Computer forensics may sound like a concept for the next TV drama series to follow CSI and Law & Order, but it’s an everyday reality in today’s technology-driven world, albeit a lesser-known reality far behind custom software development and network hosting services.
Computer forensic examiners are like modern-day private investigators in the computer world. They often work with confidential information in a private, secure setting. There’s no physical crime scene, but a hard drive can host a virtual crime scene that examiners can’t wait to crack open.
Investigative computer forensics serves business and legal purposes in many industries, basically any sector that relies on electronic data. Law firms, government agencies, corporations, organizations and educational institutions enlist the help of computer forensic consultants in both civil and criminal lawsuits. Computer forensic examiners are highly trained to understand the complexity of restoring electronic data that seems to have been deleted. Or has it?
That’s what Senior Implementation Specialist and Computer Forensic Examiner Mike Nelson works to find out every day atMiles Technologies, a leading IT Company in southern New Jersey. Mike oversees many forensic projects from start to finish and brings an enormous wealth of expertise to the Miles Technologies computer forensic team. He answered the following questions to shed some light on this mysterious subject.
Based on your experience in computer forensics, what is the biggest challenge you face in your line of work?
The biggest challenge is making each step of a forensics case clear and concise. We want to make sure our clients know what a forensic case entails and how complex it could be. Even the most basic examination can be lengthy and complicated. Many steps need to be taken to properly document, image, and analyze the computer equipment in order to maintain the chain of custody and follow the best practices. Our goal at Miles Technologies is to keep our customers happy and well informed.
How long would you say an average computer forensic case takes from start to finish?
Well, when it comes to computer forensics there really is no “average” case. Each case has its own unique twist or spin and presents different challenges and requests. For example, one case could involve exporting emails or recovering deleted items. Another case could involve network intrusions and undesired access to data. Each case is unique and each case is treated with the utmost importance.
Miles Technologies strives for a 10 business day turnaround, but that depends on multiple factors. Some of those factors could include the size and number of machines or drivers involved in the case.
What seems to be the usual response from customers after you complete their forensic investigation?
The response is generally enthusiastic, but it depends on what we find. If the results show their client was lying or it didn’t happen “just one time,” then usually they are grateful for the truth, but know they have a whole other matter to deal with.
Of the forensic services you offer, what makes up the majority of your work?
In general, forensic investigations and data recovery are what I usually work on, but lately email investigations and data recovery have been the hot topics. Each case is unique, complex, and challenging, and that’s what makes this job so interesting. Everyone at Miles Technologies, including myself, is very proud that our experienced, highly trained and well-certified computer forensic team can tackle the most complex forensic cases.