Creating a ServiceNow data backup is possible using either the platform’s out-of-the-box functionality, or third party solutions. When creating a ServiceNow data backup using native capabilities, the platform uses an Advanced High Availability (AHA) architecture.

The AHA architecture helps in restoring data and service in case of disruptions, and helps ServiceNow meet their customer’s requirements regarding data security, availability, and performance.

While ServiceNow’s out-of-the-box functionality meets some organizations backup and restore requirements, others require more robust solutions.

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Why Backup ServiceNow Data?

Creating a ServiceNow data backup helps ensure organizations can recover data in the case of data loss. This could be due to hardware/software failure, cyberattacks, data corruption, accidental deletion, etc. 

It’s essential for organizations to perform backups at regular intervals to prevent the risk of data loss. If the gap between backups is extended, there’s a higher chance of data loss post-recovery.  

Here’s why you should backup your ServiceNow data:

  • Prevent data loss and corruption – Timely backups help prevent data loss during transfers
  • Prevent business disruption – Data backups ensure business continuity with minimum downtime. 
  • Promote faster digital transformation – Spending less resources on data recovery administration and management, frees up more resources for innovation
  • Comply with industry regulations – A robust backup and recovery process allows companies to stay compliant with industry standards and regulations including GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, etc.

Out-of-the-Box Functionality for Creating a ServiceNow Data Backup

Fortunately, the ServiceNow platform includes out-of-the-box functionality for creating backups. The platform creates a full backup, direct to disk, every seven days and retains it for 14 days.

Effective as of May 8th 2023 ServiceNow reduced its backup retention period from 28 days to 14. For more information on the change, and how to get around the retention period, see our related post, “ServiceNow Backup Retention Policy Explained.”

“Differential” backups are made daily, and the data is stored in the same data centers where the data resides. 

ServiceNow’s out-of-the-box data backup functionality helps protect the environment from major data loss. However, organizations have limited control over the process, and many organizations require more robust capabilities. 

ServiceNow Data Backup Challenges

For the many organizations that have data backup requirements existing outside of “last resort” use cases, other data backup and restore solutions are recommended.

In their documentation, ServiceNow states: “Restoring from backup is a last resort. ServiceNow cautions there is always the potential for data loss because anything saved after the backup was taken is lost.”

Given this, ServiceNow understands that some organizations want more robust backup solutions stating: “in certain scenarios, it may be desirable to use more traditional data backup and recovery mechanisms.” 

The scenarios they cite include:

  • where a customer deletes some data inadvertently
  • where a customer’s data integration or automation is misconfigured or malfunctions, resulting in data being rendered unusable or inaccessible.

Further to this, ServiceNow mentions that “while the restoration process is running, the instance is unavailable. It is not possible to have an estimate time of completion of the restore.”

Organizations should also note that ServiceNow data backups recover the whole instance with no option for partial restoration, meaning the procedure takes time – often several days. 

As ServiceNow is a critical business function at many enterprises, the time required to restore the whole instance has a knock-on effect on operations throughout the organization.

What’s more, is that the AHA architecture does not support the restoration of archival records since the backup retention period is limited to 28 days. However, customers can regularly migrate data to external databases/systems using integrations

Because of these factors, some enterprises opt for more robust backup and restore solutions.

Alternative Solutions for Data Backup and Restore in ServiceNow

Considering the challenges of backup and recovery in the ServiceNow platform, many organizations look for alternative solutions offering more granular control over their ServiceNow data. 

For instance, some clients may require greater operational resilience. They may want the ability to restore an instance to a specific point in time, outside of the ServiceNow supported 28-day window. Others may want to keep their ServiceNow instance up and running during the restoration process. 

Thankfully, ServiceNow clients that need greater operational resilience have a great alternative data backup and recovery solution that works natively in ServiceNow – Perspectium. 

Operating as an application within the ServiceNow platform, Perspectium solutions can safely transfer your data to a repository without adversely affecting ServiceNow’s performance or risking data loss during the transfer. 

Perspectium is a recognized partner of ServiceNow with a pedigree in creating, implementing and managing integration, data extraction and replication, and data synchronization solutions for the ServiceNow platform. 

Created by the founding developer of ServiceNow, David Loo, Perspectium’s solutions and services are delivered by integration experts, intimately familiar with the ServiceNow platform.

Perspectium even provides integration solutions to ServiceNow. The organization uses Perspectium to integrate their own ServiceNow instances with an external database.  

As well as use cases relating to data backup and restore, Perspectium solutions allow organizations to safely extract ServiceNow data for use in performance analytics, data lake building, and more.

Back Up ServiceNow Data with Greater Control, and without Affecting ServiceNow Performance

Perspectium offers a solution tailor-made for creating ServiceNow data backups – DataSync Snapshot.

DataSync Snapshot operates “like a time machine for ServiceNow”, similar to Apple’s restoration functionality on their Mac devices. 

Organizations using DataSync Snapshot can:

  • Exert greater control over ServiceNow data backups – not just all-or-nothing clones – and have greater confidence in the restoration process
  • Keep ServiceNow up and running during the backup and restore process
  • Enjoy increased protection against user error, malicious activity, accidental deletion, natural disasters, or viruses/ransomware
  • Compare multiple backup versions, and to compare backups with current records
  • Snapshot applications, including forms, properties, scripts, business rules, referenced records & schemas
  • Restore entire applications onto other instances to support migration
  • Back up complete objects – not just the data, but the forms, properties, lists, schemas & more!

Not Just a Backup and Restore Solution

Perspectium also offers a more robust data replication solution, in the full version of DataSync.

The full version of DataSync enables you to smoothly extract and replicate ServiceNow data via dynamic or batch publishing to an external database, giving you more control over your data and enabling integrations with third-party solutions.

Perspectium’s no-code technology allows you to design advanced sync use cases without requiring internal development resources, without affecting ServiceNow’s performance. That’s because DataSync avoids making API calls to ServiceNow to replicate and extract data.

Instead, DataSync employs “push” data streaming, end-to-end encryption, and a message brokering system to protect your data from corruption and breaches.

Since the receiving system doesn’t “pull” the data, there’s no need for system credentials for your integrations. Thus, while you remain fully compliant with industry standards, it eliminates the risk of data loss during endpoint outages.

Perspectium makes data backup and recovery a hassle-free process!

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