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Salesforce Backup and Restore Guide
December 3, 2023
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Salesforce Backup and Restore Guide

Unveiling the essentials of the backup and restore process in Salesforce.

I. Introduction

According to an IBM estimate, the average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $9.44 million, doubling the figure of that in the year prior. With that being said, businesses need to be more cautious than ever because cyberattacks are becoming more frequent. Since Salesforce’s CRM is a living system with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of users updating records or altering fields every minute of every day, easy data backup on the platform is equally as important as in other systems.

However, data loss can occur for a variety of reasons, such as user mistakes, rogue automation, and shady data loads into your Salesforce organization. Backup isn't just about hackers and hacks. It is also an essential component of any well-designed DevOps process. Having backups of both data and metadata is crucial if development teams are utilizing continuous integration/deployment, delivering new features, and correcting problems several times a day. This allows them to restore the system to earlier states if needed.

II. What is Salesforce Data Backup and Restore?

Salesforce Backup and Restore is a comprehensive solution that safeguards an organization's valuable data. It uses multiple technologies, including metadata and data backups, to ensure that an organization's information is always secure and quickly recoverable in the event of data loss. Organizations can easily schedule backups, select specific data to back up, and choose various storage locations.

The solution also offers crucial recovery options that can provide peace of mind to businesses in the event of data loss or system failure. Point-in-time and snapshots quickly recover the lost data and resume operations without downtime. Backup and Restore is built with robust security features that prioritize the protection and confidentiality of organizational information: end-to-end encryption of backups, continuous monitoring, and automated audit trails ensure that only authorized users can access the system's data.

Note that Salesforce Backup only backs up the data, not the metadata. Any customizations made to the UI or workflows are not included in the backup. The solution automatically creates backup copies of all the data in a user's Salesforce instance on a daily basis, and the backups are stored securely in Salesforce servers. The retention period is thirty-five days by default but can be increased for a nominal charge.

Salesforce Restore is the process of reverting the data to a previous backup state. This can be done for a single record or an entire database by selecting the backup from which to restore and then specifying which data to restore. Apart from the built-in tools, Salesforce also supports third-party solutions offering more frequent backups, more extended retention periods, and the ability to backup metadata as well.

III. Reasons for Backing Up Salesforce

Salesforce is a powerful platform, but even the most reliable system can sometimes fail, resulting in the loss of critical information. This data loss can lead to many negative scenarios. Here are some of the reasons why businesses should prioritize Salesforce backup:

  • Mitigate risks: Salesforce provides tools such as Data Loader that allow users to import and update thousands of records in seconds. However, bulk updates can also pose a significant threat in case of human error. Accidentally wiping out or modifying numerous records can have severe consequences for businesses. By backing up Salesforce data regularly, companies can restore their systems to the last stable version in case of such accidents.
  • Reverse human errors: Human errors can happen even in the most organized environment. Salesforce backup allows businesses to reverse both simple and complex errors that may occur while managing data on the platform. Whether deleting a contact by mistake or changing a critical workflow unintentionally - all can be reverted to a previous state without irreversible consequences.
  • Compliance: Data management requirements vary from industry to industry. For instance, the healthcare industry must comply with HIPAA regulations that protect patient data privacy and security. Salesforce backup helps meet such compliance requirements via a secure data recovery process in case of a system failure.
  • Analyze data outside of Salesforce: Businesses use data for various purposes, such as generating reports and making better decisions. Salesforce backup allows businesses to analyze their data outside the platform using dedicated tools with more advanced features than its built-in dashboard. Advanced data analysis can help enterprises identify patterns and trends that are not visible in the Salesforce interface.
  • Ensure data security: Sensitive customer information, financial records, and other vital information that can quickly become a target for cyberattacks. Data backups protect against fraud and malicious activity.
  • Increases operational efficiency: Without the ability to retrieve information, daily workflows can be endangered, which may lead to downtime and substantial financial losses. By implementing reliable backup and recovery practices, businesses have peace of mind, knowing that they can restore data in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Prepare for disaster recovery: Hardware failures or software glitches can all lead to catastrophic data loss, resulting in permanent damages to businesses. Disaster recovery planning with backup and recovery solutions can reduce the impact of a disaster, minimize critical data loss, and help recover as quickly as possible.

IV. How to Backup and Restore Data in Salesforce

Salesforce admins configure backup and restore settings to safeguard data and ensure business continuity. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to initiate backup and restore process:

Step 1: Assign the Permission Set License for Salesforce Backup

To use Salesforce Backup, you will need the necessary permission. This involves assigning the Backup and Restore Permission Set License, which provides the required permissions for installing and using the Salesforce Backup managed package.

