Insights: Article

eDiscovery and Computer Forensics Investigation

By Brook Schaub

April 25, 2016

The Key to Reducing Litigation Costs to Find the Truth
As the amount of electronically stored information (ESI) continues to grow, the costs associated with e-Discovery in litigation have equally expanded. Consider that one terabyte of data, which is becoming more common, equals the text of one million thick books. One petabyte of storage can hold one hundred and eighty copies of the Libraries of Congress. One Blu-Ray disc can hold the equivalent of over sixty-seven thousand books. In 1995, most hard drives were measured in megabytes (500 pages of a thick book); now several terabytes of storage can be purchased off the shelf for around $100.

The most efficient way to vet e-Discovery data starts with an understanding of computer data and how data investigation can quickly, in some cases, find the smoking gun that will cause a case to settle. Data investigation is not just the search of emails. It is a combination of key word search terms, timelines, recovering deleted data, and in some cases, even finding pictures or videos that would support the points being explored. It is a tool that should be contemplated immediately when a preservation hold is anticipated. Data investigation consultants should be part of the planning before the hold for ESI is served, and be engaged throughout the litigation process. A key word search term that may seem reasonable to an attorney, may result in thousands of documents of little use to the litigation, whereas a simple key event time and date may locate important evidence unrelated to the key word provided.

Computer forensics is not just a tool for complex litigation involving terabytes of data. Frauds, family law, asset recovery, libel, trademark violations, and many more areas of litigation can be aided by the use of computer forensics and data investigation.

For additional information on e-Discovery, please click on the article "Cyber Hunt for Evidence: Tales from the Trenches" as published in The Hennepin Lawyer.

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