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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Know your options of backing up Salesforce data


Recognizing the extreme importance of data Salesforce provides various options to its users for data backup and recovery for comprehensive data protection. Besides the various features of Salesforce that help to backup data, Salesforce data backup apps from third parties are also available, which provide all-around data protection and recovery options. Having a routine backup strategy is part of the best practices for Salesforce users as it is integral to the data management system and security.

The need for a solid backup and recovery system needs no explanation because of data vulnerability that can result in data loss under various circumstances. From system breaches, cyber-attacks, and ransomware attacks to human errors like deletion or overwriting, system outages, and data corruption, anything and everything can cause data loss which in some cases might even be permanent.

Several options are available in Salesforce to keep data safe and secure in the local system and within Salesforce.  All types of data backup and recovery options must take care of data as well as Metadata. The former refers to all types of data generated while using Salesforce and the latter refers to the data related to the configuration of Salesforce org in your system.

Native data backup

The priority of Salesforce users is to ensure quick access to Salesforce data at any point in time, for which the option of Native data backup is most popular.  Data protection ensures that the data remains intact by taking care of all customizations and alterations in configuration. With proper data backup systems in place, users can avoid the impact of data cleanup by importing data from safe storage.

Native backup of Metadata protects the built-in schema and data model of the Salesforce org that includes reports, custom field layouts, custom code, dashboard setting, and all other configuration settings.

Salesforce features that support native data back options

Manual data backup and Data export are the two features of Salesforce that aid Native data backup.

Data Export – The Data Export feature of Salesforce is useful for creating data backup in CSV files. You can schedule data export or do it instantly by pressing or tapping on the Export Now tab, and it will trigger an email of the user who has logged in and conducting the operation. The email contains a downloadable link of the CSV files that remain valid for 48 hours.

However, you must note that sandboxes do not support the Data Export activity because any such request sent to sandboxes would remain unprocessed. Refreshing the sandbox helps to remove the export request from the queue. To accommodate a large data volume that exceeds 512MB, multiple CSV files are created and stored. ZIP archives

Data Loader – It is a Salesforce tool for importing and exporting data and supports CSV files. The backup remains in the local system. Although the Data Loader does not support attachments for exporting, you can work around it by using the weekly export feature for exporting attachments. T

Export Report – The exported data remains saved in the local system, and you can either view formatted reports or Details only. Formatted Reports export the report when it appears in Salesforce that contains groupings, header, and filter details.  Since it is a formatted report, it supports only XLSX file type without any scope for encoding.

Details Only Report– The report contains the detail of each row but without formatting and can be transposed in a spreadsheet for further calculations. There can be several rows in the report without any limit.

Backup data and automatic code

It is possible to customize the Salesforce features for taking regular backups of data externally and natively.

Native backup – By writing codes, you can take backup of all records, including attachments, and save them in CSV format as files or attachments. Users who have undertaken the exercise confirm that they saved 10,000 records with 20 fields in one CSV file of less than 2 MB.  By clicking the restore code, it is possible to compare the new and old records. If it is necessary to overwrite the report fully or partially, the code can help to do it automatically.

External backup – You can schedule a batch and save all files and records by writing code in databases, external applications, One Drive, Google Drive, servers, etc. You can create a schedule for the process daily, weekly, or anything in between based on whatever is convenient for you. This is a more secure way of backing up data as compared to using third-party apps from the AppExchange that might have some vulnerability that can cause data loss.

Full copy sandbox – Using some sandbox-like Partial Copy, it is possible to create a replica of Salesforce org comprising data and Metadata. You can recreate the entire Salesforce org environment in this manner. However, this method has some risks because the system allows updates only once in 30 days, which means that if anything goes wrong in between, you are likely to lose data.

Moreover, it is a huge challenge to restore data to your production environment because it entails manual import and export of data, which raises the risks of errors and omissions.  In the absence of any discovery tools, it is impossible to identify any data loss.

Look for a partner backup solution

All the options discussed above entails the involvement of users. Not only can the tasks be stressful to handle, but they can also eat away valuable time of users and cause major distractions from the core business areas. The focus would shift towards data management rather than managing the business, which can adversely impact businesses.

To enable users to focus more on the business aspects, Salesforce recommends partnering with a third party for backup solutions. Outsourcing the services will help integrate the backup solution with the deployment tool, which eases data recovery because such solutions are created exclusively for Salesforce that can address all issues satisfactorily.  Besides data security, the third-party solutions ensure all regulatory compliances that give peace of mind to users.

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