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How to Avoid Data Loss (Backup & Recovery)

Everything we do today revolves around data and the prevention of data loss. Our personal data is more valuable than money. Take a look at behemoths like Facebook. Why do you think they bought Instagram and WhatsApp? These apps didn’t disrupt the social media industry, but they stored thousands of users’ personal data, which Facebook saw as a valuable asset. The same story goes for Microsoft. They didn’t buy LinkedIn for its amazing technology, but for its invaluable amounts of data about businesses.  This is the age of information – when data is far more valuable than gold! 

Salesforce is a data-driven platform. You utilise the records contained within the platform in order to understand your customers, enabling you to set up a great experience for them. This is what makes the platform so fundamental for businesses.

Now, let’s talk more about data loss and your line of defence against it.

 Why is data so important? 

Data drives growth, enabling companies to differentiate and increase their value on the market.

Importance of data - prevent Salesforce Data loss

The same applies to Salesforce. When using this platform, you are providing lots of data about your company, clients, and employees. You may assume that your data is protected simply because it’s in the Cloud – no longer your responsibility. With Trust as its number 1 value, the platform provides stringent security controls, but YOU are responsible for errors and data corruption. Even with Salesforce, data loss isn’t uncommon.

As of 31st July, 2020, Salesforce has retired its Data Recovery Service. This means that Salesforce customers no longer have a last resort in the event of data loss or corruption. Salesforce made this change because they believe “Customer Trust is our number one priority. The data recovery process does not meet our high standards for customer experience, due to the length of time and reliability of the process. This process takes a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks to complete, and we cannot guarantee 100% data recovery. Due to these issues, we are no longer offering this service as of 31st July, 2020.”

For you, the retirement of the Data Recovery Service is an opportunity to revisit your data protection strategy. Most companies are unaware of the factors that can lead to data loss. According to an article published by Ownbackup.com, “88% of companies are lacking a comprehensive backup and recovery solution, which may be especially risky with so many companies increasing their remote workforce. Furthermore, 69% say their company may be at significant risk of user-inflicted data loss – most commonly caused by human error.”

Relying on data management tools is a great advantage for your company as, according to some statistics from a Forrester survey, published on CIO Dive, “businesses that rely on data management tools to make decisions are 58% more likely to beat their revenue goals than non-data driven companies… in addition, businesses that are effectively managing their data are 162% more likely to have significantly surpassed their revenue goals, compared to their competitors.

After reading this analysis, we can all agree on one thing: protecting your valuable data empowers your company.

 Salesforce’s Data Recovery Service (now defunct)

Formerly called Data Restoration, the Data Recovery Service was offered by Salesforce as a possibility to retrieve lost data. There are three stages any deleted data will go through within Salesforce:

  1. Data is kept in the recycle bin for 15 days.
  2. After the deadline, you can retrieve deleted data with Data Loader or other API clients.
  3. The last stage – data is purged from the organisation indefinitely.

Salesforce customers could open a support case to use this service, charging an eye-watering $10,000 per recovery, for each organisation. The process took 6 to 8 weeks and the Data Recovery service would send numerous .csv files. Then it’s over to you: load them in and spend days resolving import errors. Data loss could put your whole business on hold for weeks. Moreover, a rescue operation could not always deliver a reliable result. Consequently, Salesforce decided to deprecate the service.*

* Source: Cloudally.com

 Is Salesforce Data Vulnerable to Data Loss?

According to a blog post published by Cloudally.com, one in three companies face preventable SaaS data loss. Problems that may occur – aside from human error – are malware, bulk imports, or failed synchronization. Odaseva.com also has a interesting point of view regarding data loss. According to a blog post they consider: “The most common data protection mishap is caused by an accidental overwrite or deletion.”

There are some in-house protection measures you can take to avoid these issues, but they don’t guarantee data security 100%. Especially when we are talking about data stored in the Cloud. Any of the situations listed above may occur – the most common being human error..

So, the answer is ‘yes’, Salesforce can be vulnerable to data loss, but it doesn’t mean this is something that happens on a daily basis. Salesforce remains the number 1 CRM in the world, for good reason. And like anything created by a human, it’s subject to its flaws.

The Cure for Common Data Loss – According to Salesforce

Salesforce recommends 4 practices to avoid data loss:

  1.     Create a Risk-Aware Culture 

This is especially important if your employees are using their own devices. With increased remote working, IT has less control because users work on their own devices. Keeping people aware prevents huge risks for data protection. 

 “All employees need to be trained on the importance of identifying data security issues, such as clicking a dubious attachment, keeping mobile devices updated with the latest security patches, or plugging in an outside USB stick”, according to Salesforce

  1.     Safeguards and Passwords

Restricting the use of personal devices can work in theory, but in practice, presents the challenge of cost. Imagine the costs involved in providing each employee with effective devices and a healthy, safe workspace – sums of money that would otherwise be used to fund another part of your business. 

