tips for Backing Up Salesforce Data

What would happen if a schedule-triggered Flow ran amok on your Salesforce data without it being noticed for weeks? Or if a well-meaning intern accidentally wreaks havoc while doing data deduplication? Would you be protected?

It’s essential to take responsibility for backing up your data. One of the most straightforward ways is to create a scheduled export of your Salesforce data.

Here are some tips on data exports to make sure you protect your data:

1. Don’t forget to download the exports so that you actually have a backup. The Salesforce export process only creates a zip file that is stored for 48 hours in Salesforce. Salesforce sends an email when the export is available. The person receiving the email needs to make sure to download the zip file each week. I have been guilty of not doing this so I recognize how easy it is to say “I’ll do it later.”

2. Place the export file in a secure location. Your Salesforce system presumably has sensitive data that you have spent time setting up profiles and permissions for. You don’t want to copy the backup zip file (a set of unsecured spreadsheets containing the Salesforce data) to your laptop or a file server location that the entire staff can access. We recommend consulting your IT staff or an IT consultant to determine a secure location to store your backups.

3. Plan for how many export files you keep at one time. If you have a Flow or trigger creating bad data, it may be several weeks or longer before you notice the issue. If you only save the most recent export file, you will be out of luck when you try to restore the data. How many backups should you save? It depends upon your database usage and the impact of a loss. One option would be to save weekly backups for the previous month and an end-of-month backup for the previous twelve months. Consult with your IT staff or IT consultant to determine how many backups to save.

4. Review your scheduled export whenever you add objects or applications from the AppExchange. While you might expect that checking “include all data” would always export all objects, new objects added after scheduling an export are not automatically included. To have these exported, you need to go back into your scheduled export and choose “all objects” again or check those newly added objects.

5. Understand the limits of a scheduled export. While having an export file may save your organization from a devastating loss of data, there is no “restore” button to put your backup data into your Salesforce instance automatically. Even if you catch the problem right away, you’ll have to restore data object by object using a data import tool, being careful not to overwrite other changes made since the backup.

6. Turn on Field History Tracking for key fields on important objects you use. This is a great way to see the history of changes on a field. Learn more about setting up field history tracking.

7. Consider investing in a paid backup service. If you don’t have secure storage space available or don’t want to do manual backups each week, check out the Salesforce AppExchange for multiple backup services that are automatic and offer easy restore options. Paul Ginsberg’s post gives a rundown of backup and restore options as of April 2023.