Salesforce Data Archival and Backup Best Practices to Save Money

July 5, 2024
11 min

Salesforce and data are intrinsically linked. Every business owner understands that losing vital information is an unacceptable and costly risk. According to an IBM report, a data breach can cost organizations an average of $4.35 million.

How can you save data and money? Through Salesforce data archival. In this article, you will discover:

  • How to determine a suitable approach to data archiving
  • Advantages of Salesforce data archival
  • Comparison of Salesforce data archiving solutions
  • Overview of top solutions for data backup in Salesforce

By following these best practices and conducting a preliminary Salesforce data audit and assessment, you can optimize your data processes, enhance management, reduce storage costs, and improve user experience.

Let’s start from the basics.

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What Is Salesforce Data Archiving?

Salesforce Data Archiving is the practice of moving historical or less frequently accessed data from the primary Salesforce storage to a different storage system.

Simply put, data archiving is the process of moving data from a limited and performance-constrained storage where it is easily accessible to much larger storage where it will be more difficult to access.

Benefits of Salesforce Data Archival

If you are still dealing with data overload, compliance risks, and operational inefficiencies, below you’ll find valid reasons for archiving your Salesforce data.

#1. Salesforce Storage Limits

For most Salesforce editions, the limit is 10GB of data storage and 10GB of file storage.

Salesforce Storage Limits | Ascendix

Salesforce Storage Limits | Ascendix

Salesforce storage limits are strict and additional storage space costs money.

The limits can be increased by buying additional user licenses or upgrading the organization to a more expensive edition.

#2. Regulatory Compliance

Various regulations dictate data retention periods.

Data must be stored for much longer than required by the business.

So, the data that is not needed by users cannot be deleted and must be archived instead.

#3. Improved System Performance

The Salesforce platform supports scaling at multiple levels, including data scaling. However, there are aspects of the platform whose performance may be affected by excess data.

Among them are records search, report execution, and execution of scheduled processes. The impact on performance can be reduced by more precise tuning of the system, report, and list view filters.

However, this will require additional administrator management, as well as the use of support for these solutions at different levels.

Want to know more about Salesforce data archiving solutions? The Ascendix team can help you find your match.

What to Consider Before Choosing a Salesforce Data Archiving Solution

Before choosing a Salesforce data archiving solution, you need to take into account certain things among which are:

Things to Consider Before Archiving Data in Salesforce

Things to Consider Before Archiving Data in Salesforce | Ascendix

Identify the Data

Determining which data to archive can be complex and requires a thorough understanding of business processes and data usage patterns.

The criteria for archiving may vary based on business needs, such as the record creation date, last activity date, or the fiscal year in which the record was closed.

Access to Archived Data

The frequency of data access should align with the purpose of archiving. If archiving is mandated by laws and industry policies, regular users typically don’t need frequent access to this data.

In contrast, if regular access is required, additional effort is needed to develop a user interface, as most data archiving solutions do not offer a native user interface.

Security Model

The security model for archived data needs to be configured separately from the active data and may differ.

Also, you need to determine who should have access to the archived data and who has the authority to unarchive it.

Maintaining the Data Model

Data connected through links and lookups must preserve these connections to maintain integrity and enable unarchiving.

Without this, the data may be incomplete or inaccurate. Additionally, when archiving a parent record, all child records must also be archived.

If the parent record is deleted from the main storage, all associated child records will be removed due to cascade deletion.

Archive Storage Location

Data storage locations can be categorized as internal or external, each with its pros and cons.

However, it is crucial to note that Salesforce does not protect data once it leaves the system.

If you opt for external data archiving, the external system is responsible for data security. Ensure a secure data transport mechanism to the external system and consider encrypting sensitive data.

Need Help with Data Archival or Backup in Salesforce?

We provide comprehensive consulting services to address your data management challenges. From auditing data sources to expert guidance on archival and backup strategies, we’ve got you covered.

