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Why do I need to back up Salesforce?

Backing up salesforce is one of the most important things to do to protect your sales organization, and there are multiple reasons why it’s important to do so:

Salesforce says to do it

The Salesforce.com page on recovering data says that Salesforce recommends to “use a partner backup solution that can be found on the Appexchange.” Even though they have a recovery service, they do not recommend it as a way to protect your Salesforce data. In fact, they tell you that it is an option of last resort. The rest of this article will explain why that is that case.

Download the Paper: The Salesforce Data Protection Guide

You do not want to Salesforce to restore your account

The biggest reason that many people don’t think about backing up Salesforce on their own is that the data is “in the cloud.” There’s a general feeling that if you use a cloud service, then data protection is taken care of. While there may be some basic protection, it’s not enough to protect you against a number of catastrophic events. Catastrophic is anything that your recycle bin cannot take care of, which includes everything from the mundane to the unthinkable. Consider how easy it is for a standard SFDC user to use the data loader to accidentally delete thousands of records, when they meant to update them (update and delete are one button away). Worse would be a rogue employee updating a significant number of records with bogus information because they didn’t make their bonus last quarter. If any of these things happen, you’ll have no choice but to reach out to Salesforce.com for a full account restore.

Here are a few problems with that idea. That’s probably why the page that describes the service says that this “is only an option after you have exhausted all other reasonable efforts to recover the data,”

It takes 6-8 weeks to complete. That’s right. It’s a very manual process by the Salesforce team, so the page describing the service says it will take 6-8 weeks to complete. That’s 6-8 weeks without your records, or working with corrupted records. That could cost your company millions.

It costs $10,000. Salesforce.com charges a flat fee of $10,000 for giving you an export of your account.

It’s not a restore. The service sends you a collection of .CSV files, each of which represents an export of a salesforce object, such as Leads, Contacts, etc. It will still be up to you to upload the data to salesforce using the Data Loader. It will be a very involved process that may require the use of professional services, costing you even more.

It doesn’t include metadata. The .CSV exports do not include metadata associated with your account, such as how reports, list views, and page layouts are displayed. Think of all the customizations you have made in those areas, and think about having to redo all of it.

The recycle bin doesn’t have updated records

Another thing people think about is that if something bad happens, they will just restore it from their recycle bin. That’s a viable alternative for small things, such as accidentally deleting a set of records.

But the recycle bin contains only deleted records, not updated records. That means that if someone accidentally or maliciously updates records, you will not be able to restore those records using the recycle bin.

The recycle bin is smaller than you think

The Salesforce recycle bin is also not as big as you think (think of how powerful the data loader is, and how many records it allows you to delete at one time). To get the number of records you can store in your recycle bin, multiply the number of megabytes you have in storage by 25. If you have 5000 MB (5GB), you can store 125,000 records in your recycle bin. While this may sound like a lot, just realize that a rogue or incompetent admin can easily delete many more records than that using the data loader.

This is why during large deletes with the data loader, it will actually warn you that you are deleting more records than what will fit in your recycle bin. This means that an admin who makes a big mistake could easily delete many more records than you can fix with the recycle bin.

The recycle bin only keeps records for 15 days

Some mistakes or attacks aren’t noticed right away. This is why most people keep backup history much longer that 15 days. But it’s important to understand that the recycle bin does not do that. It only holds records for 15 days. If a mistaken or rogue admin does something that goes unnoticed for two weeks, you will not be able to bring it back via any mechanism other than the Salesforce restore service.

How much is your Salesforce data worth to you?

If you’re like many companies, your CRM data is some of the most valuable data you hold. Without it, your Salesforce cannot do its job. A long term Salesforce outage could end up costing your company millions of dollars. That’s why it’s a good idea to follow Salesforce.com’s recommendation and back up your Salesforce data.


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