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Backing up your Salesforce data? You need metadata backups too!

David Runciman on May 21st 2020


In a previous post, we looked at the most common causes of data loss on the Salesforce platform. It's clear that anyone who wants to be prepared for the real risk of data loss must have backups of their Salesforce data. But what about metadata? Your org holds all sorts of records that are obviously business-critical. Is your metadata really as important?

Salesforce orgs are shaped by metadata

Salesforce metadata controls the shape and behaviour of your Salesforce environment. Objects like Account and the fields on those objects like Contact are the items of metadata that hold your data. Other items of metadata, such as Flows, are used to determine the automated processes in your org. And there are many other metadata types that you use to configure your org, of course.

Metadata needs to be backed up along with your data for three main reasons:

1. Your org's metadata is unique

Salesforce is all about customization. You're continually adding and changing metadata to make customizations that meet your company's individual needs. But Salesforce orgs quickly become big and complicated - and every org is unique. It would take a long time to rebuild all of your metadata manually, causing significant and costly disruption to your company. Backing up your metadata protects you from the risk of unnecessary disruption.

2. You need metadata to restore data

You also need to back up your org's metadata if you want to be able to restore your data with any measure of success. For example, if the metadata that describes your fields and objects is lost or corrupted, you won't be able to restore lost records to those fields and objects. Your metadata isn't just unique - it's uniquely able to hold your data. So to be confident of restoring any lost data, you should back up your metadata too.

3. 'Permissions' and 'Profiles' protect your data

Permissions and Profiles are especially valuable metadata types because they control who has access to different datasets in your Salesforce org. In May 2019, a significant number of companies found that their Salesforce permissions metadata had been corrupted. As a result, every user in their orgs had been given access to all data. Gearset users were able to protect their data by restoring their permissions model quickly, avoiding the disruption experienced by many other companies.

Adding metadata backups to your process

Recognizing the importance of metadata backups is a key step in deciding on the best backup strategy for your Salesforce team. Only backing up data is risky because that data will be difficult to restore without metadata. But adding metadata backups into the mix adds a significant layer of complexity to your backup and restore process, especially if you're trying to manage all of this manually.

Manual backups of Salesforce data and metadata are possible, but you'll find that the native tooling on Salesforce is quite limited. You can schedule regular exports of your data from Salesforce, but you're limited to weekly exports at most. You can also create metadata backups using Salesforce's package manager, but this is a slow and cumbersome process. The Salesforce APIs provide a way to make backups anytime, but doing this manually is even more time-consuming. And it's worth bearing in mind that restoring metadata and data manually is always going to be even trickier than backing them up.

This is why a proper backup solution for Salesforce is really the only viable option. If you want high-frequency backups that you can rely on to restore your org quickly and reliably whenever anything goes wrong, then it's time to move on from manual backups.

Gearset backs up metadata and data

Gearset's data backup has been built to handle the complexity of your Salesforce metadata and data. With automated backups of your metadata and data running every day, Gearset gives you the ability to restore your metadata and data from any point in your backup history. Just find the backup run you need to restore from and select Compare and restore metadata or Configure data restore.

Screenshot showing that for each and every backup run in Gearset a dropdown menu includes buttons to begin the restore process for both data and metadata.

Try Gearset's backup solution for free!

Find out much more about backups by downloading our free ebook, Backups for Salesforce. You can also try out Gearset's backup solution with a 30-day trial right now. Start backing up your data and metadata today for complete peace of mind! Or, if you'd like to book a demo first, just reach out to [email protected]

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