Electronic discovery (also known as e-Discovery or eDiscovery) is a type of investigation that works to discover information that is presented in an electronic format with the intent of using as evidence in a litigation. In some ways, it is similar to many computer forensic investigations where evidence is analyzed, and then reviewed using a document review platform. Documents are reviewed as its native file or as a PDF or in TIFF format, after conversion. The platform provides investigators with the ability to search large amounts of electronically stored information or ESI, at one time.
Investigations typically involve lawyers for both parties, IT professionals, forensic specialists, records managers, and more. Private investigators are often used in these situations, as electronic data discovery is a common specialty you will find among investigative professionals.
Any type. When practicing the process of electronic data discovery, any and all data types are analyzed and reviewed for litigation purposes.
Investigators may work with email messages, software programs, plain text/images, web pages, word processing files, spreadsheets, meta data, databases, backup tapes, cache memory, hard drives, CD-ROMs, thumb drives, PDAs, firewall/IDS logs, phone call logs, IM transmissions, and other types of computer and electronic data. Depending on the type of investigation, investigators may strive to recover lost files or information, trace changes to electronic files, or determine whether any electronic files were involved in cyber crimes.
Electronic data discovery investigations generally begin when a business or individual contacts a private investigator and shares their worries that something may be wrong with their electronic data.
An investigator may advise a client to take steps right away such as gather all related data files or shut down a specific computer. The investigator will visit the scene, speak with clients and/or any others involved, and carefully examine the computer system or the electronic files affected. Generally, investigations are carried out on the contents of the hard drive on a specific computer. Investigators create a digital copy of the hard drive and further investigate using the copy rather than the original, which is secured and stored in its original condition. Depending on the exact situation, an investigator may use surveillance, computer investigations, network investigations, internet use investigations, data recovery techniques, special software, and other types of techniques to gather evidence and to resolve the problem.
Unfortunately, the rate of cyber crime is rising and many companies are loose billions of dollars each year to cyber criminals and fraud. In many cases, an electronic discovery investigation is the best way to protect a company or to find evidence of wrong-doing that can lead to arrest or prosecution.
Signs that there may be something wrong with electronic data; If you lose a specific file or system, of course, you know you need an eDiscovery specialist to help you recover files that have been lost or deleted. There may be more subtle signs, though. You may notice unauthorized changes in some electronic files or data. You may notice that some employees seem to be acting suspiciously. You may notice that your computer systems seem slower or seem to be affected by hacking or a virus. If you run a company, you may notice that your company is mysteriously losing money without any paper trail to account for it. In all of these situations, a qualified electronic discovery professional can help you.
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