Computer forensics is the recovery of deleted computer-based information and the science of examining and piecing back together electronic data to produce high quality digital evidence. Using computer forensics can help legal counsel identify, acquire, restore, and analyze electronic data for litigation requirements in cases like fraud, theft of intellectual property, computer misuse and contract dispute. The investigation process is comprised of several phases that involve close collaboration between the client, the computer forensic professionals and the client’s litigation support vendor. Computer forensic experts use special tools and follow strict written protocols to ensure that their work product withstands scrutiny in all jurisdictions. Once collected, data may be filtered for more manageable review, analyzed together with the client or independently, imported into the client’s system of choice or converted into a commonly used readable format, or even printed as hard copy. Outsourcing computer forensic services to an independent security consulting firm allows companies to avoid excessive expenditures on recovery and review of unnecessary data and provides assurance in delivery of timely and reliable results.
Today’s workplace environments are characterized by digital activities of employees who have access to all kinds of sensitive proprietary information and have an ability to easily transfer and manipulate data on mass storage devices or tamper with corporate electronic files. As such, the need for digital forensics has never been greater or more relevant when dealing with workplace-related legal matters. This gave rise to a specialty practice of Workplace Investigations - a branch of Digital Forensics field focused exclusively on the unique challenges and sensitivities of workplace investigations such as multi-jurisdictional labour laws, collective agreements and privacy regulations . The investigative process includes, but is not limited to, the tasks of consulting with client and legal counsel, gathering documentary and IT evidence, quantifying damage or loss, preparing report to justify termination or disciplinary action, conducting surveillance, tracing missing assets and liaising with insurance companies. Workplace investigations are most commonly conducted in areas of fraud (insider trading, bribery, secret commissions), theft (inventory, data, intellectual property), harassment (sexual, workplace), litigation (wrongful dismissal, e-discovery, Anton Pillar options), IT forensics (recovery of erased data, email analysis), asset tracing and recovery, background investigations, and forensic accounting.