Salesforce Data Recovery Service: A Good Backup Option?

In July 2020, Salesforce announced the end of its Data Recovery Service. However, in March 2021, the company reversed its decision and reintroduced the functionality. What was the rationale behind this? What is Salesforce Data Recovery Service? What has changed and what does it mean for you? We’ll find the answers to these questions and more in this blog.

Does Salesforce Back Up Data?

Salesforce keeps a backup copy of your data to support their disaster recovery plan (i.e., in case of failure on their part). This data is made available to you as part of the Salesforce Data Recovery service, although Salesforce explicitly warns against relying on the service in the event of data loss.

Salesforce also provides a few native methods to back up and restore your data at no additional cost. These options include:

  • Data Export Service: With this service, you can perform manual or scheduled exports of your data on a weekly or monthly basis using the Salesforce UI. This method prepares your data for export into a set of CSV files.
  • Data Loader: This application allows you to perform mass data operations, like import, export or delete, in Salesforce. While this gives you greater control over the data you are importing/exporting, the process is manual and can be time-consuming.
  • Report Export: This method is one of the simplest ways to manually export your Salesforce data via the reports interface.
  • Recycle Bin: User-deleted data is stored in the Salesforce recycle bin for 15 days, during which you can retrieve important data that has been accidentally deleted. After 15 days, the data will be permanently deleted.

What Is Salesforce Data Recovery Service?

Salesforce Data Recovery Service, earlier known as Data Restoration, is a paid service offered by Salesforce to help customers recover their lost data. If your Salesforce data is lost or permanently deleted, and you don’t have alternative backup systems in place, then Salesforce Data Recovery is your last resort. You can retrieve any deleted or lost data back to a specific point in time in Salesforce by placing a request within 15 days. However, this process is expensive and time-consuming, due to which Salesforce temporarily discontinued the service in July 2020.

Why Was Salesforce Data Recovery Service Retired in July 2020?

Salesforce retired its Data Recovery Service on July 31, 2020 because the data recovery process did not meet its standards for customer experience due to the length of time and reliability of the process. The process used to take six to eight weeks to recover data and did not guarantee 100% data recovery.

In March 2021, Salesforce announced that the service was discontinued due to several factors — primarily because the number of customers who actively used the service was small and there are several third-party solutions that provide efficient Salesforce data backup and recovery services.

Why Was Salesforce Data Recovery Service Reintroduced in March 2021?

Contrary to the announcement made in July 2020, Salesforce stated that it is bringing back its Data Recovery Service in March 2021. The stimulus behind this move was the Salesforce community who highlighted that “the value of the Data Recovery Service simply lay in its very existence and knowing that it’s there in the event of an emergency.” Salesforce Data Recovery Service can be useful for customers who don’t have an alternative backup strategy.

In the same article released earlier this year, Salesforce also mentioned three updates to its backup and restore services:

  1. The Data Recovery Service is back, and you can continue using the functionality.
  2. The second is an invitation to explore the Salesforce AppExchange, if you are looking for a backup solution that provides more capabilities than the Weekly Data Export and Data Recovery Service.
  3. Salesforce announced that it “will pilot Salesforce backup and restore services built natively on the platform.”

In fact, Salesforce launched Backup and Restore at the Dreamforce event last month. Salesforce Backup and Restore is its new data protection and recovery service.

According to Marla Hay, Salesforce’s VP of Product Management, “Backup and Restore comes with a host of features that balance the priorities of data protection with flexibility and ease of use. For example, customers will be able to automate daily backups of standard objects, custom objects, and files and attachments in Salesforce. Customers will also be able to restore backed-up data into orgs, automatically delete old backups after designated time intervals and perform high-level audits on who is initiating, modifying or running backups. And all data backups will be encrypted at rest and in transit.”

How Does Salesforce Data Recovery Service Work?

Salesforce Data Recovery Service is a last resort process where Support can recover your data at a specific point in time in the event of data loss or corruption. If you don’t back up your data using a third-party backup solution, Salesforce Data Recovery Service is your last option to retrieve your lost/corrupted files. To recover lost data, you must place a support request, which takes approximately six to eight weeks to recover data. The Data Recovery Service sends the recovered data in “.csv” files that must be manually uploaded into Salesforce.

