News & Resources in the eDiscovery Industry

Basics of Forensic Data Collection for Lawyers

Forensic data collection is frequently used in the extraction of data across numerous technology devices to be used for forensic analysis, investigation, or review. The process of forensic data collection is an integral part of assuring admissibility in court. It is not an uncommon practice for law firms to utilize a third party for forensic data collection to avoid conflict of interest.

Forensic data may be collected from hard drives, networks, cell phones, cloud storage, social media, and communication networks. Each data source has a different level of accessibility and may present different levels of challenge for collection.

Common Questions You Should Ask About Forensic Data Collection

There are various ways to collect forensic data, including on-site collection, remote collection, cloud collection, mobile device forensic data collection, and social media. The importance lies in how and by whom the forensic data are collected for preservation. Here are common questions to ask to confirm the type of collection and proper handling:

  • How soon do the data need to be preserved?
  • What type of devices are involved?
  • Where are the devices or data located?
  • Are any of the devices encrypted?
  • What are your collection methods to preserve the chain of custody and defensibility?
  • How are the data protected?
  • What format of forensic images are you utilizing?

When to Outsource Your Forensic Data Collection Needs

Digital forensics can be vital for a case, and it’s imperative that the collection of forensic data is defensible and has a clear and unaltered chain of custody. A law firm’s internal IT team may have the appropriate equipment and capabilities to complete the forensic data collection. And yet, even with the proper equipment, it may be beneficial for the integrity of the case to outsource the forensic data collection.

Outsourcing to a third party prevents a conflict of interest in the case. Entrusting the task to a reputable forensic data collection company and its forensic experts ensures proper forensic analysis and collection practices without the risk of personal interest or prejudice.

Cloud Forensics and Beyond

Cloud forensics is one application of forensic data collection and is more complex than traditional digital forensics. Digital forensics is gathered from hard drives, software, and other resources. Cloud-based forensics involves data that may be stored on a third-party server or an off-site location, which can blur the line regarding who has the rights to the evidence.

There are several types of clouds that may be involved in an investigation:

  • Public cloud: The data are usually stored in an off-site location.
  • Private cloud: A private cloud user manages their data and security and is generally kept on site.
  • Community cloud: A community cloud is a blend of a public and private cloud. The community cloud shares its infrastructure, but the user’s data storage is kept private.
  • Hybrid cloud: A hybrid cloud allows the user to store their infrastructure on the public cloud while preserving sensitive data on their private cloud.

eDiscovery has advanced in recent years and has integration capabilities with certain cloud services, making data collection much easier.

eDiscovery Compliments Forensic Data Collection

eDiscovery is the process of identifying, collecting, preserving, and analyzing electronic information needed in a legal dispute or investigation. Discovery systems save time in compiling data and can aid in the early case assessment and discovery process.

eDiscovery services provide the capability of accessing over 400 cloud and enterprise data sources remotely while ensuring a secure chain of custody. eDiscovery is capable of targeted data collection, allowing you to focus only on the forensic data pertinent to your case. Its targeted data collection methods provide the opportunity to review the necessary data prior to collection during the early case assessment.

Additional benefits of eDiscovery include:

  • Expedites review time.
  • Forensic data collection and proper storage of mobile, offline, cloud-based, and active devices.
  • Indexes and eliminates duplicates from new forensic data collected based on the previous data.
  • Valuable reporting on mobile data collection.
  • Culling tools are used for date filtering, keyword searching, and deNISTing.
  • Legal hold solutions in one easy-to-access hub.

eDiscovery is designed to provide effective solutions to cull, collect, and preserve. To learn more about the process and the legalities involved, call Datamine Discovery today at 617-329-9530.

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