavy traffic. This is where third-party tools like AvePoint’s Cloud Backup for Salesforce can help. With Cloud Backup you can efficiently and fully export your data in a matter of minutes, which greatly helps especially when you’re pressed by time.

2. Export a Report: This can be used to back up targeted data, such as Campaign Contacts or Lead records, by exporting said data and then importing it to another Salesforce environment or third-party application such as Excel. This is, however, a labor-intensive and tedious process that is prone to human error, which makes automation all the more crucial.

3. Salesforce APIs: To back up Salesforce information through an external application, Salesforce APIs help you get the job done. For an even more comprehensive solution, Cloud Backup can help protect and restore your metadata and other customized configurations with ease.

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Native Restoration Tools:

  1. Recycle Bin: Easily restore soft-deleted records such as parent accounts, cases, and custom lookups with Recycle Bin. Your Recycle Bin can contain 25 times your MB storage capacity as records. Items are retained for 15 days before they’re permanently deleted. Once purged, they cannot be recovered. If you’re one of the majority of organizations needing longer retention period for deleted data, AvePoint can help you back up and retain your data for as long as you need.
  2. Data Import Wizard: Data Import Wizard can be used to import data for Salesforce objects like accounts, leads, custom objects, and more. You can import up to 50,000 records at a time.
  3. Data Loader: For the bulk import or export of data, Data Loader helps you to insert, update, delete, and export Salesforce records through an easy-to-use wizard interface for interactive use and drag-and-drop field mapping.

While the Recycle Bin can restore soft-deleted data for a short period of time, both Data Import and Data Loader offer few options for restoring critical data and instead focus more on providing an option to update and edit existing data. Cloud Backup for Salesforce, on the other hand, can fully back up and restore both in- and out-of-place data in bulk.

salesforce backup

Paid Add-on Solution:

Salesforce also has a native backup and recovery solution, Backup and Restore (their previous service, Data Recovery Service, was retired in Fall 2021 after the launch of this new service), which is offered as a paid add-on. After purchasing this add-on, customers can automate daily backup, allowing them to restore and recover their data in the event of data loss.

The solution backs up standard and custom objects, restores backed-up data into orgs, and offers automated purging of outdated backups. It also provides data encryption at rest and in transit and high-level summary reports.

Manage Metadata with Metadata API

As mentioned above, metadata—custom object records, configurations, and codes—are just as important as your main data types. With Metadata API, you can back up, restore, manage, and customize your metadata in your Salesforce environment.

  • Deploying and retrieving metadata: Move metadata (XML files) between a Salesforce organization and a local file system using the deploy() and retrieve() calls.
  • Migration Tool: This migration tool helps in moving metadata between a local directory and a Salesforce org.

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Limits of the Native Salesforce Backup and Recovery Service

While the release of Salesforce’s Backup and Restore is an improvement to the platform’s previous backup and restoration capabilities, it still has its limitations. Namely, Salesforce also does not offer a straightforward way to back up and restore metadata, which we’ve already discussed is critical to business continuity on the platform.

Some organizations need a solution that offers more features, like multi-SaaS backup, as they use multiple collaboration platforms; additional daily backups, as losing a full day’s work can be costly; or ransomware detection, as becoming a target of cybercrime can be even more costly. An efficient backup and recovery solution should not only be able to fully protect the important data and metadata, but it should also offer a reliable, fast, and user-friendly recovery feature to restore data when needed.

Because the Backup and Restore is an additional fee to use, it is worth exploring third-party options to determine if other providers can better meet your needs, such as more automation or simpler procedures. These solutions have been around for years and have been proven effective. In fact, prior to the launch of Backup and Restore, Salesforce encouraged their customers to choose third-party solutions, who they worked closely with to build comprehensive backup and restore options.

You have invested in Salesforce and now you need to ensure your data is protected. Start your free trial of AvePoint Cloud Backup – the leader in multi-SaaS backup – today and enjoy a more efficient way of protecting your Salesforce data.

For more on Salesforce backup be sure to subscribe to our blog.

Sherian Batallones
Sherian Batallones
In Sherian's role as AvePoint Content Marketing Specialist, she covers the latest trends and topics on what’s new in technology, SaaS Management & Governance, SaaS Backup and Data Management.
Adrian Valencia
Adrian Valencia
Adrian is currently a member of AvePoint's project management team. In his previous role as a Content Marketing specialist at AvePoint, Adrian covered the latest trends and topics on what’s new in technology, SaaS Management & Governance, SaaS Backup and Data Management.

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