Backup and Recovery

Top 4 Causes of Salesforce Data Loss That Could Impact Your Business Continuity

Mike Melone
Content Marketing Manager
April 23, 2020

As organizations across the globe are faced with unprecedented challenges, many are implementing their business continuity plan to minimize the impact on operations. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the most crucial components of those plans is data protection and recovery. For most companies, including those who store critical data in Salesforce, data loss or compromise would significantly affect their ability to do business and could impact the entire company.

Now, despite the situation we are experiencing right now, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of Salesforce data loss and data corruption issues aren’t tied to major disasters. Simple mistakes happen each and every day. The important thing is to anticipate these accidents and have a plan in place to recover.

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What Are the Top Four Causes of Data Loss in Salesforce?

Based on insights collected from 2,000 Salesforce customers at Dreamforce 2019, the 2020 State of Salesforce Data Protection survey results reveals the top four causes of data loss in Salesforce.

1. Almost half (49%) of all Salesforce data loss and corruption incidents were caused by human error. Accidents can happen to anyone. More often than not, data lost or corrupted by human error is caused by having too many people with administrator permissions, which can lead to data loss or corruption that may go unnoticed for days or weeks. 

One OwnBackup customer’s long-time system integrator (SI) recently hired a new Salesforce admin to work within their org. This SI had been highly reliable for years, but even the best of us can have a bad day. The SI’s new admin accidentally overwrote the Static Resource on seven records within the customer’s production org. Luckily, they had OwnBackup Smart Alerts set up, which notified them of the data modification. They were able to easily recover just the incorrectly modified records.

2. Integration errors make up 8% of all data loss and corruption, and can occur when companies enrich their Salesforce platform by integrating internal systems and applications, such as a marketing automation tool. The default configurations or changes made to configurations can result in unexpected behavior that could cause a data loss or corruption to occur. 

One admin learned this lesson when integrating a security software tool with Salesforce. The tool, which was meant to streamline user management with single sign on functionality, ended up changing all of the company’s Salesforce usernames upon integration. After being bombarded with panicked messages by his users, the admin used OwnBackup to quickly identify the integration issue, compare the incorrect usernames with the ones from the previous days’ backup, and restore the correct usernames in one click.

3. Migration errors cause 7% of all data loss and corruption. Although migrations are ideal for moving large volumes of data, consolidating data, and complex transformations, such as transitioning to Lightning, these migrations always pose a risk of incorrect data overwriting. 

This is how a financial services provider almost lost critical attachments during their Salesforce Lightning migration. Even though their Salesforce admin had a careful process for converting their documents to files in batches, one batch containing about 90k attachments was missed due to an error in the tool. Once OwnBackup Smart Alerts identified the data anomaly, the admin was notified and was able to convert the remaining attachments.

4. Bad code is responsible for 7% of all data loss and corruption. Developers and administrators working on applications, workflows, and system updates can impact data across many different objects in a company’s Salesforce environment. Poorly tested code and a lack of relevant test data can cause serious corruption to data and metadata when the code is released into production.

For example, if a trigger is built using bad code to update a field value, it could have long lasting consequences. Let’s say you are a finance company and need to calculate the interest rate of a loan on object x and the trigger pulls in data via an API and the field is mapped to the incorrect source. Not only is your interest rate messed up, but so are all of the other calculated fields which are formula fields based off of the interest rate field. This could impact a customer’s payment statement, mortgage documents, and much more. 

In this example, OwnBackup would be able to provide the finance company with alerts to any MetaData changes caused by the bad code, and help the customer avoid any of the cascading issues to their data.

The Impact of a Data Loss Within an Organization

If your organization were to suffer a data loss, it could impact the entire company with increased labor costs, data recovery fees, lost reputation, revenue impact, compliance fines, and loss in productivity. Additionally, the risk and costs of accidental data loss can multiply the longer your Salesforce data is inaccessible. The time it takes you to recover your data is influenced by backup frequency, backup retention, and your ability to restore just the data that has been impacted. 

This is the main reason why it’s critical to have a comprehensive backup and recovery solution in place for your Salesforce data. A small number of deletes can usually be recovered using the Recycle bin if they’re discovered quickly, but it’s not the best solution when there is a large group of records involved. This happens more often than you’d think in Salesforce due to cascade deletes, which can commonly occur in a relational database like Salesforce. And although Salesforce also offers native recovery options, like the Weekly Export, it too has its limitations. 

Maintain Business Continuity with a Comprehensive Backup and Recovery Solution

While Salesforce is the most secure and available platform in the industry, data protection remains the end user’s responsibility. This was made even clearer when Salesforce announced that they will be retiring their last-resort data recovery service, effective July 31, 2020. The upcoming retirement of this last resort Data Recovery service is a great opportunity to remember that a proactive backup and recovery has always been a required and recommended best practice. 

We’d encourage you to explore Salesforce AppExchange partner solutions, such as OwnBackup. OwnBackup customers are almost 3x more likely to notice a data loss or corruption and they feel 3x more prepared to recover.

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