Who Is Responsible for Salesforce Data Loss, and When?

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Salesforce has proven itself as a reliable CRM platform, yet there are situations where something could go wrong with your data or metadata.

What are the common causes of Salesforce data loss? What data loss is Salesforce responsible for, and when is it your responsibility? How do you ensure that your org can be restored to its original state? In this article I will answer these questions, and more.

“Prodly”

What Data Loss is Salesforce Responsible For?

Somewhere on the internet, there is a server that hosts your Salesforce Org. You can expect Salesforce to do everything to guarantee that server’s safety and availability – and they really do, so you don’t have to worry too much about that.

What if Salesforce experiences an outage? If Salesforce makes a mistake that affects your Org, then they are responsible to fix it. The last major outage was in May 2019, which many of you will remember. Salesforce did solve it, but with a backup tool, you would have been operational again faster.

Worst case scenario: Salesforce goes down completely. You will no longer be able to access your data, which in that case, you would be grateful to have a copy of the database to populate a new CRM!

What Data Loss is Salesforce Not Responsible For?

The vast majority of problems in Salesforce are your own mistakes – yes, as much as 70% of all data loss is the result of a human error!

A user accidentally deletes an Account, you overwrite the wrong fields during an import, or an update turns out completely wrong. In those cases you have a number of options to repair the damage:

  • Recycle bin: deleted records are stored in the recycle bin for 15 days. They are easy to replace from there.
  • Data export: it is possible to export all data from Salesforce weekly or monthly and store it in a safe place. If something goes completely wrong, you can use these files for a restore. Keep in mind that it can be quite complex to determine which data you will restore and how. Moreover, in these files you only have data and no metadata. For example, metadata is a process, object permissions, or settings in Salesforce.
  • Sandbox: a Sandbox is a (partial) copy of the production environment. If you have something messed up, a current Sandbox is very useful to find out the correct settings. A Sandbox is particularly useful when it comes to restoring metadata.
  • Data Recovery Service: forget about this one, it will be retired in July 2020. As a last resort, you could have contacted Salesforce to restore your Org, a service that cost at least $10,000.

Good Habits to Mitigate Data Loss

You can mitigate the need to resort to a backup with some good habits:

  • Only grant users rights to what is necessary for their job. You can minimize the risk of ‘accidental deletion’ by granting the proper access rights.
  • Always make changes to the production environment from a Sandbox where these changes have been tested and approved.
  • Regularly do a data export and a refresh of a developer Sandbox. It is for free and you never know when it will come in handy.

Finding a Salesforce Backup Solution

In light of Salesforce’s Data Recovery Service being retired in July 2020, you should consider purchasing a third-party backup solution for Salesforce.

The major advantage is that you can quickly restore an org to its original state, both in terms of data and metadata. That is quite different from DIY-ing with (outdated) data exports and Sandboxes, a very time-consuming approach, and the end result can be disappointing. Other advantages are that the backup is always up to date and is stored outside of Salesforce.

Whether you need an extra backup solution? There is no clear answer to that. Of course I’d like you to have the best backup tool, but it comes with quite a price tag. My advice is to sit down and evaluate your risks, whether you find them acceptable and whether an investment in a backup solution is justified to minimize any future damage.

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