How I (Almost) Broke Prod

Salesforce Production data corruption can happen quickly and unintentionally. These worst-case scenarios can be caused during an unfortunate data load, intentionally by a disgruntled employee, or even automatically by a two-way sync integration. This is the true, though slightly embarrassing story, of the day I caused mass data corruption in our Salesforce production organization.
Photo of a sunset at the top of Mount Fuji.

The Day Before I Broke Prod

Before we get to the alarming cause of data corruption, we need to take a step back and look at the events that led to this catastrophe:

The marketing team had just added a new 3rd party tool to enhance customer and prospect communication. This app included a web portal and Salesforce integration, designed to update the app when new contacts are added to Salesforce. The tool was also designed to sync communications back to Salesforce in order to alert the account teams of recent customer activity. 

The integration was set up halfway when I was asked to look into why a large number of Salesforce opportunities and accounts were not syncing to the app. 

Like any overly confident Admin, I dove right in and discovered some missing simple field mappings. I also found that Accounts had not been set up to pull into the marketing tool automatically. Once these minor items were resolved, I foolishly skimmed over the rest of the integrated fields then moved on to another project. What I did not realize is that I had unintentionally set the stage for a massive data corruption. 

The Day I Broke It

Around 8 am the next day,  I received a group email from our accountant, alarmed that a Salesforce opportunity that had just closed/won that morning was not connected to an account. I quickly took a look in Salesforce and made my second fatal mistake – assuming that this was an isolated issue! Just when I was congratulating myself for only creating a minor mistake, I received a second email from the accountant….

It only took a few minutes to determine that this was not an isolated issue – the result of the overnight integration sync was mass data corruption.

Every opportunity in Production was now orphaned, entirely disconnected from the related Account.

20 minute countdown timer

20 Minutes Later

Twenty minutes. That is the total amount of time it took to recover from this mass data corruption. How?

5 Minutes: To start, we back up Salesforce multiple times daily. This backup is a mirror copy of our Salesforce data, and the backup process also automatically snapshots data changes. This helped us pinpoint precisely when the data corruption occurred – 2 am. The backup is kept in a PostgreSQL database on AWS so the team can access the data anytime, without vendor support. 

5 Minutes: Next, the problem was re-created in a sandbox to have a testing environment. This did not require a Salesforce sandbox refresh – we seeded a developer org with some intentionally corrupted data from the most recent production backup.

10 Minutes: This sandbox provided a place to test the recovery process. A restore job patched the broken Account – opportunity relationships, and I quickly validated that the restore worked by creating a simple list view.

5 Minutes: The same recovery configuration used with the sandbox was connected to Production. 

Problem Solved.

What Did I Learn After Breaking Prod?

  1. A Salesforce backup is hyper-critical.
  2. A recovery process that you can test is simply a requirement.
  3. Don’t mess with integrations if you don’t know what they do!

Steps You Can Take to Recover from Salesforce Production Data Corruption

  • Establish a backup and recovery plan: Before a data loss incident occurs, it’s important to have a plan in place so you know how you will recover your data. This should include regular backups of your data as well as establishing a process for restoring lost or corrupted data.
  • Identify the cause of the data corruption: In order to properly recover from data corruption, you need first to identify the cause. This can be difficult, but it’s important to rule out any potential causes so you can focus on the real issue.
  • Restore from a backup: If you have a recent backup of your data, this will be the quickest and easiest way to recover lost or corrupted data. Simply restore the backup and you should be back up and running in no time.
  • Take preventive measures: Once you’ve recovered your data, it’s important to take preventive measures moving forward to ensure this doesn’t happen again. This could include regularly backing up your data using CapStorm’s backup and restore solutions.

By following these steps, you should be able to quickly and effectively recover from Salesforce production data corruption.

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray

Rebecca is 5 year Salesforce fanatic and certified Salesforce Admin, Service Cloud Consultant, Sales Cloud Consultant, and App Builder. She volunteers in the Salesforce community, leading the Saint Louis, MO Salesforce Admin Group and is a former Lightning Champion. In her day job, Rebecca supports Customer Success, helping CapStorm customers achieve their goals for Salesforce data management.

About CapStorm

CapStorm is the most technologically advanced Salesforce data management platform on the market. Billions of records per day flow through CapStorm software, and our solutions are used in every industry from credit cards, telecom providers, insurance agencies, global banks and energy providers.

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Become a CapStorm Insider

Become a CapStorm Insider

Subscribe to the CapStorm Forecast

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.