Investigations: Four Considerations Organizations Must Keep Top of Mind
The unfortunate truth is that malfeasance occurs everywhere, across all modalities. Organizations must be on top of what it takes to conduct a proper, thorough investigation. Ignorance of industry best practices and regulations, will not be forgiven. Unlocking key information during the course of an investigation takes sophistication and expertise.
Whether you have an internal compliance, due diligence, or regulatory investigation on your hands, ESI will absolutely be pertinent. The task of determining the relevance of specific data within a vast amount of ESI can be daunting. When conducted without analytics and controls, investigative discovery will be extremely inefficient.
Social technology and the internet of things have further complicated the already complicated process of discovery. Organizations must keep up with new technology and the ways in which it is used. Big data, a byproduct of this technology, is a difficult source to manage for investigations for several reasons, but it is nonetheless essential.
Organizations do not want to run the risk of neglecting relevant information. On the flip side, investigations can involve high costs, time, and complexity. These factors play huge roles in investigative discovery, making data processing and collecting a challenge.
2. Secrecy is Key
The secrecy and speed of an investigation are directly correlated. This holds true through every step of an investigation. If bad actors learn of the efforts, they may try to manipulate the evidence of malfeasance. Although there are several ways to collect data without subjects being aware, some investigations required a hold notice. Implementation of advanced analytics tools s
hould be prioritized in efforts to efficiently seek out relevant data while working against the clock.
3. Time is of the Essence
During the process, speed makes all the difference. Without proper controls and preparedness, the velocity of an investigation can be hindered. During crunch time, knowing which data is where allows for the investigation to run smoothly from start to finish.
Assembling an investigative team is a task that requires quick turnaround. Depending on the investigation at hand, you may need to quickly assemble a team that speaks a specific language, who are experts in a specific subject matter. Finding individuals who fit this description during a compressed time frame can be troublesome.
In addition, it’s imperative to move promptly when collecting evidence before bad actors catch wind of the investigation. Collecting this evidence without subjects’ awareness is, of course, ideal. Unfortunately, you don’t have this luxury when the investigation is agency-directed. In this case, investigators must move at breakneck speeds to discover all evidence of malfeasance, as the investigation begins at the announcement of a hold notice.
4. Investigation vs. Litigation
During an investigation, it’s essential to keep in mind the high probability that the matter will result in litigation. Any evidence collected should be well-preserved and documented. In efforts to maintain the speed of the investigation, corners can often be cut. This may take the form of haphazard document preservation or forensic collection. When the team overlooks safeguards, they sacrifice litigation preparedness.
Without strong expertise, balancing effectiveness and efficiency can be an uphill battle. It is vital for your organization to have a clear and concise method of carrying out and handling investigations.