Backup and Recovery

Who Is Responsible for User-Inflicted Salesforce Data Loss?

Julia Salem
Senior Content Marketing Manager
January 8, 2019

Top enterprises are launching amazing, data-driven programs on top of Salesforce, related to digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Salesforce provides an incredibly high-functioning platform for you to house your company’s data and to drive your company’s innovative initiatives. They make sure your data is protected with:

  • Over ten global data centers

  • Real-time and near real-time replication of data

  • Secure, encrypted connections

  • Four copies of data, distributed across data centers

  • Global, 24/7 monitoring

Furthermore, there is the option to purchase Salesforce Shield for an additional layer of security that includes event monitoring, field audit trail, data & platform encryption, and usage audit-ability.

Like most SaaS platforms, Salesforce is not responsible for protecting you from Salesforce user-inflicted data loss and corruption. YOU are responsible for building a complete technology foundation that includes comprehensive backup and recovery.

Your Salesforce Data Protection Responsibilities

To protect your data against user-inflicted loss or corruption, Salesforce themselves recommends using an AppExchange partner backup solution.

Without a comprehensive backup and recovery strategy, a user-inflicted Salesforce data loss or corruption could have a devastating impact across your organization with increased labor costs, data recovery fees, lost reputation, revenue impact, regulatory compliance fines, and a potential loss in productivity.

For these reasons, Salesforce backup and a robust disaster recovery plan needs to be a core part of your business strategy. Being able to backup and recover Salesforce data and metadata is critical for:

  • Company Data Governance - Define your data backup and recovery needs, establish policies and standards, implement, then monitor.

  • High Availability - Backup, recover, and continue business operations in any scenario in which your Salesforce platform is not accessible.

  • Regulatory Compliance - Customize backed-up data retention as required by your company compliance and security policies.

  • Business Operations - Ensure operations of enterprise applications by protecting the data in which these programs are integrated.

  • Business Intelligence/Analytics - Periodic backup to support data warehouse and Business Intelligence repositories.

  • Data Migration and Transformation - Backup and recover in case a data loss occurs from a data migration or transformation project.

Causes of User-Inflicted Salesforce Data Loss and Corruption

How does user-inflicted data loss and corruption actually happen? Let’s review a real customer data loss story to better understand this problem:

Instead of updating 45,000 loan collateral records as planned, 45,000 loan collateral records were accidentally deleted. The data corruption happened during an overnight batch job caused by a bug that was released into the system. Luckily, this banking institution had partnered with OwnBackup just ten days prior. They were able to quickly recover their data and move on with their operations.

Surprisingly, user-inflicted Salesforce data loss and corruption scenarios, like this one, occur more often than you might think. In their 2018 State of Salesforce Data Protection survey, OwnBackup uncovered that 28 percent of Salesforce users have experienced a Salesforce data loss or corruption…that they know about. Data corruption can be particularly challenging because it often remains hidden for days, weeks, months, or even permanently, making data recovery extremely difficult.

The typical data loss and corruption offenders include:

  1. Human Error - In organizations of all sizes, having too many people with administrator permissions often leads to human-caused data loss or corruption. 66 percent of data loss and corruption were caused by Human Error, according to survey respondents.

  2. Integration Errors - To further improve and modernize operations, many companies enrich their Salesforce platform by integrating internal systems and applications. The default configurations, or changes made to configurations, can result in unexpected behavior that could cause a data loss or corruption. Although not as common as Human Error, with 17 percent of data loss and corruption reported by survey respondents, integration errors are more prevalent than you would think because they often go undetected.

  3. Buggy Code - With five percent of the responses, Buggy Code happens when developers and administrators do not test well and have a lack of relevant test data. This can cause serious corruption to data and metadata when the code is released into production.

  4. Malicious Intent - Caused by disgruntled employees deleting or overwriting live data and emptying the recycle bin, leaving no way to recover without a comprehensive backup and recovery strategy. Even though this is not as common as the other causes of user-inflicted data loss and corruption, with three percent of the survey responses, it does happen.


User-inflicted data loss and corruption occurs more often than you would think. You are responsible for the Salesforce data loss and corruption you create.

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