Backup and Recovery

How to Recover Lost or Corrupted ServiceNow Data with Ease

Gene Eun
Product Marketing Director
January 4, 2023

Recently on the blog, we wrote about ServiceNow’s native backup capabilities, their limitations, and why it makes sense to extend these capabilities with a more modern, comprehensive backup solution. While these limitations are noteworthy, ServiceNow also falls short with its native recovery capabilities. After all, even the most comprehensive backup is meaningless if you can’t easily recover your data.

Similar to its backup methods, ServiceNow’s native recovery tools could prevent you from addressing key requirements of a backup and recovery strategy. In this post, we’ll examine ServiceNow’s native recovery capabilities and the challenges they can pose to business continuity.

ServiceNow's data recovery limitations

NOTE: This post examines ServiceNow's recovery capabilities specifically. To read more about ServiceNow’s backup capabilities, click here.

Limited granular restore up to seven days

As discussed in the previous post, ServiceNow’s native backup retains four weekly full backups for up to 28 days and seven daily incremental backups. As a result, recovering specific data is only possible for up to seven days and requires additional steps that can delay the entire recovery process. If the data loss or corruption occurred more than seven days in the past, only a full instance recovery is possible. Rolling back an entire instance overwrites even valid updates since the backup (being restored from) was taken which in many cases would result in even more collateral damage than the original data incident. 

For these reasons, ServiceNow recommends avoiding restoring a production instance from a backup and only doing it as a last resort. Whether recovering data using an incremental or full backup, you must first submit a case through the Now Support (HI) portal to have ServiceNow Support investigate and recover the data for you which can take up to several weeks and result in even further data loss.

No proactive notification of data loss

If there is a data loss or corruption within your ServiceNow instance, it’s on you to identify it. The problem is that data loss - especially when it’s specific tables, columns, or records that were impacted - isn’t always detectable. And even if you do detect something is amiss, you still need to open a case with ServiceNow Support to attempt to recover the affected data.

A more comprehensive solution: OwnBackup Recover for ServiceNow

Despite ServiceNow’s Advanced High Availability (AHA) architecture, they do acknowledge that, in certain scenarios, it may be desirable to use more traditional data backup and recovery mechanisms:

"ServiceNow’s Advanced High Availability (AHA) architecture is the primary means to restore service in the case of a disruption that could impact availability. However, in certain scenarios, it may be desirable to use more traditional data backup and recovery mechanisms. Such circumstances could be, for example, where a customer deletes some data inadvertently, or where a customer’s data integration or automation is misconfigured or malfunctions, resulting in data being rendered unusable or inaccessible. In these scenarios, the high availability capability would not assist and restoring from backup is the only option for recovery."

As an alternative approach, OwnBackup Recover for ServiceNow improves data resilience and compliance by equipping organizations with better control over backup timing and retention, proactive notification of data loss or corruption, and the ability to quickly restore data - from entire instances down to individual records - in a self-service fashion.

Below are several advantages of OwnBackup’s solution, specifically related to our recovery capabilities. To read more about our backup capabilities, click here.

Ensure the accuracy of platform data

Analyze historical patterns of changes to your most critical data and pinpoint when an otherwise undetected data loss or corruption may have occurred. Get notified about unusual levels of data changes and deletions through proactive monitoring of specific items.

Restore only what’s needed, quickly

Quickly zero in on changes to tables, columns and records using visual tools. Easily identify which changes are valid and which are unwanted. Accelerate data recovery by choosing specific records and specific fields, visually inspecting them and then restoring the data from any backup in a self-service fashion.

To learn more about Recover for ServiceNow, check out our website or download our ebook, "The Complete Guide to Backup and Recovery for ServiceNow".

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