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Electronic Data Discovery

What is electronic data discovery?

Electronic discovery (also known as e-Discovery or eDiscovery) is a type of investigation that locates digital information with the intent of using it as evidence in a litigation.

In some ways, it is similar to many computer forensic investigations where evidence is analyzed and reviewed using a document review platform. Documents are reviewed in its native file, as a PDF, or in TIFF format after conversion. The platform provides investigators with the ability to search through large amounts of electronically stored information, or ESI, quickly and efficiently.

What types of electronic data are used during an investigation?

When practicing the process of electronic data discovery, any and all data types are analyzed and reviewed for litigation purposes. To name a few:

  • Email messages
  • Software programs
  • Plain text/images
  • Web pages
  • Word processing files
  • Spreadsheets
  • Metadata
  • Databases
  • Backup Tapes
  • Cache memory
  • Hard drives
  • CD-ROMs
  • Thumb drives
  • PDAs
  • Firewall/IDS logs
  • Phone call logs
  • IM transmissions

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.

Who is involved in performing an electronic data investigation?

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.

What happens during electronic data discovery investigations?

Electronic data discovery investigations generally begin when a business or individual contacts a private investigator and expresses the concern that something is 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 or others involved, and carefully examine the computer system or the electronic files affected. Generally, investigations revolve around 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 investigation, network investigation, internet use investigation, data recovery techniques, special software, and other types of techniques to gather evidence and resolve the problem.

How do I know if I need an eDiscovery investigation?

Unfortunately, the rate of cybercrime is rising and many companies are losing 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 wrongdoing that can lead to arrest or prosecution.

Signs that there may be something wrong with your electronic data:

  • Unauthorized changes in some electronic files or data
  • Employees acting suspiciously
  • The computer systems seem slower or seem affected by hacking or a virus
  • 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. Even if you simply lose a specific file or system, an eDiscovery specialist can help you recover files that have been lost or deleted.

Electronic Date Discovery Articles

Use the search utility on the top of this page or select from a state listed below to find an electronic data discovery investigator, or give us a call at (888) 997-4669.

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