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Online Records Retention

5 Tips For Online Records Retention

How is your business dealing with the issue of digital record-keeping and online document security? Do you feel confident that you could present your records as authentic evidence to a regulator or judge? How quickly could you locate and obtain particular records or web pages if you were asked to produce them? These are the hard questions that smart businesses will ask themselves in the midst of rapidly changing digital world. Financial companies, publicly traded companies, and even governments must recognize the need for retention solutions that are up-to-speed with today’s new technologies (also the new regulations and demands that accompany them.) If your online back-up plan needs an overhaul, keep these points in mind during the remodeling.

1. Fragmention is not your friend.

Document management and compliance experts say when it comes to digital records, companies can get bogged down in narrow issues rather than looking at the big picture. Backup systems, software options, and other management solutions can be distracting from a focus on the overall flow and efficiency of the company. Here’s the deal: you’ve got lots of online content. It all needs to be preserved impeccably if you’re to remain both compliant (to records laws) and prepared (for legal situations).  PageFreezer speaks to that comprehensive approach by providing regular and secure archiving of all your online activity — as much or as little as you specify. No fragmentation — just seamless, automatic preservation of your records.

2. Regulation compliance may not be enough.

While it’s nice to know you’re in line with SOX, SEC, or FINRA requirements, bear in mind that the risk of litigation against your company is a pressing issue that must be addressed.  Many companies mistakenly believe that being in compliance with records retention laws automatically means their records won’t be challenged in court. Not so! As noted by Financial Advisor Magazine in an article on the subject, courts are increasingly questioning the validity of digital records.

A stunning example of this is the 2005 case of Vee Vinhee vs. American Express Travel Related Services Company Inc. — in which Vinhee (who was filing bankruptcy while owing over $40,000 to AmEx) won his case without legal representation and without even attending the trial. Amex lost because the company rested its case on its internal computer records, which could not be proven authentic to the satisfaction of the court.

3. You have the burden of proof.

The example above highlights the fact that companies are being held responsible for proving the authenticity of their records. The court must be convinced of the fact that the records have not been tampered with. According to Judge Christopher Klein (in his comments on the Vinhee case), the key issue is that the record is what it purports to be.  Is your business prepared to shoulder the burden of proof in court? It’s not such a burden when you utilize PageFreezer — we put a digital signature and timestamp on every page to assure data integrity and authenticity. Plus, we employ powerful search features that help you find the exact records you need, when you need them.

4. Better safe than sorry.

Another case concerning the admissibility of online records was that of Lorraine vs. Markel American Insurance Company (dated May 4, 2007).  This suit dealt with lightening damage to a yacht that was owned by Jack Lorraine and insured by Marckel. Both sides presented e-mail evidence to support their claims, but the submissions were rejected by Chief U. S. Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm. He said they failed to meet the FRE standards for admissible evidence. It was a landmark ruling in the arena of digital evidence. Grimm noted in his statement about the ruling, if it is critical to the success of your case to admit into evidence computer-stored records, it would be prudent to plan to authenticate the records by the most rigorous standards that may be applied. In other words, better safe than sorry! Choose the safe route — PageFreezer preserves your archives according to the highest standards possible.

5. Delegate — and breathe easier.

The whole issue of online records retention can be a real headache in today’s ever-changing technological climate. Companies drive themselves crazy trying to stay on top of the regulations and requirements! Don’t underestimate the peace of mind that comes with delegating this matter to a reliable outside service like PageFreezer. We handle the technology and shoulder the responsibility of maintaining perfect records for your business because you have other things to do. Feel free to do them while we archive your websites — keeping your company informed, compliant, and prepared.

Social media mistakes

Is your company making the worst social media mistake?

social-logos-glow

We know.  Social media has grown so quickly, been adopted so widely and become so universally recognized as a viable means of online communication for businesses . . . it has left your company’s proverbial head spinning.  Keeping a lid on employees’ personal usage of social media at work is hard enough.  And now, across industries, organizations are creating their own social media presence, often without a clear idea of how to balance risks and rewards.  How were you supposed to keep up with it all?

Hopefully, you have thus far avoided the major pitfalls that can come with adopting social media as an organization — embarrassing PR gaffes, compliance issues, or legal tussles — but is your company committing the worst social media blunder of all?  To avoid this one supreme mistake is to avoid dozens of other potential disasters.

