How to backup Salesforce data
Backup as a Service
Backup as a Service

Salesforce Data Backup & Recovery Guide for 2024

November 7, 2023

Salesforce is a global cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry leader.  In fact, many consider it a household name since it controls 23% of the CRM market — beating Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Adobe — combined [*].

At its core, Salesforce provides businesses with a centralized platform to manage all customer interactions, from lead generation to post-sales support. Its cloud-based nature means businesses can access their data anytime, anywhere, ensuring that teams remain connected and informed regardless of location.

But beyond its primary function as a CRM, Salesforce has expanded its offerings to include platforms for marketing automation, analytics, application development, and even artificial intelligence through its Einstein platform [*]. 

Why It's Crucial to Backup Salesforce Data

  • The harsh reality is that SaaS applications are highly susceptible to costly data outages.
  • The Uptime Institute found the average cost of an unplanned data center outage is approximately $100,000 [*].
  • For businesses, this translates to significant revenue loss, especially if the outage lasts for extended periods.
  • Beyond the immediate financial implications, data outages can severely tarnish a company's reputation.
  • Customers entrust businesses with their data, expecting them to safeguard it - yet, a data outage can erode this trust, leading to customer attrition.
  • Moreover, rebuilding a tarnished reputation can be a lengthy and costly process, often more expensive than the immediate financial losses from the outage.

A typical scenario can be referenced early this year when 1,200 flights were grounded due to an outage that was caused by a simple human error [*]. This incident not only resulted in financial losses for the affected companies but also highlighted the vulnerabilities inherent in not having a robust backup strategy.

Who is Responsible for Salesforce Data Loss?

As businesses increasingly rely on platforms like Salesforce to manage their customer relationships and operations, a pressing question arises: 

  • When data is lost or compromised, who bears the responsibility? 
  • Is it the platform that hosts the data or the businesses that use it? 

To answer this, we have to look into the shared responsibility model, a framework that clarifies the roles and responsibilities of both Salesforce and its users regarding data protection. 

The Shared Responsibility Model: Salesforce vs. User

The shared responsibility model is a framework that divides data protection responsibilities between the cloud service provider (in this case, Salesforce) and the user. This model ensures that both parties play their part in ensuring comprehensive data security and integrity. 

Let's break down the responsibilities of Salesforce and its users: 

Salesforce's Responsibilities

  • Infrastructure Security. Salesforce is responsible for securing the underlying infrastructure that supports the platform. This includes physical security measures for data centers, server security, network safeguards, and ensuring the foundational software is free from vulnerabilities.
  • Platform Availability. Salesforce ensures that the platform is consistently available to users. They have measures in place to guarantee uptime, with redundancies to protect against unexpected outages.
  • Platform Maintenance and Updates. Regular updates, patches, and platform maintenance fall under Salesforce's purview. They ensure these updates are rolled out seamlessly without compromising user data. 

User's Responsibilities

  • Data Management. Users are responsible for the data they input and manage on the Salesforce platform. This includes ensuring data accuracy, integrity, and relevance.
  • Data Backup. While Salesforce ensures platform availability, individual data backups are the user's responsibility. Users should regularly back up their Salesforce data manually or using third-party solutions.
  • Data Security. Users must ensure their data is secure from threats like unauthorized access. This includes setting strong passwords, managing user permissions, and using features like two-factor authentication.
  • Third-party Integrations. If users integrate Salesforce with other tools or platforms, they are responsible for ensuring these integrations do not compromise their data. This includes vetting third-party tools for security and ensuring proper integration protocols.
  • Compliance with Regulations. Users operating in regulated industries are responsible for ensuring that their use of Salesforce complies with relevant regulations. This might include specific data storage, management, and protection requirements.  

Related → 14 SaaS Backup Solutions and Providers for Data Protection.

💡Pro Tip → Want Automated, 1-click backup and restore for your business-critical Salesforce data? Check out HYCU 👈

7 Salesforce Backup Steps

Step 1: Assess Your Backup Requirements

Before diving into the backup process, it's essential to clearly understand what needs to be backed up and why. This step ensures that you're not just backing up data for the sake of it but are doing so with a clear purpose and strategy in mind.

