You’ve probably heard of web crawlers (sometimes also called spiders or spiderbots). Much like real spiders scurrying around, these bots systematically scour the internet for website content. They discover and visit sites by following links in order to copy pages and process them.
The most common use case for this is internet search. Search engines like Google use bots to index sites for its results pages. But there are many other reasons to crawl pages as well. At PageFreezer, crawling technology is used to archive customers’ websites. We regularly crawl sites to ensure that any change to any page is recorded and saved. Customers can then review these chronological versions of their websites through our dashboard, which allows them to replay any version as if it were live, and also instantly identify changes to a page.
Why Organizations Archive Their Websites
Why is all this necessary? For many of our enterprise customers, it comes down to regulatory compliance. With industry regulators demanding the collection and preservation of all online communications, having an archiving solution in place is an absolute requirement. Failure to preserve records in appropriate, replayable, and verified formats can result in significant penalties.
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Lawsuits, false claims, and eDiscovery responses are also common reasons. Should someone claim that a statement appeared on a company website that didn’t, the organization has to be ready to disprove the claim. In order to do this, evidentiary-quality records of website content is needed. PageFreezer provides evidentiary-quality records by delivering archive data that is timestamped and has a digital signature, so authenticity is guaranteed.
The Challenges of Archiving Modern Web Pages
While the idea of crawling websites is nothing new, the challenges of crawling many modern pages for archiving purposes is significant. Organizations like banks, for instance, have incredibly complex websites that consist of dynamic content, password-protected pages, personalized pages, and form flows. Capturing all of this accurately purely through crawling (without the need for complicated scripting or engineering) isn’t easy.
In fact, it’s a challenge that many archiving companies struggle with. A leading global financial services firm recently signed a contract with PageFreezer after concluding that we had the only web crawling technology capable of accurately capturing its highly-personalized dynamic website for eDiscovery and regulatory compliance purposes.
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