How to Effectively Archive Salesforce Data: Top 3 Options

There are many data archiving solutions; the choice of a specific solution depends on the data that needs to be archived, the security model, the volume of data, and the need for further access to it.

Salesforce Data Archiving Solutions - Selection Matrix

Criteria
Big Objects
External Data Storage
Heroku Storage
Platform
Salesforce
External Solution
Heroku
Integration
No
Yes
Yes
Storage
Billions of records
Limited by External Storage. Daily API Limits.Depends on the purchased plan
Development Cost
Low/Medium
High
Medium
Storage Cost
Low
Medium
Medium/High
Security
Salesforce
External Solution
Salesforce/ Heroku
Data Accessibility
Low/Medium
Medium/High
High
Skillset
Salesforce
Salesforce, Integration
Salesforce, Heroku
Good for
- Low object schema complexity
- Small number of objects for archiving
Easily accessible archived data- Complex relationships between archived objects,
- Large number of objects
Salesforce Data Archiving Solutions Comparison

 

Big Objects

Big Objects is a Salesforce platform feature that provides separate storage space, not counting toward the overall data limit.

They ensure consistent performance for a billion records or more. By default, your Salesforce organization can store up to a billion Big Object records, a limit that can be increased by requesting Salesforce support.

Big Objects support queries using standard SOQL with the Bulk API and batch Apex, making custom solutions for accessing this data similar to developing components for regular Salesforce objects.

Differences Between Big Objects and Other Objects

Big Objects
Objects
Horizontally scalable distributed databaseRelational database
Non-transactional databaseTransactional database
Hundreds of millions or even billions of recordsMillions of records
Differences Between Big Objects and Other Objects

Benefits

  • Data does not leave Salesforce.
  • No additional fee or annual fee is required. Every Salesforce organization has it.
  • Salesforce provides consistent performance, regardless of the number of records.
  • It does not require external integrations.

Challenges

  • There are no point-and-click archiving settings. Therefore, all archiving logic should be developed based on the scheduled flow or apex job.
  • Big Objects do not have a standard UI so if users need to view archived records, custom components need to be developed.
  • They do not support standard search. Custom components need to be developed.
  • Big Objects support only object and field permissions. Manual sharing, sharing rules, and other security model-based features are not supported.

Our Verdict

Big Objects feature high data security and do not require integration with external platforms or associated fees.

While the initial development and UI creation may require additional investment, this solution is ideal for small and medium-sized organizations with a limited number of objects needing archiving.

If you choose to opt for this option, it’s recommended to identify which objects consume the most space early on and focus on archiving those specifically.

 

 

External Data Storage

External Objects in Salesforce are similar to custom objects, but they store links to external data sources instead of storing the data themselves. They support nearly all the features of custom objects, including standard search and customizable layouts.

A common solution involves sending archived data to external storage and then linking Salesforce External Objects to this data. Salesforce provides various integration mechanisms with external systems, which can also be used for data storage.

Benefits

  • It has a standard UI and reads archived data just like regular data.
  • With the Salesforce Connect add-on, users can manage – create, edit, and delete archived records from the Salesforce UI, the same users can do with internal objects.

Challenges

  • Data leave Salesforce. Security, encryption, and data transmission are entirely dependent on the external system.
  • Requires external integration settings to send data to storage. API limits to be considered.
  • Archiving logic should be developed based on the scheduled flow or apex job.
  • The Salesforce Connect add-on is paid and without it the functionality of External Objects is limited.
  • Payment for external storage depends on the prices of the selected platform.

Our Verdict

The External Data Storage solution offers easy access to archived data, appearing seamless to users as if the data were stored within Salesforce.

This option involves developing an archiving mechanism and configuring integration initially.

It benefits from a ready-made UI and Salesforce security model. However, storing data externally introduces high-security risks and additional costs, necessitating a careful selection of external data storage.

Heroku Storage

The Heroku Platform is part of the Salesforce Platform, a multi-cloud app platform. Being supported by Salesforce it provides native integration options.