What Are the limitations of Salesforce Data Recovery Service?

Salesforce Data Recovery Service can be a lifesaver for you if you don’t have an alternative backup strategy to protect your valuable data. However, it has certain limitations.

  • Salesforce Data Recovery Service is a paid service and it costs $10,000 per recovery
  • The recovery process is manual and can take up to six to eight weeks to complete after you raise the support request
  • The recovered files don’t include metadata
  • Data deleted more than three months ago is not recoverable unless a third-party backup solution is used
  • The recovered data is sent to you in CSV files, which requires you to manually re-upload (after resolving import errors) into Salesforce
  • There’s no guarantee that 100% of your data will be recovered

Salesforce Data Recovery Service vs. Third-Party Backup

While Salesforce has its own Data Recovery Service, there are numerous third-party backup solutions available to you through the Salesforce AppExchange. The table below shows key differences between Salesforce Data Recovery Service and third-party backups.

Salesforce Data Recovery Service Third-Party Backup Solutions
A “last resort” process Provide regular daily backups, which means your data is protected and available to recover when required.
Costs $10,000 minimum per request Provide cloud-to-cloud daily backup with unlimited storage, which translates into a cost-effective alternative.
The recovery process takes around six to eight weeks Allows you to backup and recover data in just a few clicks.
Doesn’t recover metadata Work in-app to automatically back up data (including metadata) daily and to quickly restore everything in the event of a loss.
Can’t meet RTO/RPO goals Allows you to back up your Salesforce data, metadata, attachments and customizations on a daily basis, which helps minimize the amount of data your company will lose (RPO) as well as the recovery time (RTO).

Why Is Third-Party Backup Recommended by Salesforce?

While Salesforce offers native backup and recovery options, they recommend you use third-party backup solutions. If you’re wondering why, it’s because native options, like weekly export, recycle bin restore, Salesforce Data Recovery Service, etc., are manual, time-consuming and do not guarantee full data recovery.

In a recent article, Salesforce mentions, “the Salesforce AppExchange is home to a rich partner ecosystem that provides robust backup and restore solutions for customers today. These partner solutions go beyond the capabilities included in Weekly Data Export and Data Recovery Service, driving more trust and extending the value of the Salesforce Platform.”

Salesforce also notes that “some of these are more comprehensive since they allow you to automate backups of both your data AND your metadata and provide a mechanism by which to restore that data easily.”

Many businesses that use SaaS applications like Salesforce assume that the vendor backs up and protects their data. But the truth is, most SaaS providers like Salesforce follow a shared responsibility model where the vendor is responsible for application uptime and availability, while the customer, namely you, is operationally and contractually liable for data protection. As such, without an advanced third-party backup, you could risk losing your valuable Salesforce data.

Superior Salesforce Backup With Spanning Backup for Salesforce

Spanning Backup for Salesforce is an enterprise-class, automated backup and recovery solution that protects your Salesforce data, metadata, attachments, customizations and Chatter messages. Designed to work natively within Salesforce, Spanning Backup seamlessly backs up and restores data within the Salesforce interface. Spanning eliminates the need for manual Export Service and provides daily, automated backup and rapid restore for all your critical data, attachments, files and metadata.

Spanning Backup for Salesforce enables you to:

  • Enjoy comprehensive Salesforce data protection with no limits on storage, versions and durations
  • Back up your valuable data using your own encryption keys at no additional cost
  • Restore data and metadata from any point-in-time backup
  • Recover specific fields of a record, or entire records that were updated or deleted
  • Recover metadata into the same org or cross-org for 17 different metadata types, including Objects, Reports, Dashboards, Emails, Layouts, Triggers, Workflows, Classes, Pages and more
  • Quickly seed sandboxes with the option to anonymize specific fields
  • Save IT Admin time by empowering your Salesforce end users with on-page restores

Learn more about Spanning Backup for Salesforce

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