Step 2: Assign Salesforce Backup Permissions

Once the Backup and Restore Permission Set License has been assigned, you will need access to the Salesforce Backup app and permission to backup and restore data on specific objects.

Step 3: Install and Set up the Salesforce Backup Managed Package

You can install the Salesforce Backup managed package using the link in the subscription order form. Ensure a secure connection between the app and Salesforce.

Step 4: Plan Your Salesforce Backup Strategy

Drawing up a plan involves identifying and prioritizing the data for recovery, ensuring access to the relevant data objects, and developing a backup policy in batches.

Step 5: Create a Backup Policy

The next step is to create and activate a backup policy. Backups occur once every 24 hours, beginning at 6:00 PM Central Time (GMT - 6).

Step 6: Restore Data from a Backup

If data loss occurs, resort to the Salesforce Backup app or use a data import tool such as Data Loader or Data Import Wizard. You will need the object-level permissions for the records being restored.

Salesforce Backup Considerations

Remember that the backup feature is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are several considerations to keep in mind when using it. Firstly, some objects cannot be backed up. These include records stored in big objects, history objects, and standard objects that lack the required fields. Also, data stored within the bulk API is not backed up. If you notice an object that has all the necessary permissions but isn't visible on the backup log, it's likely because the object doesn't have the required fields for backup.

Secondly, when updating or deleting records, it's essential to recognize that the original record ID is maintained, and a new record ID is created when a deleted record is restored. This means that if changes are made to a record, only the modified fields are restored, and information regarding unchanged fields isn't recovered.

Lastly, if a custom object is a part of a managed package that's not site-wide, integration users must have the necessary licensing when using it.

V. Common Salesforce Backup and Restore Challenges

Several Backup and Restore issues can arise in the process.

  1. Data Integrity Issues - There is always a risk of data corruption or loss due to human error, system failure, or cyber-attacks. Without adequate backup and restore procedures, such as regular backups or data synchronization with external systems, businesses could potentially harm their data integrity. Data integrity issues can have severe implications, such as incorrect sales calculations and inaccurate customer insights, leading to declining performance.
  2. Incomplete Data Restoration - In some cases, data restoration can be incomplete, leading to data gaps and discrepancies. Failure to restore all the necessary data can create data inconsistencies and further complications. It is crucial to test the data restoration process regularly to ensure that all data is accurately and completely restored.
  3. Time Constraints - Restoring large volumes of data can be a lengthy and time-consuming process that can detract from core business activities. Also, the loss of sales data can result in lost revenue and lower customer satisfaction. Consider factors such as the frequency of backups or deploying advanced backup solutions that support high-speed data restoration to mitigate these issues.
  4. Human Error - Salesforce is an interactive platform, and employees use it daily to input vital customer data. However, human error can lead to data loss that can be challenging to recover, primarily when backups aren’t regular. Companies should develop a comprehensive data loss prevention strategy that includes staff training, monitoring, and restricting access to particular user data.

Troubleshooting Backup and Restore Problems

The inability to retrieve lost data or restore backups can bring business operations to a grinding halt. However, troubleshooting these issues needn’t be a daunting task. Follow a structured approach to identify and resolve such issues easily.

Step 1: Verify the Backup and Restore Settings

The first step involves checking the backup and restore settings to verify if they are correctly configured. These settings can be found in the Salesforce settings under the Data Management option. Enable the backup and restore settings and check if the frequency of backups is appropriate based on your business needs.

Step 2: Check the Data Storage Limits

Salesforce imposes limitations on the amount of data that can be stored in an organization. If a Backup and Restore problem arises, it may be due to exceeding the data storage limits. Check the data storage limits for the organization under the Company Information option in the Salesforce settings.

Step 3: Review the Backup and Restore Logs

Salesforce logs all backup and restore activities in the organization. Users can access this log under the Debug Logs option in the Salesforce settings. Reviewing these logs can help identify any issues that may be causing the Backup and Restore problems.

Step 4: Evaluate the User Permissions

A common issue is a lack of adequate user permissions necessary to restore backups or access the backed-up data. Evaluate the user permissions to ensure that they are appropriately enabled.

Step 5: Contact Salesforce Support

If none of the above steps resolves your issues, it may be time to contact Salesforce support for more detailed information or to escalate the matter to their technical team for resolution.

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