Heroku archival solution is a variation of the External Data Storage solution but is more reliable and supports many archiving features right out of the box.

Heroku Connect is an add-on that synchronizes data between your Salesforce organization and a Heroku Postgres database. In addition, there are also other data archiving apps on the market powered by Heroku.

Benefits

  • Customizable, low-code integration with Heroku Platform supported by Salesforce.
  • Standard database operations are available for data stored at Heroku.
  • Point and click setup of data mapping. Relationships between objects are also can be mapped.

Challenges

  • Data deletion on the Salesforce side must be configured separately, by scheduled flow or Apex job.
  • The data cannot be easily accessed on the Salesforce side. This will require the development of custom components.
  • The price of the solution will include a monthly fee for Heroku Connect and Heroku storage.

Our Verdict

Heroku Platform storage offers a reliable archival solution with seamless integration through the native Heroku Connect add-on.

It requires relatively low effort to set up mapping and records storage.

This solution is ideal for those who do not need regular access to archived data or are willing to invest in additional extensions to enable such access.

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Difference Between Data Archives and Backups

An archive contains historical data, should not change, and does not require frequent access. Its main purpose is to select data for archiving, free up space in the main storage, keep the database clean and up-to-date, and improve performance.

The main purpose of creating a backup is to secure data and ensure recovery in case of data loss or corruption in the main storage.

Unlike archiving, backup does not reduce storage costs or improve performance. A backup is an up-to-date copy of data; the data is copied, not moved.

Salesforce Data Archiving & Backup Best Practices

To effectively manage data archiving in Salesforce, follow these steps:

  • Identify the data that takes up the most storage space. A simple method is to go to Salesforce setup and type ‘Storage Usage‘ in the search box.
Storage Usage Limits in Salesforce | Ascendix

Storage Usage Limits in Salesforce | Ascendix

  • Salesforce has a separate limit for file storage. If your organization heavily uses file storage, consider integrating with external file storage solutions to manage archiving files.
  • Determine who should have access to archived data and how often. This will influence the need for a user interface and security model settings.
  • Maintain consistency between the current object schema and archived records. Deleting object fields or changing relationships can complicate the unarchiving or restoration of data.
  • Maintain the data model to ensure data integrity. For instance, if an account is archived, all related child contacts should also be archived.
  • Define an archived data retention policy. Archived data should not be stored indefinitely unless required by laws and industry policies

 

 

Bonus: Overview of Top 3 Salesforce Data Backup Solutions

 

OwnBackup for Salesforce OwnBackup

Price: Minimum contract size $500 per month

OwnBackup provides a comprehensive Salesforce backup and recovery solution designed to minimize data loss risks and costs, support regulatory compliance, and enhance business resilience.

Known for its user-friendly interface, OwnBackup ensures reliable data backup and restoration, making it a preferred choice for managing Salesforce data securely.

OwnBackup Pros:

  • This Salesforce data backup solution is intuitive and easy to navigate, facilitating efficient task management.
  • It ensures secure and quick data backup and restoration, offering peace of mind.
  • Its customer support is responsive and helpful.
  • OwnBackup offers proactive notifications that alert users to potential risks and unusual activities.
  • This backup tool provides daily full backups of data and metadata and facilitates easy data copying into sandboxes.

 

OwnBackup Cons:

  • OwnBackup is considered expensive compared to competitors, especially for large organizations.
  • It offers a complex data restoration process, and users may have difficulties in selecting specific data elements for restoration.
  • OwnBack lacks detailed documentation on search tools.
  • It requires updates after every sandbox refresh, which can be annoying.

 

GRAX for Salesforce GRAX for Salesforce

Price: Free (but must pay to increase usage, users, or features.)

GRAX provides a robust Salesforce backup and archiving solution, enabling users to store data in the cloud or on-premises. It ensures compliance by maintaining a digital Chain of Custody.

