How can I achieve the following scenario:
- General users are unable to delete sites.
- Site/Site Collection backup needs to be taken before it's deleted by admin users anywhere in the sharepoint web farm.
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Only those users with elevated privileges of the Owners group or Site Collection Administrators can even see the Site Actions menu to delete, but for those users you can implement the following CodePlex project from Microsoft to take a 'Recycle Bin' snapshot of the site for posterity.
This will cover Site deleting. For Site Collections you would want to look to either 3rd party tools or creating a C#/Powershell daily or weekly snapshot solution.
You can always save the Site coll as template using Site Settings > Site Actions > Save site as a template. Choose to include the content. Then go to the Solution gallery and save the template to disk. This is a WSP file that can be uploaded to another Solution gallery to recreate the site or deassembled using Visual Studio.