How implementing a digital forensic readiness program maximizes the value of digital evidence.

The concept of digital forensic readiness focuses on two basic principles: 1) to maximize an organization’s ability to gather digital evidence and 2) to minimize the cost of investigations.
Instead of the traditional reactive response to security incidents, digital forensic readiness acknowledges the fact that events will occur, and helps to make the most efficient use of electronically stored information (ESI) to mitigate data loss and risk.
Here are six examples of how digital forensic readiness can enhance an organization’s proactive approach to incident response.
Benefit 1: Lower Investigative Costs
By operating on the expectation that events will occur, organizations can minimize business disruption by simplifying the focus of their investigative workflow specific to analysis and presentation activities.
Benefit 2: Targeted Security Monitoring
In “response mode,” the effectiveness of security controls is limited to notification, containment, and remediation capabilities. However, when using a proactive approach, there is greater opportunity to implement targeted security monitoring that identifies and mitigates a much wider range of cyber threats before they escalate into serious incidents.
Benefit 3: Crime Deterrence
Coupled with contextual intelligence, digital forensic readiness increases an organization’s ability to detect malicious activity and reduce the potential of an incident occurring.  Going forward, when a proactive approach comes more widely adopted, bad actors will be less likely to commit malicious activities because their probability of being caught will be higher. 
Benefit 4: Investor Confidence
With a good information management framework in place, organizations can demonstrate their ability to conduct incident prevention and response.

Displaying this level of maturity not only provides a sense of security and protection, but gives investors more confidence in the organization’s ability to minimize threats.
Benefit 5: Enhanced eDiscovery
International laws relating to eDiscovery, such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (United States), Rules of Civil Procedure (Canada), or the Practice Direction 31B (United Kingdom), require that digital evidence be provided quickly and in a forensically sound manner. Meeting this requirement involves activities such as incident response, data retention, disaster recovery, and business continuity policies, all of which are enhanced through a digital forensic readiness program.
Benefit 6: Fast Disclosure & Penalty Avoidance
Regulatory authorities and law enforcement agencies may require the immediate release or disclosure of electronically stored information (ESI) at any time.

An organization’s failure to produce the requested ESI can result in financial penalties. With a digital forensic readiness program in place for information management, data retention, disaster recovery, and business continuity, organizations can process and present forensically sound ESI in a timely manner.
Benefit 7: You’re Probably Already Doing It
Organizations may not realize it, but some of these activities are already being performed today —  for example, preserving digital information in a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution.

The bottom line is that implementing a digital forensic readiness program will be a “win-win” situation because it complements and enhances the overall information security program and strategies. 
This article was sourced from the forthcoming book by Jason Sachowski, titled “Implementing Digital Forensic Readiness: From Reactive To Proactive Process,” available now at the Elsevier Store and other online retailers.
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Jason is an Information Security professional with over 10 years of experience. He is currently the Director of Security Forensics & Civil Investigations within the Scotiabank group.

Throughout his career at Scotiabank, he has been responsible for digital investigations, …
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