Thanks to remote work and new collaboration technologies, it is now possible to work much more flexibly. However, this comes with a downside: As the amount of data outside the corporate network increases and data becomes more distributed, finding information becomes time-consuming and complex. Data forensic scientists encounter various challenges.
Thanks to remote work and new collaboration technologies, it is now possible to work much more flexibly. However, this comes with a downside: As the amount of data outside the corporate network increases and data becomes more distributed, finding information becomes time-consuming and complex.
More and more processes, transactions and communication channels are taking place digitally. Therefore, data and digital documents are becoming increasingly crucial for clarifying legal cases. Among other things, they are used to analyze action patterns or provide evidence of criminal activities. To use them effectively, companies must first find them on servers, (mobile) devices or in the cloud and extract them in a way that can be used in court.
Data forensics plays an essential role in this. As part of IT forensics, it primarily deals with unstructured data stored on IT systems. Electronic documents and e-mails serve as the largest and most important sources of information here. Thanks to modern technologies, companies can efficiently search even extensive databases within seconds and bring specific content to light.
Data Forensic Scientists Face A Variety Of Challenges
In the context of data forensics, the investigative teams responsible often encounter obstacles. First, the legal basis stipulates, among other things, that you must involve the works council in the event of upcoming digital investigations. In addition, their work, which sometimes involves sensitive content, requires them to comply with applicable data protection laws.
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In addition, it has been shown that the increasing spread of remote work significantly restricts the creation of data forensic scientists. On the one hand, this is because employees working from home do not store data in the cloud or networked workspaces but locally on their computers. They often use personal devices for work because their employers lack the means to provide them with the necessary hardware, such as laptops. On the other hand, more collaboration tools are used to facilitate communication and cooperation between the distributed teams. As a result, the volume of broadcast data and information outside the corporate network is increasing, making it difficult to search through records and locate relevant information.
The increasing number of legal requirements and the economic pressure in legal matters prompt companies to optimize the processes associated with data forensics continuously. Not only remote work but also information governance can be a hindrance.
Adjusting Information Governance Policies Is Becoming More Critical
Even though remote work is now an established standard in many companies, the proper legal basis for information management and data forensics is essential. This requires companies to review and adapt specific policies to circumstances arising from new work models and changing work environments. Data protection and privacy and using private laptops or mobile devices play an important part in this policy adjustment. Information governance also plays an essential role here.
Companies should therefore invest appropriate resources in a good information governance strategy. You benefit from a transparent overview of access to data, its use and storage locations on the one hand, and ownership, liability and control (possession, custody and control – PCC for short). The latter is particularly important for legal matters.
The adaptation of company guidelines in connection with information governance depends on the extent to which companies have previously devoted themselves to this topic and implemented corresponding policies. Various factors play into this development and adaptation process: the use of personal devices and the GDPR-compliant handling of confidential information, the question and definition of data owners and the procedure for data collection.
The Interaction Of Expertise And Technologies
Before a forensic investigation can begin, investigators must ensure that the work complies with all data protection and labor law requirements. It is the company’s task to demonstrate both legitimate interest and valid reasons that legitimize the interference with the privacy of affected employees. At the same time, the works council should be involved in the investigation plans at an early stage.
Within the data forensics framework, the responsible investigators’ main tasks include the professional securing of documents and their verification. It is essential to adhere to the chain of custody so that the relevant information can be used in court. This means that within a complex environment, connections must be made between data points that do not appear to be related at first glance. For this task, internal teams and law firms must be able to work closely together and exchange data. On the other hand, qualified internal or external investigators are needed. These ensure that data forensics are implemented efficiently and in compliance with the specifications. In the course of this, the experts identify previously hidden information,
Investigators can also use modern technologies such as analytics tools to increase the chances of success of forensic data investigations. They offer extensive functions to analyze and evaluate data. Because they can identify data and patterns in near real-time, even the most prominent mountains of data can be efficiently searched for relevant content. For example, communications analytics tools can also help search through pseudonymous e-mail histories for content and to work out the appropriate information sought.
For data forensics to function smoothly even with widely distributed, growing mountains of data, the investigative team responsible must meet several requirements. On the one hand, the team should be interdisciplinary to cover the necessary know-how about the complex legal basis and technology.
On the other hand, the team must be given full access to relevant information. In addition, companies must regularly reassess their information governance guidelines and adapt them to the current working conditions to maintain overview and control of business data.