Cause and Effect: eEvidence Collection

Collecting eEvidence (digital evidence) has always been a chore. When 200MB drives were the norm, it still took 2 hours to image a drive. Now they’re 200GB and it takes 3 hours. Plus copies. So imaging drives for a case is expensive. It’s not just the time spent imaging, there’s also any necessary testimony, report writing, and additional copies. Drives get bigger faster than technology can evolve to process them, so now we have TB drives that take 16 hours to get the first image, and then you have to redo the checksum to confirm the image. If you’re working at a client site, that’s expensive for your team.

Does that mean that by employing larger hard drives the bad guys can make it too expensive to prosecute or sue? It sure does. It’s one reason why prosecutors won’t go after cases below a certain level. It’s too costly. Let alone for the individual litigant that has shallow pockets. A mediocre evidence case is going to add $2500 to the bottom line. If you’re in People’s Court, that’s not going to happen. A more serious case can run into tens of thousands. A big case into hundreds.

So attorneys, remind your clients to buy the biggest drives they can afford, so that on the off chance they’re sued, they present a discouraging front.

What’s the effect seen from that cause? The eEvidence business needs to bump up efficiency. If one agency can bring home a case for 25% less than the competition, you’re foolish not to use them. There hasn’t been much competition, but that may be changing. As business people look into the numbers being thrown around in eEvidence gathering, they see opportunity.

You can have perfect evidence, or you can have good enough evidence. You can have genius testimony, or good enough testimony. (Anything worse than good enough doesn’t survive, because it gets sued into oblivion.) You can have it fast, faster, and fastest, with costs rising accordingly. It also comes in immediate, tomorrow, and when its convenient forms. And local talent should be cheaper, but it’s not always that way.

Looking at eEvidence assistance as just an hourly rate is a big mistake. Take the time to talk with the potential services and find out which one provides the best return for your money.

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