ServiceNow backup retention policy explained

ServiceNow upgrades are released bi-annually, bringing new functionality and improvements to boost the platform’s overall performance and usability. 

Each version update includes new modules, applications, enhancements, patches, and bug fixes targeting an improved user experience. Per convention, ServiceNow names these platform upgrades after cities, with 2023’s latest release named “Utah”

Why You Shouldn’t Delay ServiceNow Upgrades

As with many solution providers, ServiceNow phases out support for older versions of the platform over time. Currently, the policy is to support the current and previous releases only. 

This means keeping the platform up to date is critical for avoiding disruption and observing regulatory compliance. 

Along with a higher likelihood of technological failure, not upgrading can risk the security of the platform and the data within it.

However, due to the risks associated with upgrading and the lack of control over ServiceNow’s default backup and restore feature, many organizations defer upgrades beyond the recommended window.

What You Need to Know Before Upgrading ServiceNow

Upgrading to a new release is a comprehensive process involving meticulous planning, testing, and validation. 

A strong backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategy is essential when making updates to business-critical solutions such as ServiceNow. Platform updates increase the risk of data loss among other factors. 

While ServiceNow provides its own backup and restore feature, it is not fully-featured. It provides users with no control over when backups are created, meaning organizations are more likely to create unrecoverable “delta data” in between the last available backup and the update. 

Among other limitations to creating backups, it also makes the instance unavailable during the restore process. 

Fortunately, for users planning an upgrade, ServiceNow partner’s Perspectium provides DataSync Snapshot – a purpose-built, ServiceNow-native application for BDR. 

As well as a host of other benefits, Snapshot enables full control over the backup schedule and on-demand backups. This allows users to create a backup immediately prior to a platform upgrade for the most resistance against data loss. 

DataSync Snapshot benefits organization’s BDR strategies by enabling:

  • Full control over the backup schedule, including the frequency, time and the option to create backups on-demand.
  • Retain backups for as long as required (ServiceNow’s backup feature limits backup retention to 14-days by default
  • Condition-based filtering to select the data you wish to backup using ‘And’ / ‘Or’ statements.
  • Rapid backup creation and restores with no instance down-time or performance impact.
  • Full instance restore including metadata and attachments, or partial restores, selecting only what is needed.

Replacing ServiceNow’s default backup and restore feature with a purpose-built solution such as DataSync Snapshot gives organizations far more confidence when upgrading the platform. 

This leads to them being much less likely to defer upgrades due to concerns regarding disrupting operations.

How to Upgrade ServiceNow Safely: A Case Study

A leading global private bank and wealth manager reached out to Perspectium to ensure that their data was protected during a ServiceNow upgrade.

Perspectium ensured that ServiceNow data – including recent changes – were included in a backup, should the upgrade fail and the production instance need to be reverted to the previous version.

Get the case study.

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