When it Comes to Collecting SaaS Data for Ediscovery, APIs May Not Be Enough

| June 22 2022

Software as a Service (SaaS) applications have experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years, and this trend is continuing. In fact, one source states that at the end of 2021, 99% of organizations were using one or more SaaS solutions. According to the 2020 SaaS Trends Report conducted by Blisfully, medium and large enterprises with employees ranging from 100-1000+ employees, used on average 288 different applications within their organization. More significantly, there is a 60% app turnover rate, meaning new data sources are continually introduced into an organization’s enterprise data landscape.

With the growth of SaaS applications, many legal and compliance teams, as well as the software and service providers that support them, have mostly relied on APIs to preserve and gain access to the data held within enterprise SaaS systems.

What is an API and How Do Legal Departments Use Them

API stands for Application Programming Interfaces; these interfaces create a connection between their native format and other software to share information with an outside program while keeping internal details of its system hidden. APIs may be custom-built for a specific pair of systems or created to allow for interoperability.

APIs are a useful way of connecting with data sources, but with the rapid pace of new SaaS applications being adopted at the enterprise level (including tools for project management, human resources and payroll, ticketing, customer relationship management, and communication) waiting for purpose-built APIs for ediscovery and compliance can put organizations at risk. That’s why solutions with dynamic mapping technology can bridge the gap between API limitations and complex data sources for a future-proof approach.

What is Dynamic Capture Technology and How Can it Help?

Sometimes referred to as crawling and scraping, dynamic capture tools combine to preserve website and application data as it appears live on a website. Crawlers capture all of the pages from a single domain, and then scrapers extract predefined data fields from those pages.

For ediscovery and compliance, this technology stores data in a forensically-sound, unalterable way that provides a complete audit trail – including the hash value for the collection in the metadata  – demonstrating a defensible process.

But the real benefit comes from reviewing and interacting with the archived application interface, which gives full context to the data and offers users insights that might not be available through an API or JSON export.

When coupled with advanced search and data visualization tools, this technology provides a strong solution for managing SaaS and collaboration data for ediscovery and regulatory compliance.

It really is the best of both worlds: for applications that have strong APIs, dynamic mapping technology can drill down into the data quickly and accurately to help understand more about your data structure; and for those applications with limited APIs (or none at all), dynamic capture provides access to complex data sources which were previously difficult to defensively collect.

Ediscovery and compliance are no longer reactive endeavors. Organizations must be proactive in order to mitigate legal and regulatory risk, and waiting for the perfect API for all of your data sources isn’t a sustainable option. Legal and compliance teams need a solution that can capture the required data from the myriad and ever-growing onslaught of SaaS applications in today’s enterprise technology stack. Without it, demonstrating regulatory compliance and accurately meeting discovery requests will continue to be a challenge.

Want to explore more about defensible SaaS data capture? Download The Guide to Modern SaaS Preservation!

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