This solution facilitates easy access, search, and comparison of historical data versions and supports integration with various Business Intelligence (BI) tools for advanced analytics.

GRAX Pros:

  • It has an intuitive interface and is easy to use, especially for data restore functions.
  • This solution offers automated and secure backup and archiving processes for both data and metadata.
  • GRAX provides excellent customer support, guiding users through setup and ongoing use.
  • It supports integration with multiple BI/BA tools like Tableau and PowerBI.
  • This tool allows viewing and managing data across multiple Salesforce orgs using GRAX Lightning components.

 

GRAX Cons:

  • It may be difficult to set, connect, and view data from multiple orgs.
  • Its regular updates may require frequent adjustments and monitoring.

 

Veeam for Salesforce Veeam

Price: For less than 300 users – $3 USD/user/month

Veeam offers a comprehensive Salesforce backup and recovery tool that ensures data security, compliance, and business resiliency.

It supports on-premises and cloud deployment, providing fast, flexible recovery from issues caused by third-party integrations, data loader mistakes, or human error.

Veeam’s platform delivers a single solution for cloud, virtual, physical, SaaS, and Kubernetes environments, ensuring data is always protected and accessible.

Veeam Pros:

  • It supports both on-premises and cloud storage options, including AWS and Azure.
  • Veeam has an easy setup and management with a straightforward and intuitive UI.
  • This solution offers quick, efficient data restoration.
  • It reduces manual backup efforts, providing peace of mind with automatic backups and restores.

 

Veeam Cons:

  • Some users find the inability to manually input dates and other minor UI issues frustrating.
  • There can be difficulties in restoring specific data elements, such as email attachments.
  • It has external storage restrictions and the need for additional tweaking for Salesforce permissions.

How Ascendix Can Help with Salesforce Data Archival

More storage space, better system performance, and compliance with data retention regulations— it’s all about Salesforce data archival.

Our Salesforce experts will guide you in selecting the best strategy tailored to your business needs. These specialists offer deep expertise in regulatory compliance and system performance as well as cost-effective archiving solutions.

Working with information is a well-encompassing process. From keeping track of historical data and market trends to managing sales pipelines and closing deals the Ascendix team can help you tackle any challenges.

As a Salesforce Crest Consulting Partner, our team has earned over 120 Salesforce certifications, demonstrating our deep and comprehensive expertise in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Book a free consulting call with us. Let’s work together to find the best data backup and archival solution in Salesforce.

Salesforce Data Archiving and Backup FAQ

Does Salesforce backup my data?

Salesforce provides several native options for backing up customer data:

  • Salesforce Backup: Formerly known as the Backup and Restore managed package, Salesforce Backup provides comprehensive backup solutions.
  • Data Export Service: Offers manual or scheduled exports of your data through the UI.
  • Data Loader: Allows for manual, on-demand exports of your data via the API.
  • Report Export: Provides manual, on-demand exports of your data through reports.

Why backup your Salesforce data?

Backing up Salesforce data is crucial to prevent data loss, ensure regulatory compliance, and support disaster recovery.

Regular backups enable quick restoration after accidental deletions, corruption, or cyberattacks. They provide a historical record for audits, maintain data integrity, and facilitate system migrations.

Additionally, backups offer valuable business insights by preserving historical data for trend analysis and performance measurement.

How often does Salesforce backup data?

Salesforce performs a full data backup once every week and retains it for 90 days. Additionally, metadata is backed up daily.

However, users should consider implementing their own backup solutions for more frequent backups, granular control, and quicker data restoration to ensure comprehensive data protection and minimize potential data loss.

How to archive data in Salesforce?

To archive data in Salesforce you can:

  • Identify and export relevant records using a Data Loader or Data Export Service.
  • Store the exported data in external storage solutions like AWS S3 or Google Cloud Storage.
  • Use third-party tools from AppExchange, such as OwnBackup or GRAX, for automated archiving.
  • Ensure data integrity and security with encryption and access controls and document the process for easy tracking and auditing.

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