Identify All Your Critical Data and Components

  • Data. Start by listing all the essential data you have on Salesforce. This could include customer information, sales data, transaction histories, etc.
  • Custom Objects. Salesforce allows users to create custom objects to store specific information not covered by standard objects. Identify these custom objects and ensure they're part of your backup plan. 
  • Metadata. This refers to the data that provides information about other data. In Salesforce, metadata could be the configurations, settings, and customizations you've made to tailor the platform to your needs. 
  • Dashboards and Layouts. These are the visual representations of your data. Backing them up ensures you don't have to recreate them from scratch in case of data loss. 

Consider Compliance Requirements and Retention Policies

Different industries and regions have specific data storage, protection, and retention regulations. 

For instance, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union has stringent rules about data protection and the rights of data subjects. 

In addition to this, you should determine how long you need to retain backups. Some regulations require businesses to keep backups for a specific period, while others stipulate how backups should be destroyed after they're no longer needed. 

Step 2: Choose A Backup Solution

Selecting the right backup solution is pivotal to ensuring your Salesforce data is securely stored and easily restored when needed. With many options available, evaluating each based on its features, pricing, support options, and compatibility with other SaaS services is essential. 

Although Salesforce offers native backup options that allow users to export their data, this is merely a basic solution that will not restore in the event of data loss. As such, it might not offer the comprehensive features and flexibility that third-party solutions provide.

HYCU: The Preferred Backup Solution

HYCU provides a comprehensive data backup, protection, migration, and DR solution specifically built from the ground up for Salesforce and other SaaS platforms. With built-in Self-Service, Multi-Tenancy and RoleBased Access Control, HYCU Protégé can efficiently enable service providers to host multiple customers in shared and segregated environments.

Automated Backup

  • Full backups of data and metadata. 
  • Policy-driven backups with defined RPO, RTO and retention goals. 
  • On-demand backups in 1-click. 
  • Easily customize backup policies to include or exclude Objects and Object Types.

Quick Restore

  • Granular, point-in-time (PIT) restore at the object level or restore the entire Salesforce instance.
  • Quickly identify and restore specific objects with advanced search and restore capabilities.
  • Instantly restore on-demand – with just one click!

Intuitive Interface

  • Set up automation in minutes with built-in policies.
  • Execute key functionality in just a click, including backups and instant restore.
  • Easily view and manage policies and protection status in a single view.
💡Upcoming Integration. 💡

HYCU plans to add more SFDC modules for the various popular Salesforce Clouds such as Marketing and Community.

While HYCU currently supports Salesforce, it's set to integrate with other SaaS services commonly used by Salesforce teams, such as Marketo, NetSuite, and more. 

This means that in the future, businesses can leverage HYCU as a one-stop platform for backing up multiple SaaS applications, aligning with the concept of “one platform to unify data protection. Data anywhere protected everywhere.” 

Alternative Backup Solutions

  • SaaS Solutions. These solutions give organizations the capability to protect Salesforce data without the heavy lifting of infrastructure requirements. Examples of these solutions are Metallic (Commvault SaaS), OwnBackup (now OwnData), Spanning (owned by Kaseya), CloudAlly, and Veritas Alta.
  • Using Salesforce Tools and Features. Salesforce provides APIs that allow users to access their data programmatically. To use the API for backups, you'd typically write a script or use an application that calls the API to retrieve data from Salesforce and then store it in your desired location. 

💡Pro Tip → If you’re considering exporting large-scale data, the Salesforce Bulk API 2.0 comes in handy.

  • Data loader. Data Loader is a client application provided by Salesforce that allows users to import and export data.
To backup data using Data Loader:
  • Launch Data Loader and log in using your Salesforce credentials.
  • Choose ‘Export’ or ‘Export All’ depending on your needs.
  • Select the object type (e.g., accounts, contacts) you want to back up.
  • Define the criteria for the data you want to export (if necessary).
  • Choose a location on your computer or network to save and execute the backup file. 

