The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

Facilitating a forensic search

July 26th, 2012

We are all faced with similar issues with electronic data levels increasing at an alarming rate. Not everyone has the option to invest in sophisticated technology or the necessary skills to operate such technology. I am starting to find tools that could be classed as enabling a ‘forensic search’ becoming more popular. By a ‘forensic search’, I refer to tools that are not solely for an in-depth forensic analysis, or exclusively for e-discovery purposes, but are still defensible, easy to use and cost effective.

It is often thought that an in-depth forensic analysis with sophisticated tools is the only way to navigate through large volumes of electronic information. A forensic analysis does have its merits, especially when tackling complex electronic issues, but it does not have to be the only approach.

At the same time ediscovery is not the sole purpose for many when trawling through large data volumes. I primarily work with law firms and corporate organisations, but I am now coming across numerous regulators and auditors that want to quickly and easily look at large volumes of electronic information. For them simplicity is the key, combined with the knowledge that their approach will still be defensible.

Most organisations do not have the expertise or tools to conduct an in-depth forensic analysis, or in fact conduct an ediscovery exercise accurately, efficiently and cost effectively. I will talk in a later post about the importance of employing the right resources if work is going to be conducted in-house.

One of the main problems with some technology is that it is too complicated to use, when people do not have the time to spend hours training with the products. The end result is that firms often endeavour to tackle the issue themselves, without any appropriate software or expertise, which usually ends up being a complete nightmare. This is when an exercise becomes unnecessarily expensive as you have to spend considerable time in sorting the issues caused by this approach.

Removing all the irrelevant information is the main issue when navigating large volumes of electronic information. Tools that allow the ability to ‘slice and dice’ the information, essentially narrowing down to the important information is essential for any legal or regulatory exercise. If required, a specialist document review tool can then be used to review the important information for electronic discovery, or complex investigations.

Like any exercise it is worth putting in enough thought at the outset, to plan the best strategy and the appropriate tools that can assist this process. The time invested at the outset in planning the exercise will be realised in minimising the eventual costs in the long run.

No one right tool !

Like all technology in the ediscovery/forensic world, there is not one tool right for every situation, so it is always essential to get advice on the best technology to meet your requirements.

We are all under pressure to do our jobs quicker, cheaper and more efficiently. To achieve this it is essential to utilise technology and processes that makes the work of those using it more productive and efficient.  The key to all of these tools is simplicity and making their availability more mainstream, instead of only being able to be operated by a select few. Some of these forensic search tools may be able to assist this process.


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