The aim of this article is to inform a company’s General Counsel of some of the ways in which their firm would be open to online litigation and compliance issues. We’ll also take a look at how one can prevent these problems from developing in the first place and the role web archiving can play.
Follow the rules
It is important that you ensure that the company is protected online, from both a build and brand point of view. The best way of doing this is to have a safe, securely built site that complies with current regulations. The latter is important because your website may have been well-designed and built, but one breach of compliance or complaint can throw away all that good work.
The consequences of either of the above can be severe, whether it be a heavy fine or loss of your firm’s reputation. A fine may hurt your finances badly, but a loss of your companies’ good reputation may be even more damaging, as customers decide to take their money elsewhere.
For more on compliance and how web archiving can help, take a look at our white paper on the subject: http://www.hanzoarchives.com/resources/web-archiving-for-compliance-white-paper/.
Common mistakes to avoid
The pitfalls that many businesses encounter include breaches of consumer protection regulations. For example, you could be defending a complaint made to a body such as the Trading Standards Agency about your website. The complaint could refer to historic content on the site that is not currently on it. They could be referring to misleading description of a product that you no longer sell and you will need to prove that it was not misleading.
Several companies have also broke with compliance over failing to ensure that a customers personal data has been protected. This could be due to a customers personal and/or financial details being leaked or sold to a third party. If a customer’s details fall into the hands of a criminal, then your company could be in serious trouble!
Another common problem that befalls e-commerce businesses in particular, is that of failing to comply with forming a standard contract. If the contract between you and a customer is not legally above board, you could find yourself facing a whole raft of litigation coming your way.
Prevention AND preservation is better than a cure
So how do you defend yourself and the company in these situations? In these cases, prevention is definitely better than a cure. Ensure that your companies’ website (if it is an e-Commerce site) can handle financial transactions safely and securely. Make sure it follows compliance rules to the letter. With these precautions in place, the likelihood of your company falling foul of litigation and compliance issues will be greatly reduced.
However if your firm does face legal action, you will need to be prepared. Think back to the example we looked at earlier of a complaint being made about historic content on a website. Do you have a genuine copy of that web page? If you have a web archive, you can produce it.
Furthermore a full archive of your website will provide defences against the other common complaints we looked at earlier. It can demonstrate that no personal data was accessible through the site. An archive of your buying process, your standard terms, etc. lets you check prevailing terms from any point in the past, allowing a quick response to any complaints.
For an in-depth look at archiving and eDiscovery, refer to our white paper which can be found here: http://www.hanzoarchives.com/resources/web-archiving-for-ediscovery-white-paper/
Hanzo can offer you products that can archive your companies old website content as well as social media content too. Get in contact with us to discuss your web-archiving needs.