Digital evidence is crucial to any inquiry in today’s high-tech world. Digital evidence is growing dramatically in quantity. Digital evidence is undoubtedly a key component in resolving criminal cases, but it is more brittle and susceptible to manipulation.
Courts demand reliable digital evidence that hasn’t been altered. Therefore, it is crucial to secure digital evidence at every stage, from gathering it to using it in court cases and prosecution.
Corporate HR and IT departments are finding that they need to handle evidence for internal investigations of data theft and violations of the permitted use. The gathering of data is something that other businesses are interested in doing to examine the success of their security systems.
More systematic evidence management can help all these businesses, but many are still learning the best techniques utilized by law enforcement.
Increasing Importance of Digital Evidence Management
The market for these management services, which are in high demand, is anticipated to expand to $9.68 billion by the end of 2022. This is partly because evidence management has experienced mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) technology issues.
Mobile technologies have muddled the distinction between what constitutes physical and digital evidence. Smartphones, for instance, may have relevant images stored locally, be able to access files on the cloud, and save fingerprint or other trace evidence.
Physical and digital evidence can already be managed separately in many law enforcement organizations and private businesses. To control them collectively, they now require sturdy instruments.
What Are The Best Practices for Digital Evidence Management?
Government organizations now routinely offer advice on the best ways to preserve digital evidence since managing digital evidence has become so important to legal and business concerns.
The following are a few best practices for secure digital evidence management:
Have An Appropriate System In Place
Ensuring your digital evidence management system is of excellent caliber should be your first concern. For instance, Clearance by Genetec is a perfect system to consider. These solutions make it simple to arrange your evidence, transfer data more safely and efficiently, and keep things generally organized.
Additionally, regularly audit your system to ensure it supports all devices and brand-new storage options. Technology develops tremendously quickly, and new best practices are constantly being found. So keep that in mind.
Without a system that streamlines and centralizes everything, attempting to do all this would be very difficult and make maintaining order impossible. It is advisable to avoid disorganized evidence entirely, as it can cause numerous issues in the future.
Secure Devices & Maintain Digital Isolation
Today, laptops, tablets, and cell phones make up a large portion of businesses’ digital evidence. You must ensure that all devices containing evidence are kept safe. Both software and hardware systems should only be accessible to those permitted.
You need to keep things digitally segregated and devices safe and secure. It could be disastrous if the gadget is linked to the Internet (through Wi-Fi or cable) or another device.
You don’t want someone to unintentionally copy or delete something that conflicts with the metadata you are attempting to maintain because there is much room for human error regarding data. It is better to keep the device offline and restrict access to persons knowledgeable about handling data.
Make Sure You Keep a Clear Chain of Custody
A clear custody chain is a crucial component of efficient digital evidence management. Your chain of custody is simply a chronological record of how the evidence was handled, gathered, and examined. The accuracy of these records should allow you to quickly find out who has interacted with a piece of evidence and when that interaction occurred.
Evidence can frequently be rendered useless in a lawsuit if it cannot be demonstrated with absolute certainty who had it in their hands. While writing down this chain of custody is OK, you probably want to do it digitally.
You must ensure that every interaction someone has had with the evidence is documented, whether you manage video evidence or something else.
Adopt a long-term storage plan
Consider whether an on-site modular evidence management system can meet your demands or if off-site storage is required for long-term evidence management. Modular systems can scale as needed if the quantity of space available or the request for evidence-keeping changes.
Keep Track Of Evidence Transactions
Staff members will have to sign the evidence for reporting or legal consultations. Documenting these transactions is crucial to keep a good chain of custody.
This can be challenging for most firms without a full-time evidence manager on staff. Even those law enforcement organizations with evidence managers cannot have them on call constantly. Examine whether transaction monitoring can be made more accessible by automated evidence lockers.
Review Your Evidence Management Program Regularly
Markets for electronic goods are continually expanding. IoT technology, in particular, has led to an increase in the number of devices that can store data. You should routinely evaluate your procedures for managing digital evidence to make sure they consider any new digital storage media or device types that may go into your custody.
Even though they are forensic experts, good evidence handling calls for more than one individual. When they get on the scene, first responders must have the skills to recognize and gather evidence.
Supervisors who can establish an appropriate chain of custody are required. IT specialists who can maintain and process data without causing it to harm are required. Additionally, you need management that knows when to call in forensic professionals.
Simply put, you require a team knowledgeable about the best practices for protecting digital evidence. Additionally, the proper auxiliary technology is needed. Your team may manage physical and digital evidence more skillfully by using smart lockers as the platform.