A commonly heard expression at Red Argyle is the acronym “B.U.Y.S.,” which lovingly stands for “Back Up Your Shit,” or more importantly, backing up our customers’ shit. If anyone who reads this was around in the early 2000s you might remember this:
In all seriousness, data loss is no joke. The goal of this post is not to preach about it, but to share some practical advice on backing up your important Salesforce data. I’ll cover two scenarios. First–the when, and second–the how. This is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully this tip sheet will aid in your project planning in the future.
When should you back up your data? My recommendation is all the time, but here are some scenarios and details on when your spider-sense should tell you to get backing up:
Every Week – You should take advantage of the Salesforce Export Service on a weekly basis. Download the file and add it to your network so you get a weekly “snapshot” of all of your company’s data.
Every Time You Deploy Something – Before every deployment, it’s important to get a data AND metadata backup of affected resources. Generally, I do at least a partial backup of data (affected objects) and greater metadata backups before pushing the button. (We’ll focus on metadata in another post soon!)
When Activating a New Workflow Rule or Process – Both of these actions change data. It’s best to have a “before” of affected data before turning it on!
When Installing an AppExchange Package – Sure, we can guess that they will all act benign and not have negative impacts on data, but you never know.
When Installing or Changing Settings on an Integration – Changing field mapping? Adding a new email integration? Whatever you’re doing, you need to back up related data (at the very least).
Prior to Conducting any Bulk Data Operation – Going in and deleting all those 2004 Opportunities? Get a full backup of all Opportunities AND related data (Line Items, Products, etc). Updating a bunch of records? The same–back up that object so you have a “before” in case you forget to use 18 character IDs in your VLOOKUP formula!
Before Deleting Fields – Even unwanted fields often contain data. Hopefully you’ll never need that data again…hopefully.
Not only are there a lot of times when you need to back up data, but there are lots of ways to do it. Here are a few techniques that we use regularly:
And here are links for info on all four:
Data Export Service – https://help.salesforce.com/apex/HTViewHelpDoc?id=admin_exportdata.htm
AppExchange Tools – https://appexchange.salesforce.com/category/data-cleansing
Backing up is not one of the more exciting or fun tasks we do as Salesforce experts–but it’s an important one. If you’ve got other advice on the topic, be sure to drop a note below or hit us up on Twitter: @redargyledotcom.