There’s a paradox about backups: everyone agrees that they’re essential for protecting data, and yet they’re all too easily neglected. This is the reality faced by many Salesforce teams. Perhaps you work for a large enterprise and, while there are plenty of policies on backup and restore processes, you’ve rarely seen them tried and tested. Or maybe you’re at a startup where you manually back up Salesforce data on an ad hoc basis.
The received wisdom about backups is ‘prepare for the worst and hope for the best’. That often translates, in practice, to finding a backup tool or process, getting some peace of mind, and then hoping you never need to think about backups again – save for the occasional bit of testing.
The problem with this approach is that your backup tool is unfamiliar when disaster strikes and you need it most. The stress of data loss is compounded by the stress of the recovery process. Downtime is extended and the cost of disruption exacerbated.
A comprehensive solution
At Gearset, we advocate a different approach: make backups an integral part of your Salesforce DevOps tooling and process. Gearset is a comprehensive DevOps solution, handling your metadata and data deployments, automated CI/CD releases, as well as Salesforce backup.
Here are four reasons why we believe combining backups and DevOps is the best approach.
1. Low-effort backups on demand
Frequent automated backups are the mainstay of any backup solution, but it’s also essential to be able to run additional backups on demand. Data loss is sometimes caused by changes made during development, so running an extra backup before a risky release can help teams avoid hours of really costly data loss and downtime.
Ideally, on-demand backups should take so little effort that no one ever skips backing up when needed, just because they’re short on time. With Gearset, kicking off an extra backup before a risky release is just one click away, all within the same app being used for the release.
Just like Gearset’s automated backups, these on-demand backups are full org backups of both metadata and data. So if you discover you’ve lost some data or your configurations have become corrupted, you’ll know you have the very latest data and metadata safely backed up.
2. Secure and compliant backup storage
Backups are usually thought of as a safety net to ensure business continuity in the case of catastrophic data loss. But for many companies, backups are also a requirement for compliance with legislation that governs data handling – including how backup data is stored. Not only must data be held securely, you may also need to abide by a particular retention policy that determines how long backup data can or should be kept. And, in an increasing number of jurisdictions, customers can instruct companies to erase their data.
All serious backup solutions will accommodate these compliance requirements. But it’s easier to ensure security and compliance when working with fewer third-party tools because data is processed and held in fewer places. A solution like Gearset that brings backup and DevOps together also means you only have to conduct one security review.
3. A restore process that works
Backups are ultimately a means to an end: restoring lost data. This is the true measure of a backup solution. If it can’t restore data quickly and accurately then it’s of little value. And you shouldn’t underestimate the complexity of manually restoring data to your Salesforce org. It’s not just a matter of replacing lost data; very often you need to restore metadata first. This requires a powerful tool and a team intimately familiar with that tool – which is exactly what companies using Gearset have.
Gearset has the most powerful deployment engine for Salesforce, and restoring an org is essentially a deployment from a backup to an org. What’s more, teams using Gearset to run deployments will find it easy to restore an org with the same tools and processes they use for their everyday work. It’s no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between teams’ ability to restore quickly and their level of DevOps maturity.
4. Protecting your orgs as a team
Bottlenecks in any process are a problem. But bottlenecks in backup and restore processes will cause unacceptable delay. If only a small proportion of your team have access to your backup tools and know-how to use them, you’re relying on them to be around. In other words, you run the risk of a slower restore process than necessary.
Flexible team management options are built into Gearset across all features. In general, team leaders can both empower their team and have more control at the same time. In the case of backup, for example, the owner of a backup job can assign each member of their team a different combination of the following permissions:
- View the status of the backup job
- Browse backup data
- Execute key functions: run, reschedule, disable and enable
- Edit the backup job’s settings
- Delete records or even the entire backup job and all backup data
Make backups part of your DevOps process
Backups and DevOps combined are greater than the sum of their parts. Bringing backups under the same roof as your DevOps tooling massively enhances your ability to back up and restore your org. And placing backups at the heart of your workflow is one of the most important ways of making your DevOps process more robust and secure.