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Spanning Cloud Apps has gone meta with the latest update to its Salesforce backup product.
Spanning Backup for Salesforce now directly restores metadata components to production and sandbox environments in a few clicks. The following metadata types are included in the update: dashboards, email, layouts, objects, permission sets, profiles, reports, roles, triggers and workflows.
"This is a natural extension," said Mat Hamlin, vice president of products at the cloud-to-cloud backup vendor, based in Austin, Texas. "It's important they are backed up in an automated way and able to be recovered."
Spanning has been backing up and protecting Salesforce metadata since the product launched in March 2014, allowing customers to download metadata from their backups at any time. This update, though, provides direct restore of previous metadata versions back into a production Salesforce organization or across Salesforce organizations, according to Spanning.
The updated Spanning Backup for Salesforce allows users to compare a production environment to a sandbox environment, ensuring the right changes are made. A sandbox is an isolated computing environment that doesn't affect production.
The metadata types often get changed in a production environment by the Salesforce administrator and are difficult to get back.
"If there's a mistake, the impact could be far-reaching," Hamlin said.
The loss of data or metadata in Salesforce can affect revenue forecasts, active sales opportunities and service-level agreements, according to Spanning. The Salesforce application contains information important to day-to-day operations, and customers use its metadata customizations to develop and perform major business procedures.
Spanning Backup for Salesforce plans to add more metadata types focused on developers.
What the metadata restore means
The responsibility of recovering lost data and metadata often falls to a company's Salesforce administrator. If a field is deleted by mistake, for example, the administrator must re-create the field with the correct properties and then repopulate it with the lost values, which can take hours or days, according to Spanning.
Mat Hamlinvice president of products at Spanning, on Salesforce metadata
The metadata enhancements make self-service easier for administrators, eliminating steps and making the process more straightforward, said JP Corriveau, a Gartner research director who covers storage software. Salesforce users need to protect themselves from mistakes, he said.
"Self-service is important," Corriveau said. "Anyone who values their Salesforce data would be interested in this kind of product."
According to Spanning, the five most common scenarios for losing data in Salesforce are data-loader mistakes, failed third-party integration, end-user error, malicious data loss and deployment issues.
The update will serve customers up through the enterprise, as the ability to correct mistakes helps Salesforce administrators regardless of business size, Hamlin said.
The Spanning Backup for Salesforce enhancements are available to new and existing Spanning customers at no additional cost. The product costs $48 per user, per year, for unlimited storage of Salesforce data, according to Spanning's website.
Where Spanning stands in cloud-to-cloud backup market
Spanning Backup for Salesforce claims more than 700 customers, including enterprises such as Adidas and Men's Wearhouse.
Hamlin called startup OwnBackup the biggest competition for Spanning Backup for Salesforce, as the two companies often go head-to-head in deals. Spanning has some features that OwnBackup doesn't, and vice versa, Hamlin said.
Dell EMC spun out Spanning to private equity firm Insight Venture Partners in April 2017. Corriveau said that move has given Spanning better focus on its specific market, versus being part of a company's larger product portfolio.
Hamlin said Spanning expects to expand more in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
"In the longer term, we want to develop a broader platform for [software-as-a-service] backup and become our customer's go-to partner to protect the data in all of their critical SaaS applications," Hamlin said. "We think there is a tremendous opportunity there."