Salesforce Data Export Service

So you’ve just started working on a new org and you’re responsible for it! Whether this is anything from a new or recent implementation all the way to something mature there’s endless amounts of best practices and feature enablement you should consider to help you sleep at night. In a series of posts, we’re going to cover some of the core features everyone should consider when being responsible for an org.

Data Export

Backup is interestingly one of the most overlooked aspects of Salesforce I’ve encountered. There seems to be a perception that since Salesforce is cloud based that the data is secured several times over. While this is mostly true on the macro level if Salesforce itself had a situation, it’s not true on the micro level in your org. Salesforce had its own SKU “Backup & Restore”, but the last time I investigated this solution I was told it’s not even for sale anymore.

So what we’re left with is Data Export! Surprisingly, it’s a rather rudimentary solution for a company all about automation. 

It’s somewhat of a flawed solution because of three major factors:

  • You can schedule it at most once per week
  • The data backup file is only available for 48 hours after run
  • Baring the ability to create custom scripts, you must manually download the file through the UI

Take a look at the following diagram to understand the problem here.

Let’s say you schedule your job to run on Sunday. That gives you into Tuesday to manually download the file and securely save it. However, this is only a point in time download. So any changes that happen Monday through Saturday are not going to be backed up until the following Sunday. Therefore, in a disaster recovery situation, you’re at risk for data loss in the six days following your data backup. 

There’s not much you can do here out of the box. In orgs I support solo (as in without any dedicated internal Salesforce resources), I set myself a Slack reminder to manually download the backups for appropriate storage. Is it great? No. But it’s better than the alternative. Not every company has prioritized additional budget for backup on top of Salesforce, so maximizing the out of the box solution is what we have to work with. 

I’ve personally been in disaster recovery situations where the data loss was actually historical vs. contemporary due to unexpected flow functionality, so having these data backup files would have actually been sufficient. So while the most recent week data gap is unfortunate, the situation isn’t entirely black and white. Besides, nothing looks better in this industry than being the person with the backups when disaster does arrive!