Salesforce recycle bin contains only deleted records

One of the most valuable resources your company has it probably not being backed up properly  – if at all. Like a lot of cloud services, the ability of salesforce customers to recover from big mistakes or a malicious attack is a bit overstated. Let’s take a look at that.

Big, bad update

Say, for example, that someone wants to change how phone numbers are stored in Salesforce.  (I know this because I wanted to do this once with a large number of records.) Let’s say they are tired of the inconsistent way phone numbers are stored and want to go to a standard format. They have chosen to get rid of all parentheses and spaces, and just use dashes.  (800) 555-1212 becomes 800-555-1212.

They download a CSV of all the salesforce IDs and accompanying phone numbers. They do their magic on the phone numbers and change everything to dashes. But they accidentally sort one column, completely disassociating numbers with Salesforce IDs. They then update every single one of your leads with incorrect phone numbers.  Little by little, salespeople notice that some phone numbers are wrong and fix them. But it’s days before they realize that it was this update that broke everything.

This would also be a great way for a salesperson to get even with your company for not giving him the bonus he wanted. Download a bunch of records, do a quick sort on only one column, then use data loader to upload nonsense back to salesforce.

Recycle bin cannot fix updated records

The recycle bin contains deleted records, not updated records. So fixing even a few mistakenly (or maliciously) updated records is not possible with the recycle bin.  It can only fix things if you accidentally delete records – as long as it’s not more records than what can fit in your recycle bin.  (The number of megabytes of storage you have X 25.)

You really need to back up Salesforce

Without an external salesforce backup, you are literally one bad update away from being forced to use their “recovery service,” which may be the worst service ever.  It’s so bad they don’t want you to use it.  They call it a “last resort,” and tell you it’s going to take 6-8 weeks and cost $10,000. And after six weeks, all you have is a bunch of CSV files that represent your salesforce instance at a particular point in time. It will be your job to determine what needs to be uploaded, updated, replaced, etc.  That process will be complicated and likely take a long time as well.

Please look into an automated way to backup you Salesforce data.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Evangelist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.