As technology becomes more sophisticated, it costs more time, money, and resources to collect, analyze, preserve, and present archived website data. Reviewing each data platform can be like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Plus, if you’re looking for data in the case of an audit or litigation, you’ll feel additional strain and pressure, leading to careless mistakes or missing information altogether.
Besides the amount of data, there are also different kinds of data that need to be stored in a specific way: Each piece of data on your website has a different purpose. For example, the IT department sees the relevance of the same piece of data in a way that’s different from how Human Resources sees it. This means a third party is needed to determine the true value of the data—or at least the Venn diagram of importance between departments.
Even with these obstacles, it’s crucial for organizations to find a web archiving service that meets their specific needs, especially in the case of an audit or litigation. Here are four steps you’ll need to take when choosing the best web archiving service:
1. Determine your current data sources and processes.
When you have that first meeting with a web archiving service, you’ll want to have an idea of what data you have and what data you don’t. A rough outline of this will help you in these early stages. Examine your current strategy of data collection, storage, security, and extraction processes. Consider which software options are best for you. The web archiving service, in turn, should be able to take a close, thorough look at your data and determine the best next steps.
2. Ask how the service delivers your potential web archiving solution.
If you can’t easily get to your preserved data, you’re not getting your money’s worth. There are three kinds of delivery methods that you’ll want to explore: On Premise is deployed via an enterprise application and gives you archiving services behind a corporate firewall. Then there’s On Demand, a web archiving product that allows you to perform defensible web and social media collections when needed or required. Finally, a hosted cloud solution means you can access your web content from anywhere. It’s also scalable as your data needs grow and change.
3. Be sure the solution integrates with your system.
The right web archiving service should work seamlessly with your company’s existing technology. This allows you to capture and archive data in the right format across your organization. Be sure the solution you’re reviewing has a powerful programming interface so that communication is defined between your software components.
4. Understand file formats.
You’ll want to store your data in WARC file formats, ensuring your data stays ISO 28500–compliant. It’s always better to use these WARC files instead of proprietary storage formats, which make it difficult to move your data from one platform to another. Talk about this in detail with your potential web archiving service provider, because it can save you months or even years of heartache when you have to change systems later on.
With these kinds of selection questions, you’ll determine who’s a good match for your company. You’ll take the guesswork out of your data collection, preservation, and analysis tasks, keeping yourself in compliance and allowing yourself to easily find content for a client or eDiscovery request. It will also put you ahead of your competitors, because you’ll be at the forefront of evolving web content.
Ready to see how the right web archiving software can keep you organized and in compliance? Download our Website Archiving Software Comparison Guide for more information.