Your data is yours. We really mean it.
Let's say you want to stop using Populi and you need your data imported into another system. Populi lets you download your core data once every 24 hours from Account > Backups. The backup file includes:
- Academics—everything from transcripts to transfer credits, from course lessons to the course catalog
- Financial transactions—invoices, payments, financial aid, and donations
- Admissions applications and all the information you have for your leads
- All the people in your system together with all their contact and other personal info
- Your entire Bookstore and Library
Here's how you (well, your school's account administrator) can get your data out of Populi:
1. Go to Account > Backups
After logging in, click Account and then go to Backups. If it has been more than 24 hours since your school last retrieved this file, you can click Request a Backup.
Before creating the backup file, Populi asks you to confirm that you want to do this. Remember: this file contains a bunch of sensitive data—academic records, financial information, Social Security numbers, and a lot more! You'll want to take special care with this file, and this confirmation is one part of that.
3. Wait and download
The backup file can be pretty big and so it may take a little while to generate it (up to several hours). The moment the file is complete, Populi sends you an email. Once you receive the email, go to Account > Backups and download the file.
(You can also use the API to download data backups—see the API documentation for details)...
And that's it! The backup file with all your Populi data is in your hands, no strings attached. You can keep your own secure backups (in addition to ours) or load it into your school's new system... or whatever else you might need.
We’ve worked with a lot of schools that needed to get their legacy data from their old system. Many software companies really made them work for it. Some didn’t provide backups in the first place—they had to improvise a way to extract the data from their system. Others provided data that was missing crucial items (transfer credits, anything entered before 1996, you name it). Some had “business” in mind and charged schools to retrieve their data. One avaricious outfit compels their schools to sign another year-long contract!
Lock-in tactics range from the lazy to the vile. Our business plan—no long-term contracts, month-to-month billing, customers can cancel any time—means we have to win back all our customers every month. Free, no-strings-attached, comprehensive data backups mean we’ve made it easy to leave, and that we’ve got work to do if we want you to stay.
Update (June 8, 2016)
We’ve been asked about how the backups you can download relate to the regular data backups we already perform. Here’s the low-down:
- There are two kinds of backups: Customer-requested, which are what is described above; and our Regular backups, which we automatically perform on an ongoing basis.
- Regular backups are securely stored in a separate location and are meant to restore your data in case of emergency and provide historical data “snapshots” for various uses. Customer-requested backups are meant for your own needs and uses.
- We perform these backups as follows: Hourly backups for 36 hours, daily for two weeks, weekly for 30 weeks, and monthly for 10 years. Each backup is a complete copy of everything in your Populi database; there are up to 200 backups per customer. See Update below for the changes we made to comply with GDPR.
- Think of it like an actively-curated photo album: At any given moment, this photo album contains 36 pictures of the last two days, 14 of the last two weeks, 30 of the last 30 weeks, and 120 of the last ten years. As time moves on, a portion of your older snapshots are deleted, but new ones are always being added.
- We keep your data around as long as you’re a customer; if you cancel your use of Populi, we delete your archived data after 90 days.
Update (February 4, 2019)
This post describes the updates we made to comply with the European Union's GDPR. In light of those changes, here's how we now handle Regular backups:
- Hourly backups are performed for 36 hours, daily for two weeks, and weekly for 26 weeks.
- All backup data is hard-deleted after 26 weeks; it takes an additional 26 weeks to fully purge all old backup data.
- GDPR allows Populi to retain data connected to academic or financial information for various purposes (complying with an audit or subpoena, for example). Such data is never hard-deleted.