It is the mistake of embarking on social media as a company — without a social media policy.  No clear guidance for personnel on how to engage with the public on behalf of the company, or how to maintain their personal social media activity in a way that upholds the company image.  No outline of the legal do’s and don’ts; no suggestions for creating worthwhile content.  And a staggering 76% of companies make this mistake, according to a recent study.

We understand that many organizations have been taken unawares by the social media storm.  But investing time in developing a good social media policy will pay great dividends by allowing your online communications to flourish without the worry of legal or public relations disasters.  A social media policy doesn’t have to be complicated.  Certain industries will have more to cover than others, but in general you simply need to outline that social media content from your company should remain respectful, honest, law-abiding, and relevant.

Make it easy on yourself by downloading one of these Social Media Policy templates — a variety of examples to choose from — and tailor it to fit the needs of your organization.  Also, check out these helpful tips on developing a good social media policy.  There’s no reason to proceed any further in your social media journey without the security of a policy to keep everything legit.  It won’t solve all your problems, but it will prevent a good many of them!

Don’t forget that in addition to your policy which directs the use of social media within the organization, you will also need to have a plan for preserving your social media records since they are part of your business records.  Copies of your social media activity may be requested for litigation or regulatory purposes, especially if you are in the financial, pharma, government, or legal industry!  But we’ve talked about that elsewhere.

Prevent problems with social media usage before they start.  Develop a social media policy that’s simple and clear, allowing your personnel the freedom to represent your company online within parameters that will keep everyone in the conversation . . . and out of trouble.

PageFreezer tops “Archival Acid Test”

Web archiving continues to be a critical issue as companies and organizations search for the most foolproof methods of preserving their online content. There are numerous tools and services out there, but how can you be sure which one can stand up to its claims? The primary concern is that an archived page with complex content can be very hard to capture and replay perfectly.

To investigate the strengths and weaknesses of various archiving tools, the Web Science and Digital Libraries Research Group at Old Dominion University developed an “Archival Acid Test”. The test evaluates features which modern browsers execute well, but preservation tools often have trouble handling (such as Javascript, CSS, and HTML5 content). The researchers tested five web archiving services – Archive.org, Archive.is, Mummify.it (no longer functional), Perma.cc, and WebCite – along with the archiving tools Heritrix, WARCreate, and GNU Wget. The findings were published by the University in a paper, which revealed that none of the tools tested were able to fully render a captured version of the elements that displayed perfectly in a live web browser (such as Chrome).

Since PageFreezer is industry-leading in its ability to capture and replay web content, we asked the group to put our service to the test. The results were telling – PageFreezer was the only tool to pass every requirement, even advanced features!

PageFreezer archiving acid test graphWhen you are using PageFreezer, you can be confident that you are working with the most advanced website archiving solution available. It makes PageFreezer a smart choice for regulatory compliance and other cases where accuracy and completeness are critical.

Archives on Demand

At PageFreezer, we believe in making website archiving easy. Really easy. That’s why we developed a user interface that puts you in charge. You can manage, edit, and fine-tune your archives without having to contact customer service or put in a request. The power is yours!

We even made it possible for you to create an instant archive of your website (or social media page) anytime you choose. This handy-dandy feature puts you in control and allows you to…

  • Save storage space. If your website doesn’t change frequently, you may choose to capture it only once per day or week. This helps you save storage space (and money). With archiving-on-demand available, you don’t have to worry about altering your archiving schedule if sudden changes are made to your site. Just take an instant snapshot and you’re good to go.

  • Be prepared for anything. Many companies archive their sites for litigation protection or regulatory compliance. If you suddenly need to produce a current copy of your website, you can do so easily, with no wait time.

  • Confidently update your website. Suppose you are working on an entirely new website, or doing a major overhaul of the one you have. You can feel confident about changing content when an instant archive is always available. This also goes for temporary pages or when you need to delete comments off your blog or social media page. No need to wait for the next regularly scheduled capture — just archive instantly and proceed with confidence!

On-demand archiving is simple to use. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Log into your PageFreezer account

  2. Find the website you wish to capture and click “edit” on the right

  3. At the bottom of the Settings page, click “Advanced”

  4. That little button that says ARCHIVE NOW — click it!

Ta-da! Instant archive. You get a fully functional copy of your site as it exists right now, that stands as admissible evidence in court. Plus, you get that peaceful feeling that you have covered your bases before making changes to your site. And it happened with a few simple clicks. Now that was easy!