E-Discovery & Digital Forensics

Our world is brewing to be more and more technologically advanced every day.Data storage is therefore majorly based and most trusted upon variety of digital means. Digital forensics and E-discovery can be used to collect data.Since both involve electronically stored information, it is often thought to be one. The key purpose of E-discovery is to gather active data and metadata from hard drives and other forms of storage media. Computer Forensics helps perform further deep recovery as the data retrieved from e-discovery is limited. Computer forensics autopsies the hard drive and looks for hidden folders or unallocated disk space for identifying the underlying information from a computer.

Computer Forensics is performedif the available data post e-discovery is not enough as basic evidence. The expertise in operating the technicalities of forensics to gather legal evidence requires specialized training and experience. The specificity here is intricate which involves the analysis of electronic devices and computers to produce legal evidence for a crime andinvolves technical procedures like data carving. Computer Forensics is used in fraud investigations, employment cases, civil ligations, criminal prosecutions, white collar crimes and even divorce cases.

E-discovery is the procedure by which parties involved in a legal case collect, preserve,review and exchange information in electronic format to be used as evidence.  E-discovery utilizes all those processes and generally collects active data. Data that is easily available through file storage and program managers utilized by a business or individual is the active data.Data collection through e-discovery, is the primary step before it goes to the legal counsel to review the data. Data collectors just transfer information without discussing the intent of the user or business. They also do not provide legal advice.

E-discovery is useful when the only information needed involves easily accessible files such as email, calendars, documents, and databases. A computer forensics expert is needed to further analyse the data if it has been deleted or if someone has tampered with it.A forensic analysis of data is needed when the litigation requires a deeper look at the data. A digital forensic specialist sorts through data in search of hidden files or deleted data to help provide more-reliable evidence. It is the process of retrieving both accessible and inaccessible data to automatically store data, recover deleted files, ghost data and system or web data.

Computer forensics is expected to involve a higher decree of expert analysis of data retrieval in order to provide time lines, uncover communication trails or determine the use of USB devices to a system. E-discovery may have a fairly broad focus,but it will involve extracting relevant information from large volumes of other data. Data forensics specifically targets at extracting information surrounding a particular event or individual. Forensics of the collected datadirects towards a more intricate step and the next logical step to the eDiscovery process. It deals with single or multiple systems or devices, it’s also more often dealing with missing or incomplete data and, crucially its findings may be presented and challenged in court.

Unlike digital forensics, e-discovery is not used to analyse or investigate data and its uses. It serves to gather and organize information that everyone can view, access and review and investigate. If that data has been deleted or is unseen by the computer’s operating system, that information could possibly be retrieved with digital forensics, but not e-discovery.

The terms have a tendency to be used interchangeably, however there are clear differences between e-discovery and Computer Forensics. The e-discovery process usually deals with data from multiple desktop systems in an enterprise, or from servers with that may contain lots of user accounts and their associated information. The discovery methods tend to use proven software and hardware combinations and are often pre-planned at the start of an investigation.

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