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Common Mistakes to Avoid in Computer Forensic Analysis

Computer forensics uses investigation and analysis techniques often carried out by database administration (DBA) firms to collect and preserve evidence from a specific computing device. So, computer forensics, also known as computer forensic science, is simply data recovery with legal compliance criteria to make the recovered material admissible in court. Computer forensics aims to conduct a structured investigation and maintain a recorded chain of evidence to determine precisely what occurred on a computing device and who is accountable.

Computer forensics is not usually associated with a crime. However, it is used as part of data recovery procedures to collect crucial data from a crashed server, failed drive, reformatted operating system (OS), or other situation in which a system has unexpectedly ceased functioning. 

Computer forensics is essential, but organizations often report errors and problems with computer forensics analysis. There are several common mistakes that an organization can avoid during the computer forensic analysis process for better results. 

 Mistakes to Avoid in Computer Forensic Analysis

1. Getting Internal Staff to Conduct a Computer Forensics Analysis

Essential data from your computer may need to be accessed. You get the IT technician to print, download, or save the data. An IT professional arrives, accesses all files, prints the data, and burns it to a CD. Everything seems good now, the data is collected, and the cost is minimized. 

However, appearances are deceiving. Unless your IT personnel are trained (and few are), they undoubtedly haven’t followed the chain of custody or other measures. Even with adequate evidence processing, the collection process indeed corrupted the data. Opening, printing, and saving files change meta-data irreversibly. Moreover, turning on a computer modifies caches, temporary files, and slack file space, potentially damaging or erasing any evidence stored on the computer.

A professional DBA services provider may be able to retrieve destroyed evidence caused by internal IT workers. This can be a time-consuming and costly operation. 

Mishandled computers may lose evidence, notably meta-data timeframes. A company that uses internal IT resources instead of a DBA services provider may be committing malpractice. So, always utilize a qualified third-party DBA administration firm for digital evidence collection.

2. Limiting the Scope of Computer Forensics

As a cost-reduction strategy, reducing scope is similar to locking problems in the back only to come back in a more complex form. Servers or systems are not initially collected, but later evidence is necessary, and the cost of forensic analysis done by the DBA team increases owing to the degraded data. Always ask your DBA services provider to collect the system forensically, and the DBA administration can postpone the analysis till its necessity is evident. 

3. Not Prepared to Preserve Electronic Evidence

Given the widespread use of computers and electronic storage, any organization should be prepared to preserve electronic evidence. Most companies lack a plan to preserve electronic information from their devices accurately.

Many corporations lack proactive policies for preserving electronic evidence. Thus, an outside counsel must typically assist them. However, such a council isn’t always well suited to deal with such situations. This is because they lack the IT skills to determine how their client’s IT system relates to the preservation order. Also, the external counsel usually lacks the forensics skills to preserve electronic evidence. A trained computer forensics team working with external counsel and the client’s IT and legal team can help prepare a client to respond to a preservation order. 

4. Not Selecting a Competent DBA Administration Team

Computer forensics is a developing field, and many organizations and individuals offer forensic services. However, a company must use a certified DBA team to avoid the aforementioned mistakes. Electronic evidence is more important than ever in determining the outcome of conflicts. Thus, a DBA service provider must be competent. Choosing the wrong DBA partner can increase costs and damage client relationships. 

Your DBA expert must be trustworthy and comprehend the financial trade-offs between late and early forensic gathering and analysis. This compels them to look beyond transactional costs to the entire cost of litigation for the client and legal firm. This allows you to give clients credible, accurate counsel when they get a preservation order for electronic evidence.

Moreover, price is not always a good indicator of quality and service, and cheap and expensive providers can be qualified. So before finalizing, interview and evaluate all DBA administration firms on your list. 

Here are nine questions to ask the DBA administration firm for better services:

  1. Do they follow protocol?
  2. Can they handle system and hardware differences?
  3. How do they balance early vs. late, broad vs. focused forensics collection and analysis costs?
  4. Can they offer discovery and preservation advice?
  5. Who are their references?
  6. When did they start working as a DBA administration provider?
  7. What’s their reaction time?
  8. How many clients/branches can they serve simultaneously?
  9. Are their laboratories DOJ-compliant? (Beware if they don’t have any forensics lab).

Concluding Remarks

It is vital to collect and examine this evidence properly via the services offered by DBA administration firms to prevent destruction, protect the evidence, and control costs. This is accomplished through computer forensics, and it involves more than utilizing the service of a DBA services provider to collect and analyze data. IT operators may be certified in particular software but not computer forensics. A certified DBA services provider like Atlas Systems can work across platforms and older systems using advanced software. Their experts have years of experience in forensic analysis and optimizing databases of many global businesses. They are well-versed with database analysis, testing, securing, migration, etc.