Alternatively, for users who prefer working in a command-line environment, Salesforce offers command-line support for Data Loader. This allows for more automation and scripting capabilities, making scheduling and customizing backups easier. 

Step 3: Backup Setup and Execution

Setting up and executing backups for Salesforce data is crucial in ensuring data integrity and availability. Whether you're looking to schedule regular backups or perform them on-demand, understanding the tools and processes is essential. Here's a guide to help you navigate the backup setup and execution:

Scheduled Backups vs. On-Demand Backups: Which Is Better?

  • Scheduled Backups. These backups are automatically performed at predetermined intervals, such as daily, weekly, or monthly. Scheduled backups are ideal for businesses that frequently update their Salesforce data and want to ensure that the most recent data is always backed up without manual intervention.
  • On-Demand Backups. These are backups that are initiated manually by the user whenever needed. On-demand backups are useful in situations where there have been significant changes to the data, and you want to create a backup immediately rather than waiting for the next scheduled backup. 

It is recommended to configure scheduled backups for optimal continuous protection.

Step 4: Data Recovery and Restoration

While backups are essential to an organization, efficiently restoring data from those backups is critical . After all, a backup is only as good as its ability to restore data in a usable state. 

Why Do You Need A Reliable Recovery Solution?

  • Business Continuity. A swift and efficient recovery solution ensures minimal downtime in the event of data loss, allowing businesses to resume operations quickly. This is especially crucial for businesses where even a short period of downtime can result in significant revenue loss.
  • Data Integrity. A reliable recovery solution ensures that the restored data maintains its integrity, meaning it's consistent, accurate, and trustworthy. This is vital for decision-making processes that rely on accurate data.
  • Regulatory Compliance. For businesses in regulated industries, the ability to recover data promptly and accurately might be a legal requirement. A reliable recovery solution ensures compliance with such regulations.
  • Customer Trust. Data loss can erode customer trust, especially if it affects customer data or disrupts services. Efficient recovery can mitigate this impact and uphold a business's reputation.

How to Restore Data from Backups

Use Point-in-Time Recovery

Point-in-time recovery allows you to restore data from a specific moment in time. This is especially useful in scenarios where data corruption or unwanted changes have occurred, and you want to revert to a state before those changes.

The process typically goes like this:

  • Access your backup solution or tool.
  • Select the specific backup (date and time) you wish to restore from.
  • Initiate the recovery process. The system will then revert to the data state from that particular point in time. 

Step 5: Ensuring Metadata Backup

Metadata encompasses the configurations, customizations, and definitions dictating how data is structured and the platform behaves. Ensuring the backup of metadata, alongside the actual data, is vital for a holistic data protection strategy. Here’s why: 

  • Platform Customization. Salesforce's strength lies in its adaptability, allowing businesses to customize the platform to suit their needs. Metadata holds the blueprint for these customizations. Without a metadata backup, businesses risk losing all the tailored features and structures they've built over time.
  • Operational Continuity. Metadata defines the relationships between data elements, validation rules, workflows, etc. A loss of metadata can disrupt regular operations, as the platform might not function as intended without the correct configurations in place. 
  • Efficiency in Restoration. When restoring data after a loss, having the corresponding metadata ensures that the data fits back into the system seamlessly. The restored data might lack context without metadata, leading to inconsistencies and operational challenges. 

Step 6: Ensuring Data Security

Salesforce, among other platforms, often becomes a repository for sensitive business and customer information. Ensuring the security of this data, even in backup form, is paramount. 

A breach or unauthorized access to these backups can lead to significant data theft, which can have dire financial and reputational consequences. Moreover, many industries operate under stringent regulations that necessitate rigorous data protection measures for backups. 

Adhering to these measures ensures compliance and reinforces customer trust, as they can be assured that their data is handled with the utmost care. 

