Using production data in staging environments
There are three approaches to sharing data between environments:
Share your production database with the staging application, which would allow read/write access to the database from your staging enviroment. In this scenario, we strongly urge you to plan for how you will avoid writing test or junk data to your production database.
Setup a master/slave database on the production environment and connect to the slave from the staging environment.
Use the database import feature to copy your production database to the staging database. This is the safest alternative, as you’re not working directly with your production database.