The volume of electronically stored information (ESI) has exploded in recent years, and continues to increase. According to IBM, every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. This means that 90% of the world’s data were created in the last two years. The range of new technology and devices on which ESI can be stored, and consequently from which evidence can be collected, is also expanding. |
This exponential growth in ESI and data sources has a direct impact on the cost and duration of the e-disclosure process, and presents many challenges to lawyers and their clients. Digital forensics processes are becoming increasingly costly to collect, process and review the growing amounts of data that may be relevant to a case.
‘Even in medium-sized actions, where all the documents are in paper form, disclosure can be a major exercise which generates disproportionate costs. In larger actions where the relevant documents are electronic, the problem is multiplied many times over.’ Lord Justice Jackson
Understanding the electronically stored information (ESI) – what it is, where it is located, and how to get it
Familiarisation with data retention
Understanding the dangers of failing to preserve and produce ESI properly
Awareness of the potential sources of electronic evidence
Developing more targeted collection methods that include crucial metadata, and will support defensibility in court
Using new technologies such as pre-processing and predictive coding to reduce the cost and duration of the e-disclosure process
Experience in digital forensics is required for a thorough understanding of ESI – what it is, where to look for it, and how to get it. Professional support is needed in the identification and collections phases of an e-disclosure project to ensure that all relevant sources of ESI are considered. Data collection including digital forensics is an expensive phase in the e-disclosure process.
Paul Bromby is the author of this article on digital forensics. Find more information, about computer forensics here
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