Why Is The Cloud The Best Method To Archive Your Digital History? Essay

Your digital history is at risk, and the cloud is going to help you protect it. That may sound like scaremongering, but stick with us.

Organisations are creating new and amending existing online content all the time; using social media to share business updatese and the latest news and websites to disseminate information, resources and opinions.

But what happens to the hundreds of thousands of Facebook posts per minute, thousands of tweets per second,web pages with an average lifetime of 90 days, and billions of gigabytes of data created online each day, if we don’t do something to archive it now?

Why is my organisation’s digital history at risk?

Organisations are becoming more aware of the commercial, cultural and historical value of digital content in both the short and long term. Without the right planning and foresight, however, this digital content is at risk for a number of reasons:

Organisations are relying on technologies or formats in danger of becoming obsolete.

Issues with third-party platforms which can harm data integrity.

Relying on content management systems and backups which only provide short or medium term security.

An eye-opening example is the once world-leading social media platform, Myspace, which at its peak was attracting around 100 million monthly users, but at its end resulted in former users losing pages, messages and photos they could not get back.

It is also a difficult process finding older forms of websites and web pages – after all, search engines like Google only index the now and show the latest content.

Although most people take it as given that their content on the internet is safe, this is incorrect and action needs to be taken to protect digital communications and ensure they are made accessible in the future.

The cloud-based solution to protecting your digital history

Digital communications will form the basis of the legacy and history of 2018, and this requires a web and social archive that:

Securely stores the data and ensures it is usable for it to be most valuable.

Delivers a snapshot of a site or social media communications at a specific point in time.

Creates a permanent, unalterable record of an organisation’s digital communications at any given time.

Doing so has positive implications for private and public sector organisations as it allows them to digitally preserve their content of legacy and historical significance and companies to demonstrate compliance in regulated sectors.

Why is the cloud the best method to archive your digital history?

Archiving

Traditional archiving methods using physical hardware have their benefits but it is limited in its capabilities, and as your data storage needs grow, physical hardware could result in the need to invest more in infrastructure.

Cloud storage is a scalable, almost unlimited capacity solution that allows the unshackled option to get more storage where required.

Reliability

Physical hardware such as hard drives and servers can become overloaded or fail due to its inherent risks – the cloud provides a higher level of redundancy and supplies duplicate copies of data that can be utilised where problems arise.

If your hard drive, server or data centre go down, you can be safe in the knowledge that normal service can be resumed with minimal disruption.

Security

A cloud-native, ISO-certified digital archiving solution provides assurance that an organisation is in complete control of user access to their archives.

This has always been a key consideration but has grown in importance due to the need to protect personal data. Public sector organisations, for example, will have sensitive information of national importance that needs securing.

The strong safeguards in cloud data centres make a cloud-based solution a secure option no matter the size of your dataset.

Compliance

Companies and firms that need to meet compliance requirements, such as MiFiD II and GDPR, must record, monitor and retain all electronic communications.

This is essential to prove compliance and something that can be accomplished with cloud technology, as it provides the scalability and future-proofing crucial to demonstrating that your data has been permanently stored in an unalterable format.

Cost savings

Choosing a cloud-based web and social media archiving solution decreases a overheads from maintaining your own infrastructure, including physical space for local servers, power, etc. and hardware upgrade cycles, and the costs associated with this.

This level of flexibility can enable you to focus on improving the archive, for example by improving user interface or implementing advanced capabilities such as transferring big data for large-scale research projects.

Usability

From internal staff within your organisation to students, librarians, researchers, and other users who wish to utilise a public-facing resource, an archive needs to be usable.

Web archives contain data stored in WARC file format, and playback of these requires indexing – essentially a list of all assets within a web archive such as PDFs and HTML data.

Providing this search functionality for big data archives can be a challenge with a traditional model as it can include billions of very small items for indexing – which is why a flexible cloud-based solution is so beneficial for processing this type of data.

You can scale up or down based on your search functionality requirements, and this can also improve data quality by deduplicating pages.

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