Preservation of electronic data is the first step when litigation has been filed, will soon be filed, or an investigation is needed. This copy must be properly collected, stored, and treated as evidence at all times in order to be admissible in court as mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Improper preservation has consequences from inadmissible data to the loss of key information due to continued computer use.
Call a project manager at (888) 808-0337 to schedule a collection or preservation planning session.
Preservation ProcessAvansic begins each project by working with clients to evaluate the appropriate assets, devices and custodians to preserve.
We advise preserving this information by creating forensics copies, which is a gold standard in the industry, since it contains operating system information and deleted data in addition to any user-generated content. During this process, Avansic establishes a chain of custody, captures all of the information on the target device, utilizes a hardware write blocker to prevent altering the original device, and secures the data with a cryptographic hash.
Collection can occur on your site or digital assets can be brought back to our laboratory for forensic copying. Avansic is available to forensically copy a variety of digital devices either onsite or in our secure laboratory. We recommend that every case begin with a proper forensics collection, since this preserves the maximum amount of information including metadata. Even if no additional steps are taken, the data is available for processing, filtering, or forensic investigation.
Once preservation is complete, all evidence is stored in Avansicís secure facility and is kept separate from other data. Avansic can sign protective orders and execute court orders when required.
If a client chooses to gather their own information, or perform their own "culling", they can provide this loose set of files, emails and other data to Avansic along with a chain of custody for processing. Alternatively, Avansic can perform a select data collection using forensic write-blocking (when available).
StorageAvansic will securely store your information in an evidence-grade environment, which includes a four-hour fire safe electronic access data vault, verified access only, and documentation for all evidence checked in or out of the laboratory.
Litigation HoldsWhen faced with litigation holds or the need to preserve data, Avansicís experts can create an evidence grade forensic copy of important digital information and provide secure, off-site storage for this information. This service is ideal for use during employee separation events or for the preservation of data in court cases. If needed at a later time, this information can be worked seamlessly into electronic discovery, ESI processing, or data production projects.
The importance of litigation holds has been highlighted in the Pension Committee vs. Banc of America Securities opinion written by Judge Shira Schiendlin: she was the judge for Zubulake vs. UBS Warburg, a landmark digital forensics case. This opinion states that issuing a written litigation hold fulfills the obligation to preserve. The standards for such a hold have not significantly changed since Zubulake, but the court continues to be very clear about issuing sanctions to those that do not fulfill their obligations to preserve. Legal counsel has an obligation to be directly involved in the preservation process.
LicensingImproper handling of digital media can lead directly to inadmissible evidence. The courtís acceptance of such evidence is also greatly affected by the proper licensure of the examiner. Unfortunately, these requirements vary by state (and sometimes by city), and are constantly changing. Therefore, attorneys and corporations should apprise themselves of their stateís requirements regarding the handling of electronic evidence. In most instances, forensics and e-discovery companies should hold a private investigator license for the states in which they collect and investigate digital evidence.
Avansic maintains private investigator licenses in a number of states for all laboratory staff and key personnel. We keep up-to-date on the changing licensing requirements and have published a paper regarding the licensure of forensics and e-discovery companies entitled "Overview of Licensing and Legal Issues."