Blog: Salesforce Field History Tracking & History Retention Policies

Posted by Pete Thurston
Pete Thurston”

Salesforce Field Audit Trail - Field History Tracking & History Retention Policies

RevCult continues to help companies in highly regulated industries (Financial Services, HLS, Consumer Goods, etc.) grow on the Salesforce platform while ensuring their data is properly protected. We are proud to offer more value to clients with our new Premium version of Field Audit Trial Cockpit, the User Interface for Salesforce Field Audit Trial.

Before we dive into the details of the Premium version, let's take a step back and provide some context on the importance of Field Audit Trail.

What is Salesforce Field Audit Trail?

Most companies in highly regulated industries have carefully defined and articulated Data Retention Policies (established protocols for retaining information for operational or regulatory compliance needs). Laws and regulations often require companies to archive their data for auditing purposes or keep records for a specific number of years (image below for examples). 

data retention policies by regulation


Salesforce created Field Audit Trail to allow clients to configure and enforce History Retention Policies for their Salesforce record change data. Field Audit Trail is one of the three components of Salesforce Shield (Salesforce's premium security products).

Shield Overview with 3 components-03-03

Field Audit Trail allows you to:

1. Retain “online” History records (those that appear in the record’s History Related List on the page layout) for a shorter duration

  • Standard Field History tracking retains that information for 18 months; with Field Audit Trail, you can modify that retention period (per object) to anything from 1-18 months

2. Retain “archived” History records for up to 10 years

  • You can define this retention period (per object) for anything from 0-10 years
  • Out of the box History Tracking does not store anything anywhere past 18 months

3. Track more fields per object than the standard (out-of-the-box) Field History Tracking feature

  • You can track up to 60 fields per object instead of only 20
field audit trail- with and without

With standard Field History Tracking in Salesforce, you set a field to be tracked on the object, a User modifies a value, and Salesforce copies down the Old and New Values to a History table related to the main object. After 18 months, that historical information goes away. *As of Feb 2019 Salesforce began enforcing this 18 month retention policy. Data will no longer be stored longer than 18 months, UNLESS you have Field Audit Trail.

With Standard Field History Tracking:

Field Audit Trail - Data Retention Graphics-02

With Field Audit Trail:

Field Audit Trail - Data Retention Graphics-01

One of the things FAT adds to the equation is an Archive table (leveraging the new BigObject technology on the Salesforce platform) where historical information will be copied over to instead of just being deleted.

  • Defining *BigObjects*: Salesforce created BigObjects to allow clients to store as much data as they want without impacting performance (like this use case). BigObjects provide a place to put massive amounts of data without needing to offload it to another system, making vast historical archive data readily available directly on the Platform.

You'll notice that the picture says "X Months". This is because FAT also provides the ability to configure how long you want to keep that historical information in the online History table. Many organizations prefer that the information be stored in a user-accessible fashion for far shorter than 18 months, so old information isn't distracting.

After a configurable number of YEARS, the information will be truncated from the system. By default, this is 10 years, but again - many of our customers (and in particular their legal departments) prefer that information be removed from the system far earlier than that.

So, what's this got to do with Field Audit Trail Cockpit - Premium?

'19 App Exchange Logos - Field Audit Trail Cockpit-Premium


Glad you asked. We originally created Field Audit Trail Cockpit because FAT didn't have a user interface. We provided you the ability to easily configure your retention policies with clicks, not code all within the cockpit (image below).


fatc history retention policy manager screenshot-07


Clients loved it; and asked for more. They wanted to easily access full Field Audit Trail history and archived information over time, by field and by user. They also needed the ability to quickly and easily export this information to support requests from compliance and legal teams.

Until now, to fulfill these requests, our clients needed to work with Asynchronous SOQL and staging SObjects to get the information to an accessible point, then manually clean and maintain those staging tables and processes. We were sure we could find an easier way, so in the spirit of RevCult’s mantra “create elegantly simple solutions to complex problems”, our product team extended the existing Field Audit Trail Cockpit to include two new ways to get at this information.

 For administrators, who just need to address one-off requests for full history, we have added the Field History Explorer, which allows a user to search for a single record (or just paste in the Id of the record) and see the FULL history (both online and offline Archived history information) through three lenses. You can view this information over time, by field or by user who made the changes. This data is fully exportable from the system in a ready-to-deliver CSV file.

fatc- field history explorer - screenshot--08

 Then several of our customers expressed User concerns about not being able to see the full history directly on the record, so we’ve extended this feature even further, allowing you to replace the History related list either in Lightning Experience or Classic UI with our embeddable version of the Field History Explorer, which does not include the export feature and removes the requirement to manually search for a record.


So there you have it - our newest product for Salesforce Field Audit Trail! 

Get a demo or request more information.



Topics: Salesforce Shield

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