Confused by data versus metadata? Organizations go to great lengths to manage and protect their data. However, understanding of metadata often slips through the cracks. This can be dangerous for organizations because there are specific steps you must take to protect this type of data. Want to demystify metadata? Curious about how you can keep all of your organization’s data secure? In this post, we’ll answer the question: What is salesforce metadata? We’ll also give you tips on how to manage it.

What is Salesforce metadata?

The definition of is: is a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. In other words, metadata is information that describes the configuration of your organization. This also helps your users navigate the environment more quickly. Admins and developers can also use metadata to customize your Org, and tailor it with settings that will work best for your team. Understanding the differences is key because it’s critical to ensuring that your organization’s backup and recovery strategy covers both types.

What types of data are considered Salesforce metadata?

As you’ll see below, there’s a long list of metadata types inside of Salesforce. As of the time of this writing, here’s the list of metadata types:






















CompanySettings Community (Zone) 

CompactLayout ConnectedApp 











CustomTab Dashboard








 FieldSet FlexiPage 

Flow Folder 









Layout Letterhead










 NamedFilter Network 



OwnerSharingRule Package

 PermissionSet Picklist (Including Dependent Picklist)

 Portal PostTemplate 

ProductSettings Profile

 Queue QuickAction






Role SamlSsoConfig









Skill StaticResource

Territory Translations 


Weblink Workflow

Overwhelmed by it all? There are a lot of different kinds of data that fall into this category. As a result, your business is putting a lot at risk if you don’t know how to manage this data well. Your organization may not use all of these data types, but even losing some of this data and your configurations can create headaches.

There are also custom metadata types that organizations can leverage, according to Salesforce

For example, this source shows you can use custom metadata types for the following.

shows you can use custom metadata types for the following.

  • Mappings—Create associations between different objects, such as a custom metadata type that assigns cities, states, or provinces to particular regions in a country.
  • Business rules—Combine configuration records with custom functionality. Use custom metadata types along with some Apex code to route payments to the correct endpoint.
  • Master data—For example, let’s say that your org uses a standard accounting app. Create a custom metadata type that defines custom charges, like duties and VAT rates. If you include this type as part of an extension package, subscriber orgs can reference the master data.
  • Whitelists—Manage lists, such as approved donors and pre-approved vendors.
  • Secrets—Store information, similar to API keys, in your protected custom metadata types within a package.

Why would you want to keep your metadata secure?

It’s easy for users to accidentally delete data. The same can also be said for admins and developers. The truth is, we all make mistakes, and deleting metadata accidentally can have a chaotropic impact. Changes to page layouts, dashboards, and other formatting are usually not reversible. So, if that data is not secure, your organization will have limited options to get it back.

Beyond that, just like your customer data, metadata is often in a state of change. As your internal processes shift, it’s likely that users with advanced permissions will also change your metadata. As a result, if you can’t roll back to previous versions in the event of data loss, you’ll lose all of that work and progress.

Keeping your metadata secure also allows you to recover it more easily in the event of data loss or accidental deletion. This keeps your dashboard, reports, objects and more safe. That way, you won’t have to re-configure them later. It also allows you to recover your metadata in the event that a deployment goes wrong.

What will happen if you lose metadata?

If you lose your Salesforce metadata, it may take your team hours or even days to reconfigure this data for your organization. Remember, this is data that describes data, so it’s a key part of the way that users navigate your Salesforce Org. 

If you lose Salesforce metadata and you don’t have a backup and recovery strategy in place, it’s unlikely that you’ll get that data back. The Salesforce data recovery service is also costly. However, it doesn’t include metadata. It only includes customer data. This means that on top of paying the high fee for recovering data, it would still require extra time and money for your organization to get all your data back.

How can you back-up or recover metadata?

Salesforce recommends the use of a third-party tool to protect your metadata. Many of these solutions can be found via the AppExchange. These tools will allow your organization to keep your data secure. They also help you avoid the fees that come with Salesforce data recovery. As your organization starts to review solutions, however, it’s important to compare the features of each one individually. Then, you should ensure that the solution you choose covers metadata. You can also look for other features that would be useful to your organization, such as automatic data backups.

Want to protect your Salesforce metadata?

Traditional backup and recovery methods won’t restore your metadata, but metadata loss is preventable. Therefore, your organization needs a third-party solution to protect this data. However, not all backup and recovery solutions are created equal. Reflection Enterprise is an integral part of backup strategies worldwide. Using our solution, you can also automatically back up data and recover it in one click. In addition, you can install our solution in just a few steps. If you need help, our support team is also just one message away. Ready to see what Reflection can do for you? You can request a demo or get started right now with a free trial.

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