According to Forbes, customer relationship management  (CRM) is one of the most important aspects of any business, and therefore CRM data can be considered the organization’s life blood.

 

Salesforce.com is the most popular CRM software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, with SaaS offerings like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud by Salesforce. Given the criticality of the data, protecting this data becomes imperative for any organization. NetApp understands the challenges associated with Salesforce Data Protection that customers face. With “SaaS Backup for Salesforce” we have ventured out to help Salesforce customer to solve the challenges.

 

In this three-part blog, we will talk about various aspects of data protection for Salesforce.com, including:

Why Do We Need Data Protection for Salesforce.com?

The major factors causing data loss in the SaaS world are not very different from the ones in the on-premises world. Many customers believe that once they have moved their data to a SaaS provider, they are completely free from liability. This is not entirely true, because data protection is a shared responsibility even for businesses that use the cloud. The following figure explains how the responsibility is shared.

Although protection against data corruption or loss due to infrastructure or operational failure is the responsibility of the service provider, the responsibility for data protection due to application usage by the business resides with the customer.

 

Salesforce has a very robust platform and does a great job of protecting against infrastructure and operational failures. However, no system in the world is perfect, and in a few instances customers have lost data due to operational failures on the Salesforce platform. For more information, read “Salesforce.com crash caused data loss.”

 

In the case of Salesforce, the majority of data corruption and loss incidents are due to usage issues, including:

  • Accidental data deletion. This is by far the most common cause of data loss or corruption. Users often delete data accidently and realize it when it’s too late to recover.
  • Data load and sync issues. It’s often necessary to upload or sync large amounts of data onto the Salesforce platform. These uploads can encounter issues that can make the data inconsistent, leading to data corruption or loss.
  • Rogue applications. The Salesforce platform is highly customizable, which means a lot of scope for administrators to run custom code. If the code is not tested properly, a rogue program or application can cause data corruption or loss.
  • Insider threats. A disgruntled insider could perform a mass deletion of data, which the organization might not notice until the data cannot be recovered.
  • Unplanned sandbox refresh. There have been examples where unplanned sandbox refreshes have resulted in the loss of months of data. Because sandboxes are primarily used for test/dev purposes, such unplanned refreshes have resulted in months’ worth of lost work hours.

In addition to recovering from a data loss or corruption event, Salesforce data backup could be used in variety of other ways:

  • Meet regulatory compliance. Most regulations require organizational data to be protected and retained for a stipulated time. Failing to adhere to it could attract legal complication. For more information, read “Discovery of Salesforce.com (and SaaS) Data in Civil Litigation”
  • Archive data to reduce volume. Because Salesforce limits storage usage based on the number of user licenses, if an organization is storage constrained, admins must often delete old data to be able to create new records. In the absence of backup, it’s difficult to decide what data to delete and what data shouldn’t be touched.
  • Replicate to database. Because Salesforce limits the number of reports that can be run in an organization in a stipulated period of time, organizations often prefer to move the data to an alternate database to be able to run more reports. Backed-up data could be restored to an on-premises database, which could be used for data warehousing and business intelligence.
  • Have multiple point-in-time copies of data. Having different checkpoints of data helps from both production and sandbox standpoints so that they can be compared to find the anomaly and prepare a fallback plan.

We hope that this discussion has helped to establish the need for Salesforce data protection and reinforces the fact that backing up Salesforce data is not an option but a requirement for any organization that uses Salesforce. As the old adage has it,  “A stitch in time saves nine.”

 

You may wonder, since data protection is so critical, doesn’t Salesforce back up its customer data? Well, it does — but with some caveats.

 

To learn about the caveats, read “Understanding Salesforce’s Out of the Box Data Protection Features“.

 

Is your SaaS data secure? Start your free trial of NetApp SaaS Backup for Salesforce today!

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Saurabh Singh

Saurabh Singh is a Technical Marketing Engineer with the Cloud Business Unit at NetApp. He has over 8 years of experience in IT industry. His focus areas include product Design, Roadmap, Go-to-Market Strategy for NetApp Cloud Control, NetApp’s SaaS Data Protection Platform.