What do you mean Salesforce.com doesn’t have my data anymore?

Aug 2013

What do you mean Salesforce.com doesn’t have my data anymore?

Posted by Helen Ching in Cloud Backup

CloudA recent article from the Register reported that users on Salesforce’s EU3 instance had experienced approximately five hours of service disruption, and lost an hour’s worth of data that could never be recovered by Salesforce due to data corruption.

You may say Salesforce, being a mammoth cloud company, should have taken all the necessary precautions to backup customer data and eliminate any data loss. They most likely have, to the best of their ability. This is probably the very rare occasion where all the bad stars aligned and this happened. However, this incident highlights the fact that although you transfer your data to the cloud, you do not transfer your responsibility for your data to the cloud. You are still the custodian of your data, and ultimately responsible for your data.

So how do you protect yourself from this happening to you? By investing in your own secure, reliable backup solution that provides you with the ability to backup from third-party SaaS-based applications like Salesforce.com, Google Apps and others. You need to have a way to restore any data that is residing in the cloud, so you can still access the data you need due to any unforeseen events. For the case in point, if a backup had been taken and saved in the organization’s own backup repository whether a private cloud or a trusted service provider’s cloud, even if Salesforce informed you that they were unable to restore the one hour of critical data that was lost, YOU would have a copy and YOU could restore the data back yourself.

A Salesforce customer highlighted the fact that requesting Salesforce to perform a restore of your own data residing on Salesforce would cost a minimum of $10K. The data would be restored on a best-effort-basis, and could take weeks. Furthermore, granular item restore was not possible, and ALL the files would need to revert back to a point in time the customer had selected. Having his own copy of the backup data would have bypassed this very costly and not-so-customer-friendly process.

Take a deep dive into Aberdeen’s report on SaaS Data Loss: The Problem You Didn’t Know You Had

Having your own backup solution is considered best practice to cover all third-party SaaS-based solutions, but is especially important for smaller SaaS solution providers. What if one day you decide that you want to switch to a different SaaS solution because of SLA issues? If they were not responsive while you were a customer, what sort of response time do you think you would get when you wanted to leave them? You certainly would not want to be held hostage to your own data.

You have set a stringent data protection policy, and adhere to certain SLAs for your enterprise data that does not reside in the cloud. Why should your data that resides in the third party cloud apps follow a different policy? Your data protection policy should be agnostic to where the data resides.

Even when your data resides in the cloud, you need to think about the security of your data, maintain control of your data, and ensure a cost-effective way of backing up your data.

Do you have a data protection policy in place for your data that resides in third party cloud apps like Office365, Google Apps, Salesforce.com? What would you do if any of these providers lost your data?

Comments are welcome.

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