One solution for protecting data would be to implement a policy for password hygiene. This enforces the requirement for passwords to be strong and unique, and strengthened with two-factor authentication. Employees using weak passwords have been proven to be one of the greatest security challenges for companies. And risk is easily preventable through Single-Sign On, and using password vaults too. 

  1.     Secure Access Through System Administrators

Change how you work with your System Administrator. Help them to help you. In addition to taking care of Salesforce, System Administrators act as  wardens, safeguarding access to important, sensitive data. They are the ‘moat’ and the impregnable ‘castle walls’ defending your data. One of the most important advantages of cloud-based information systems is the ability to manage permissions and access with little need for technical skilll.

  1.     Make Your Cloud a ‘Fortress’

Salesforce, as a cloud service provider, delivers world-class security. Without it, they would soon see a decrease in the platform’s usage, which would be a difficulty for the platform, in acquiring future customers. Data security is  assured by secure practices, secure servers, and secure physical locations. 

These practices should help you immensely in keeping your records secured, but our team recommends you to take a few more steps to avoid data loss. Even if the practices above are effective in decreasing the statistical probability of data loss, they won’t remove the issue entirely.

The Cure for the Common Data Loss – Backup and Recovery

Before diving into a couple of great solutions for preventing data loss, some questions should be asked:

  • Do you have any backup and recovery data loss software solutions in place?
  • Where does Salesforce fit in your company’s Disaster Recovery procedure?
  • Does your company have a plan to restore and resynchronise applications in the event of data loss?
  •  Is your backup solution secure?
  • Can you count on your data backup and recovery solution when you need it most?
  • Can you recover your data from every point in time?

 Salesforce themselves recommended a third-party Cloud data protection solution when they retired their Data Recovery service on 31st July, 2020.

 If you need any further assistance, here are the solutions we recommend:

Cloudally.com

CloudAlly, being one of the leading backup and recovery solutions, has some particularly important features as remedies for data loss. It is a comprehensive and secure Salesforce backup and an ‘anytime/anywhere’ recovery. Apart from automated backup, flexible recovery, unlimited point-in-time, and granular recovery, backup alerts, and transparent reporting, Cloudally’s Salesforce Backup comes with metadata comparison and Salesforce seeding. You can learn more about the features here

CloudAlly - Salesforce Backup & Recovery Solution

OwnBackup.com

OwnBackup is also one of the leading Cloud-to-Cloud backup and recovery solutions, providing secure, automated, daily backups of SaaS and PaaS data, as well as data compare and restore tools, for disaster recovery. In contrast with their funny superhero-villains approach from their landing page, they have a serious solution for a serious issue. OwnBackup covers data loss and corruption, caused by human error, malicious intent, integration errors, and rogue applications. You can learn more about the features here. 

OwnBackup - Salesforce Backup & Recovery Solution

Odaseva.com

The last but not least of the leading solutions – Odaseva was born with the idea to provide enterprises running business critical applications in the cloud with a powerful, reliable, and complete data governance solution to complement their cloud applications providers, and remain in control of their data. Odaseva provides pre-built data governance apps running on its Cloud Data Governance Platform to handle a broad range of data governance use cases in an automated, secure, and customizable way. You can learn more about the features here. 

Odaseva - Salesforce Backup & Recovery Solution

Conclusions

We’ve barely scratched the surface about data backup and recovery. You can learn more by watching our latest webinar,  “Salesforce Backup and Recovery”, featuring Gemma Blezard – The Architech Club CEO, Adam Best – Senior Architect at Salesforce and Vasanth Ayothiraman – Certified Application & System Architect at Salesforce, together with special guests – experts in Salesforce Backup and Recovery, from OwnBackup and CloudAlly.

If you want to protect your data from loss, we’d like to recommend seeking the guidance of an Experienced Architect. Find out more about why you need an Architect here

Book with us a Discovery session to tap into our team of Architects’ expertise in Salesforce Data Security.

About the author

Gemma Blezard

CEO and Salesforce MVP

Gemma is founder and CEO of The Architech Club and a great inspiration to anyone dealing with life’s challenges. Gemma is also co-founder of Ladies Be Architects and an Award-winning advocate for diversity.
She is in demand as a conference speaker at Dreamforce, World Tour and Community events. She is open about being a Breast cancer survivor, and somehow balances being a mother, Salesforce MVP, 18 x Salesforce Certified (so far) and now an entrepreneur.

The Architech Club Ltd is a limited company registered in the UK, under Companies House registration number 12248208.
Registered at 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AX. VAT number GB 334188303.

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