Furthermore, secure backups guarantee that in the unfortunate event of data loss or corruption, businesses can revert to a backup that is both secure and uncompromised, ensuring uninterrupted business operations. 

How to Ensure Data Protection During Backup and Storage

  • System-wide Encryption. Encryption converts data into a code to prevent unauthorized access. Ensure that data is encrypted both during the backup process (in transit) and when stored (at rest). 
  • Access Controls. Limit access to backup data by implementing strict access controls. Only authorized personnel should be able to access, modify, or restore backups. This can be achieved through multi-factor authentication, role-based access controls, and regular audits of access logs. 
  • Regular Security Audits. Periodically audit your backup solutions to identify potential vulnerabilities. This involves checking for outdated software, ensuring encryption is applied correctly, and verifying that access controls function as intended.
  • Use Trusted Backup Solutions. Whether you're using Salesforce's native backup tools or third-party solutions, ensure they adhere to industry-standard security protocols. Trusted solutions often come with built-in security features that provide an added layer of protection. 

For example HYCU offers a single, intuitive UI that integrates data protection across your organization’s data estate. This way, all business-critical Salesforce data will be available and recoverable when you need it.

  • Offsite Storage. Storing backups offsite, whether in a secure physical location or a trusted cloud environment, adds an extra layer of protection against threats like natural disasters, fires, or onsite breaches. 

The 3-2-1 approach. 

  • 3 Total Copies of Data. This includes the primary data and two backup copies.
  • 2 of the Copies Are Local But on Different Mediums. This could mean having one copy on the primary cloud data center and a second copy in , a cloud object storage or in cold archive storage. 
  • 1 Copy Is Offsite. This ensures that in the event of a disaster, such as acloud outage, or a ransomware attack, there's a copy of the data that remains unaffected. Offsite storage can be in a different cloud data center, a different cloud region, or even different public cloud.

Step 7: Testing and Validation

Regular testing can help identify gaps or issues in the backup process, allowing businesses to rectify them proactively. This could include issues like incomplete backups, slow recovery times, or data corruption. 

How to Validate Backup Data and Ensure Its Integrity

  • Run a Checksum Verification. A “checksum” is a data’s unique identifier at a specific state — and its primary purpose is to detect any changes, intentional or accidental, in data. By comparing the checksum values of two data sets, you can determine if they are identical or if any alterations have occurred. 
  • Use Data Sampling. Choose a random subset of data from your backup and compare it with the corresponding data in a live Salesforce environment. Check for discrepancies in data values, structures, relationships, and other attributes. 
  • Implement Log Monitoring. Monitor backup logs for any errors or warnings during the backup process. Issues like failed backup tasks, skipped files, or storage errors can be early indicators of problems in the backup data. 
  • Practice Test Restorations. Conduct test restorations in a controlled environment. This verifies the backup's integrity and ensures that the data, once restored, aligns with the original in terms of structure, relationships, and functionality.
  • Utilize Version Control. Ensure that the backup solution maintains versions of the data. This allows businesses to revert to specific points in time, ensuring data integrity, especially in scenarios where the most recent backup might be compromised. 

Tips for Protection of Your Salesforce Data

Disaster Recovery Planning

Losing Salesforce data can have damaging effects. The platform houses sales strategies, customer interaction histories, marketing campaigns, and more. A disruption to Salesforce can, therefore, ripple across the business, hampering sales and customer service.

While many businesses have disaster recovery plans for their IT infrastructure, it's crucial to ensure that Salesforce data backup is integral to this plan. This provides a holistic recovery approach, where the infrastructure and critical business data are restored post-disaster. 

However, businesses must assess their Salesforce environment before diving into disaster recovery. 

  • What data is critical? 
  • How frequently is it updated? What are the potential threats? 

This assessment forms the foundation of the disaster recovery plan.

Here’s a disaster recovery plan to follow: 

Set Recovery Objectives

Two key metrics guide disaster recovery: Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). 

