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Survey across EMEA firms reveals digital evidence challenges

A survey undertaken by Symantec of 5,000 lawyers across EMEA firms has revealed the challenges of producing critical digital evidence in legal cases.

These challenges in identifying and recovering vast amounts of electronically stored information have, in the last two years, reportedly caused lawyers to lose a case or to be fined or sanctioned.

What does the survey of EMEA firms highlight?

  • 98% of lawyers surveyed said that digital evidence identified during eDisclosure had been vital to the success of legal matters
  • 51% of lawyers admitted to problems identifying and recovering electronically stored information in the last three months
  • Over half of respondents struggled with the amount of information that had to be searched (often millions of electronic files could be relevant to a case)
  • 24% of lawyers said they lacked sufficiently sophisticated eDisclosure technology to conduct thorough investigations

As experts in digital forensics and eDisclosure, this survey is obviously close to our hearts. With 91% of EMEA firms rating the importance of digital evidence in routine legal matters as critical to day to day work, the industry is recognising what we’ve known for a long time – electronic information is key to legal cases and should be handled with care.

It is also worth pointing out at this stage that the method of collecting electronic information is also key. To maintain the integrity of data we would always recommend using a qualified computer forensic expert and not internal IT personnel and treating all electronic information as evidence. This ensures that all legal bases are covered should the case come before the court.

The relationship between digital evidence and e-disclosure is more closely interlinked than perhaps previously thought.  Few digital forensic companies are able to offer eDisclosure services and few eDisclosure companies are able to offer digital forensics – but doesn’t it make sense to provide a synergy of services and skills?  The client receives one solution which offers the identification of digital data, the forensic collection of this data, and the processing and review of the refined data set.

Originally set up as a computer forensics firm over eight years ago, CYFOR has been able to apply the skills, techniques and experience learnt over this time to the more recent service of eDisclosure.  After all, computer forensics is the controlled investigation of digital data and isn’t that also what e-disclosure is?

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