As the Salesforces had withdrawn its old data backup and recovery solution and introduced some new methods for the same, enterprise users, need to revisit your strategies to protect the business from any possible data loss. Unexpected or accidental data losses may cause severe troubles to an organization, and so data backup is not an optional approach but a must-have strategy for businesses to ensure safe and unrelenting operations.
There are many instances healthcare providers need to know and strategize for healthcare data backup and recovering and storing PHI. Possible challenges like buggy codes, malicious intent attacks, and data integration issues are some of the most common causes of data loss in the health cloud system. Above all these, there is always a possibility of human errors too by mistake or ignorance. Due to any of these causes, if data is lost, it may take a lot of time in usual cases to reconstruct relevant data that can be used at best. Further in this article, we discuss a few important things about the criticality of data backups and Salesforce data recovery best practices specific to the healthcare sector.
It is not an optional measure to have a data backup
In the case of healthcare data management, HIPAA (health information portability and accountability act) covers all the compliant entities to maintain exact copies of the PHI to be kept handy in any event of a data loss. So, it is mandatory as per the regulation to keep backups, and it is also vital to have backups from time to time as part of a disaster recovery plan.
Many clinics and specialty patient care centers may not be able to afford the fines or negative publicity resulting from downtimes or data breaches. Also, the customers, especially in critical care, expect 24/7 access to on-demand information. Usually, every health cloud instance may contain two distinct types of data as data and metadata. You can simply understand these as the content data and the structural data (metadata)
The key components of a typical health cloud data include Accounts, Records, Cases, Leads, Opportunities, Contacts, Files, Custom Objects, Page Layouts, Configurations, Dashboards.
Reports, Visualforce Code Apex Code, etc., in some standard data backup solutions like Salesforce disaster recovery, data is the only entity backed up. This means a huge amount of investment is done but still by putting the configuration at stake. Without metadata to be restored, you have to redevelop all the page layouts, custom APEX code, Visualforce codes, and dashboards, etc. Now let us explore salesforce data recovery approaches in light of being HIPPA compliant.
The regulatory act of HIPAA puts all the responsibility of data backup solely on the healthcare enterprises, which is the covered entity. You need to understand fully that:
- Backup of data is not an option for healthcare services.
- The data kept and backed up must be encrypted both at rest and in transit.
- The data must be recoverable instantly in need.
- Data backup needed to be done remotely.
- All the Salesforce instances should be HIPAA compliant.
Handling data backups properly will not only help to avoid any fines for HIPAA violations, but frequent data backups as a part of a solid Salesforce disaster recovery will also have a favorable impact from the performance and cost perspectives.
Streamlining data for minimal storage costs
You can effectively reduce the storage costs if you get rid of the outdated data at the Salesforce instance. Maintaining only reliable data archives will help you delete the old data without worrying about losing anything relevant. It is also important to ensure less bloat to optimize performance and enhance the user experience. Similarly, you can find that irrelevant data is one major cause of bloating in Salesforce. This will lead to reducing the system performance and also compromise the user experience.
Backup and recovery best practices
Considering the healthcare clients to implement backup data solutions, it is important to ensure that the healthcare data backup meets the following needs:
- The backup systems need to meet data encryption, HIPAA compliance, data storage, retention, recovery, etc.
- Also, ensure that the storage system backs up data along with metadata.
- Ensure the system is capable of backing up every environment, including production and sandbox.
- The system should be able to compare various backups and determine the system and data changes.
- The backup system must allow backup frequencies like daily, weekly, and so.
Backup frequency is a very important consideration while setting up a compliant data backup strategy for Salesforce. In general cases, a backup is decided based on how much data a business can afford to lose in case of an accidental data disaster. However, the RPO (recovery point objective) should be kept at a minimum in mission-critical data applications like a healthcare system. In such a scenario, the RPO has to be kept very short of ensuring zero data loss.
Organizations should try to capture as much data as possible, including the metadata about the data changes. Automatic data backups at frequency will result in a comprehensive database that paints an accurate and full picture. This will make data an invaluable source for business users too.
Location of data backup
Considering the compliance measures, it is also important to consider the backup location also. If a third-party vendor does the backup, then ensure that your data does not reside at the vendor’s infrastructure. With that approach, you may have the same challenges as it resides in the Salesforce.com storage. There may also be the risk of data corruption and security breaches with having many touchpoints where your data makes its way from Salesforce cloud to your machines.
For confidential healthcare data, it is important to have accessibility anytime and zero downtime for data access, even in case of any failure. Salesforce users need to take some add-on measures to ensure compliance with the HIPAA regulations and ensure proper backup and restoration of valuable data.