5 Things Architects Overlook When Choosing a Data Backup Solution
Most Salesforce customers need a data backup solution for one or more of a variety of reasons, including mandatory regulatory requirements, operations readiness requirements, and business continuity planning just to name a few. While exploring data backup options, architects typically evaluate a set of well-known selection considerations that include:
- Data residency
- Data encryption
- Data restoration turnaround time
- Ease of use
- Support plan of the solution provider
- Availability (24*7)
- Product features
While the list above contains important considerations, there are five others that enterprise architects often overlook when selecting and evaluating data backup solutions for Salesforce. I refer to these as golden considerations. The principal reason these items are overlooked is that they are Salesforce application design-level considerations that may not immediately come to mind when thinking about backup and restore. However, if you take these considerations into account at an early stage, you’ll be better prepared for a successful implementation of a data backup and restore solution.
Consideration 1: Is your backup solution able to work within Salesforce constraints?
Salesforce has a number of out-of-the-box restrictions that can limit a record from being edited. These restrictions are often in place for business purposes, but can become a limitation when you’re trying to restore a record from a backup. For example, an order record can’t be edited once it is activated, which means activated orders can’t be restored directly to the database in the event of a data loss.
While there is no silver bullet to solve this, there are workarounds that you can use. In this case, for example, you could restore the orders in an unactivated state, and then run a separate script to activate them.
Consideration 2: If you have managed packages installed on your organization, is your data backup solution able to backup and restore the managed package data?
While evaluating data backup options, be sure to check if the solution you select can restore managed package data. Many managed packages heavily rely on Salesforce IDs, which they use in JSON or text fields. Whenever a record is restored, that unique Salesforce ID changes and will therefore need to be replaced anywhere it was referenced. This capability can be quite complex and is available only in a few data backup solutions.
Consideration 3: If you use Salesforce Knowledge, can your data backup solution restore your Knowledge articles?
In many cases, architects will focus on core sales and service objects when evaluating backup solutions, but objects that are not as central require close attention as well. Be sure to check if Knowledge articles can be restored by the solutions you’re considering if you use Salesforce Knowledge.
Consideration 4: Are you using Salesforce IDs as unique identifiers in integrated applications?
As with Consideration 3, it’s important to expand your focus beyond Salesforce itself to include applications that are integrated with Salesforce. While evaluating a potential data backup solution, see if it is able to connect to other applications that are integrated with Salesforce and can replace the unique identifier in those applications. This is important if you are using Salesforce IDs as unique identifiers in third-party applications. As a best practice, however, it is a good idea to use an external ID instead of the Salesforce record ID for integrations, since this ID will change if a record is deleted and restored.
Consideration 5: If you use Flows, validation rules, Process Builder processes, or triggers, do you have a framework for switching them on and off?
While this question is not directly applicable in evaluating backup solutions, it is essential to understand if you have a framework to switch off your automations, including Flows, validation rules, Process Builder processes, and triggers. Such a framework is vital because when data is being restored, because all your automations will fire if they are not switched off. This can prevent records from being restored or even worse, impact data integrity.
When it’s your job to evaluate backup and restore solutions, be sure to take into account the well-known considerations as well as the often overlooked golden considerations covered here. This will will help you avoid potential roadblocks during your implementation phase, and ultimately help you choose the right solution for your organization. And, if you’re looking for backup solutions, AppExchange is a good place to start.