How do you pick a Digital Forensics company?

If you are in need of Digital Forensic services, here are some things to consider when making a final choice:

  • Analyze if the computer forensics company or expert has experience in the platforms and systems that potentially fall within the scope of the investigation. There could be situations where a very competent computer forensics examiner might not be the right choice for your environment because it might be her/his first time reviewing a specific technology in your environment.
  • Assess the computer forensic team’s and company’s qualifications. There are several Digital Forensics certifications available today that are widely acknowledged and highlight expertise in forensic techniques and procedures, standards of practice, and legal/ethical principles such as:
    • PCI Forensic Investigator (PFI)
    • Encase Certified Examiner (ENCE)
    • Certified Computer Forensic Examiner (CCFE)
    • Certified Cyber Forensics Professional
    • GIAC Forensic Examiner (GCFE)
    • GIAC Forensic Analyst
    • GIAC Network Forensic Analyst
    • GIAC Advanced Smartphone Forensics
    Employees holding one or more of these certifications are well-trained in Digital Forensics services. Also look to see if the company or its employees have experience in Expert Witness Testimony.
  • Check to see if the computer forensic company has good references. Also, ask for sample deliverables of work to verify the quality.
  • Verify if the company is willing to testify in court in criminal or civil cases if necessary, before the investigation begins. This is where a company's experience in expert witness testimony can be critical.
  • Inquire into the company's infrastructure to ensure that they have a well-equipped Digital Forensics laboratory and if they regularly upgrade their software and equipment with time.

What are the legal considerations?

Computer forensic investigators must discover evidence to support or refute an allegation in a trial in a lawful manner. Legal issues include the method used to obtain the evidence, the right to access it, and the manner in which it is examined.

The investigation team needs to know what constitutes a legal search, what telecommunications can lawfully be intercepted or examined, and what privacy rights employees or others involved in the investigation possess.

There may also be situations where data resides across borders, such as in cases involving datacenters operated by a cloud service provider. In such cases, appropriate legal steps need to be followed which factor in regulations and privacy laws that apply to the other country regarding the retrieval of relevant data from their data centers.

These legal issues are the reason that forensic investigators typically work alongside the client’s General Counsel, prosecutors or outside lawyers who specialize in laws and regulations impacting their investigations.

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