  • RTO defines how quickly you need to restore operations to avoid unacceptable losses. 
  • RPO determines how much data you can afford to lose. Given its critical role, both of these metrics are often stringent for Salesforce.

Test Regularly

  • A disaster recovery plan is only as good as its latest test. Regular testing ensures the plan works, identifies potential gaps, and all stakeholders know their roles during recovery.

Stay Updated

  • Salesforce is a dynamic platform, with businesses frequently adding new data, apps, or customizations. The disaster recovery plan must evolve in tandem, ensuring it remains relevant and practical.

Employee Training

  • In the event of a disaster, employees play a crucial role in recovery. Training ensures they know the protocols, understand the importance of the data they handle, and can contribute effectively to recovery.

Storing Your Salesforce Data: Significance of Off-site Backups 

Backups stored on-site, in the same location as the primary data, are vulnerable and unreliable. Cyber threats such as malware or ransomware, and cloud outages can affect both the primary data and the backups. 

Additionally, they can be targets of internal malicious activities, including data theft,  sabotage, or intentional deletion.

Refer to the above 3-2-1 approach for best practices.

Advantages of Off-site Backups

  • Geographical Redundancy. Storing backups in a cloud region or zone different from the primary data ensures that a separate, distant backup remains unaffected even if a localized disaster strikes.
  • Enhanced Data Security. Off-site backup facilities often have stringent security measures, including physical security, encryption, and access controls, ensuring the backup data's safety. 
  • Operation Continuity. In the event of a disaster at the primary location, modern off-site backup solutions allow for rapid data access and restoration, ensuring swift recovery post-disaster. 

Backup Salesforce and Restore Data with HYCU

Throughout this guide, we've underscored the significance of data backup. A robust backup strategy is the cornerstone of maintaining business stability, from safeguarding against unexpected data losses to ensuring business continuity in the face of disasters. 

But it's not just about having a backup; it's about having a backup that's reliable, accessible, and can be rapidly recoverable when you need it the most. 

Why HYCU Stands Out

HYCU offers automated, 1-click backup and restore solutions for business-critical Salesforce data. The platform is designed to rapidly recover from data loss and ensure business continuity by providing secure and reliable backup and granular point-in-time restore options for Salesforce. 

  • Efficient Onboarding. HYCU ensures that users can get started without any hitches. The platform offers a quick setup, allowing users to sign up and complete the setup in just a few minutes. No self-managed infrastructure is needed - No agents, proxies, plugins, or hardware appliances.
  • Simplicity at its Best. One of the standout features of HYCU is its 1-click simplicity. Whether you're looking to backup or restore data, the process is straightforward, eliminating the complexities often associated with data backup and restoration.
  • Automation for efficiency. With HYCU, users can set their backup schedules and forget about them. The platform offers automated backups, ensuring data is regularly backed up without manual intervention.
  • Comprehensive Backups. HYCU doesn't just backup data; it ensures that both data and metadata are backed up. This ensures that there's no loss of context or relationships between data points in the event of a restoration.
  • Tailored Backup Strategies. Every business has unique needs when it comes to data backup. HYCU offers policy-driven backups, allowing businesses to define their RPOs, RTOs, and data retention goals. 
  • Instant Access to Backups. When immediate data restoration is required, HYCU offers on-demand backups with just a single click, ensuring minimal downtime.
  • Precision in Restoration. There might be instances where businesses need to restore specific data points. HYCU's granular point-in-time restore options, coupled with advanced search capabilities, ensure that businesses can pinpoint and restore the exact data they need.
  • Streamlined Management. Managing backup and restoration processes can be daunting. HYCU simplifies this with an intuitive UI and customizable automation policies, ensuring businesses have complete control over their data backup and restoration strategies. 
  • One Platform to Unify Data Protection for an Entire Data Estate. Combine protection of Salesforce with protection of an entire hybrid-cloud (inc SaaS). Protect on-premises workloads, public cloud and various other SaaS apps with a single platform. 
Join 3600+ customers worldwide who use HYCU to protect their business-critical Salesforce data. 
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