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4 Ways That Your Digital Forensics Software Tool Should Adapt to Your Workflow

Sarah Hargreaves

Aug 28 2019

Most law enforcement agencies at both the local and national levels have learned how difficult it can be to implement a digital forensics software product into their existing workflow. Whether it’s the quality management procedures for forensic imaging or the laboratory processes in place for forensic processing, maintaining compliance with ISO 17025 and other third-party standards is complicated by the adoption of a software tool that typically has its own unique operating requirements.

But what if law enforcement professionals could flip this historical paradigm on its head? What if you could select a digital forensics software product that adapts to your existing workflow, rather than changing your internal processes to accommodate your software?

In this new way of thinking, there are four ways that a next-generation digital forensics software tool should be able to adapt to your existing workflow:

  1. Be customisable

    A digital forensics software product should continually evolve to respond to the dynamic needs of investigations. One key is to deploy with a flexible user interface environment that’s expandable and highly customisable to match experience and skills. Digital investigators deal with a broad range of investigations and crime types. Procedures and processes are developed based upon these workflows. Whether a tool is used for end-to-end investigation or collaborative investigation and review, the ability to adapt the environment based upon workflow provides for a focused and efficient examination. Building a software environment that adapts to current procedure documentation and workflow saves time and expenditure and provides a familiar feel to the investigator or reviewer.

  2. Localise the language used in the product

    Different law enforcement agencies tend to use slightly different nomenclature to refer to specific phases of their investigations workflow. A software product should be adaptable to your existing workflow by giving your team the ability to localise the language used throughout the product so that it matches up with the language used in various agency locales. Whether we use galleries, thumbnail views, grids, file listings, etc., the ability to “localise” the software environment provides familiarity for investigators, whilst bringing new technology into the laboratory.

  3. Integrate with other forensics tools

    Your core digital forensics software product should be able to be integrated with other products used for collection and processing of forensic images. In addition, it should be able to import data from other forensics tools so there is no need for you to build any additional steps or “data hops” into your existing workflow. It goes without saying that there is nothing worse than experiencing the restriction of not being able to review all evidence items in new software, whether they be legacy items or output from other software. Reprocessing or even reinvestigation of evidential data can be counter-productive and time consuming, when time could be of the essence.

  4. Scale from small case to major investigation

    Law enforcement agencies must be able to respond to small matters and large digital investigations with equal concern and attention to detail. An adaptable digital forensics software tool will be easily scalable so that you can deploy the same product for a case with one reviewer or for a case that involves 600 reviewers, without making any changes to your existing processes. We don’t always know what’s around the corner. We may need to involve additional teams to work collaboratively with investigators to deal with the increasing number of seized devices from both domestic and professional environments. The scale of the investigation should not be hindered by the investigation tools. There should be no need to alter existing workflows or feel restricted by the ability of the forensic tools used in the investigation. Scalability is key to ensuring that the team can handle whatever comes through the door, regardless of size or complexity.

AccessData’s Quin-C™ is highly adaptable software that can be customised and modified to fit your internal digital forensics investigative processes and workflows.

Quin-C is changing the way that digital investigations happen, empowering investigators with groundbreaking tools and transforming digital forensics work environments. The software offers important collaborative capabilities, including cross-case analytics, powerful visualisations, new automations and data clustering for advanced analysis. Moreover, Quin-C is easily configurable, so different users — from forensics experts to novices — can see their data in the format and with the specific capabilities they need.

For more information, please go to https://accessdata.com/products-services/quin-c.

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