One of the first things that we do when we onboard a new customer is double check their backup solution. We find that lots of companies have overlooked this, either believing that because their data is “cloud based” it will be automatically looked after, or not realising the consequential cost.


What we know:

Salesforce backs up your data in two ways:

  • Weekly data export, which requires a user to manually download the exported zip file and store it somewhere safe and secure
  • And there’s the recycle bin, but it only holds a relatively small amount of records for a short amount of time

with pricing starting at $20,000 they can also do an emergency restore.


Either way, far it is better to manage backups yourself for the following reasons:

1. Time to restore: Salesforce’s restore option certainly isn’t cheap, nor is it guaranteed to be immediate, and there will be hoops to jump through too.

2. Metadata: traditional backup solutions don’t store meta data such as Apex, Fields and Process Flows (e.g. Salesforce’s Export function, and home-spun SQL-based backups). 

3. Downtime for staff: whilst Salesforce is down, normal transactions can’t be processed (e.g. web sales or transmissions from other systems). This consequently leads to loss of sales and resynchronizing issues with other systems.

4. Backups can be usually (depending on the system chosen!) used to analyze historic data, in ways that can’t always be predicted in advance

5. Audit trail: with backups, you can work your way through change history for all sorts of purposes


So what are the options?

We researched the market and looked at number of long-standing offerings, as well as newer upstarts. Here are our findings:


Looking at the best-in-class options, with solid track records, we have two observations:


OwnBackup: They have a high minimum price which can put off smaller organisations, but when a permissions issue hit Salesforce earlier this year, they had all their clients back up and running within hours and proactively reached out to customers to offer the fix.


Spanning: The ability of users, with appropriate permission, to restore specific records and export backed up data off Salesforce for further analysis has gained passionate advocates within our company. The inability to set a retention period has prevented roll-outs at certain customers, due to GDPR concerns. We’re open-minded as we think that appropriate policies can be set to ensure that this isn’t an issue.


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