Why Recovering Data in a Dynamic CRM Environment is Different

Backing up your dynamic systems has never been more important. Here's how to create a measured backup plan customized for your business.

backup trends

Organizations have two key backup priorities: reducing data loss and downtime. Most teams try to understand their risk of data loss and downtime by keeping their eye on RPO and RTO metrics, but you need to think a little bigger when dealing with a dynamic environment such as a CRM. In this article, I’ll walk through RPO and RTO, alongside the extra considerations that you need to bear in mind for backing up your dynamic systems.

What are RPO and RTO metrics?

RPO (Recovery Point Objective) takes the time of your last backup, helping you to understand the extent of data loss that you could experience. If your last backup was yesterday, your RPO is 24 hours and there’s a day worth of data that you could have lost.

By contrast, RTO (Recovery Time Objective) looks at the amount of possible downtime by measuring how long it takes you to recover data after a loss. This measure takes into account the total time spent, from spotting the data loss, recovering and getting your systems back to normal.

According to the IDC’s 2021 State of Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Readiness report, the average RPO has consistently sat at 1-4 hours and RTO 4-8 hours. The ideal RPO and RTO varies by organization and, as AWS highlights, it also depends how mission critical the system affected is.

Why is backup and restoration different for dynamic systems?

More data is held and more customizations are made in a dynamic environment than in a static system, which means you need to change your idea of acceptable RPO and RTOs. In other words, losing a week of data in a static system may only translate to a small amount of data lost and a brief recovery period, whereas losing a week of your CRM data could damage thousands of records.

You also need to consider how many more users you have in a dynamic environment. Your static system, such as your HR software or internal product database, may only have a handful of users occasionally making changes. But when it comes to your sales and marketing software, there could be a number of teams working internationally to update leads, records, and opportunities. This amounts to a lot of data being added, changed and accessed on a daily basis, which raises the stakes if you do encounter data loss or downtime.

Complicating things further, because your dynamic environments are business critical, you’ll have shaped them to fit your specific needs. That means that there isn’t a standard backup and recovery approach that will work for all businesses — you’ll need to customize your backup approach as much as you customize your dynamic environments.

How should you recover data in a dynamic environment?

The 2024 State of Salesforce DevOps Report  found that 65% of Salesforce teams had experienced metadata or data loss in the previous year, leading 87% of teams to adopt data or metadata backup. However, many teams are still missing best practices for restoring data specifically in dynamic CRM environments.

Try to increase your backup frequency to reflect how many changes are made in your dynamic environment. While this isn’t the most glamorous change to make, it’ll reduce your RPO and ensure that you can only ever experience up to 24hrs of data loss.

Additionally, introducing a notification system that alerts you to any potential data loss or unexpected changes can help hugely. This allows your team to catch incidents earlier and recover quicker, decreasing the amount of data loss and downtime you could face. Be sensible in the way you set these up: as data is constantly changing in a dynamic environment, you’ll need to make sure that you’re not setting up a system that notifies you constantly for harmless changes.

Teams should also create a disaster recovery plan, that sets out how you will contain and recover from data loss, and practice it frequently. As dynamic environments often involve lots of different teams — from your developers to your sales team — be sure that every team has had sufficient practice with this plan.

With small changes to increase your backup frequency, awareness and disaster recovery, you can keep your business-critical dynamic environments secure.

Alex Walter

Alex Walter is a Software Engineer at Gearset, the leading Salesforce DevOps platform. Alex manages the development of Gearset’s backup and restore solutions, advocating for robust CRM security practices.

Datacap - We Solve Payment Problems
Alex Walter

Alex Walter is a Software Engineer at Gearset, the leading Salesforce DevOps platform. Alex manages the development of Gearset’s backup and restore solutions, advocating for robust CRM security practices.