Forensic Data Acquisitions: Issues & Challenges

Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is the information that is created and stored in a digital format. Writings, emails, text messages, credit card information all come under ESI. Data collection or data acquisition is one of the most important steps in the entire process of eDiscovery. Therefore, establishing a proper ESI data collection process is the most important feature of any eDiscovery endeavor.

A proper and efficient data collection technique can help gather the required information. ESI can be stored, collected and retrieved whenever required. The scope of collection of ESI is large and this maximum scope is set and addressed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (FRCP)

The process of collection of electronic information, can bring with it a lot of issues. Outsourcing the process to external vendors can sometimes be a huge issue. Sometimes, external vendors may have difficulty in accumulating all the information required for the case. On the other hand, using one’s own process can cast a wider net and gather all the information that is necessary.

Another important issue that one has to deal with in the process of collection of ESI, is to make sure that the technology or the equipment being used is up to date. Sometimes, using old software can end up in huge losses of metadata or inadequate defensibility, that may be required at a later stage.

While handling ESI, one also needs to be cautious so as to not delete any data. Thus, tt is important to have a scope for ESI identification and collection. The entire information collected is sent for review and the efficiency is directly related to the volume of ESI that is collected. Before the process, it is important to pinpoint the location of the information. It is also very important to classify information its relevance to the pertaining case.

Collection and searching of ESI is one of the most important steps in the stages of eDiscovery and this has to be carried out with utmost care and caution. For this reason, usage of the latest tools and technologies is recommended as they enable the same, with precision, speed and ease.