Check the Defense

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Co-authored by Lili Sorondo Rosenberg and Kira Buono.

Special Counsel Innovations in Defensible Approaches to Collecting, Processing and Hosting Data.

When acquiring companies in the tech industry, the most common advice given to CEOs is: “Don’t worry about defensibility. Focus on doing something to delight customers and do it better.” While we certainly understand and appreciate the importance of delighting our customers and beating out the competition in terms of quality and service, the Special Counsel approach to defensibility is not something that takes a back seat–it’s just as important. We strive not only to ensure that our data review is tailored to align with the customer’s needs, but inherently incorporate defensibility practices, particularly when it comes to back-end collecting, processing and hosting of data. This ability to provide defensible custom support while keeping our clients delighted is what sets Special Counsel apart from competitors.

When it comes to collecting, processing and hosting data, Special Counsel uses a variety of programs to perform collection depending on the type and format of the data in question. “Our forensic team utilizes a variety of hardware and software tools to collect data in a forensically sound manner,” states Douglas Brush, Vice President of the EQ Cyber Security Solutions. Brush notes that, “we can collect data from all Windows and Macintosh systems, servers, all external drives, mobile phones and tablets, cloud storage, cloud email, social media, and other unique and challenging data sources. Remote collections of full disk images and targeted collections are available as well. Once we are in possession of a device, we can often turn around data collection in under a day.”

The processing phase occurs during the middle parts of the EDRM. The processing team uses well tested software tools and runs through a series of steps to ensure defensibility during processing. “Once the data has been logged into the tracking system and secured within the media room it is then staged for ESI Processing using forensically tested tools being operated by our trained intake specialists” notes Louis Martin, Director of eDiscovery Processing. “Moreover, these tools stage the data in a forensically sound manner that does not alter the files or meta-data from the way it was received.”

The original media and processed media are both tracked through final disposition. After this process is complete, there is a rigorous documentation process which records exactly how the data was processed in order to support the integrity of the data and to record the chain of custody of this data in the form of data acquisition logs. To ensure chain of custody, items are always kept in possession of the responsible individual. Should the responsible person need to store the evidence when not in use, it is then stored in numbered bins within locked evidence cabinets. These cabinets are located within a locked evidence lab which is further protected by key card access. While there is an automatic log generated with the entry of said evidence locker, the evidence is further secured by a specific identification number and printed bar code that will allow for location tracking and a full audit of who has maintained access to this evidence.

After a case has ended, the evidence is often disposed of by either having it returned to the client or destroyed. The above described systematic process prevents tampering and ensures the reliability of the data in a way that the client is able to defend if needed.

If you’d like to learn more about EQ, the legal consulting division of Special Counsel, reach out to your local branch today!

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