Remote data collection tools allow legal teams to maintain control over the collections without requiring them to be physically present for the collection. Despite the many advantages of employing remote collection tools, some remain skeptical about the overall defensibility of remote collection. As with any new technology, people want to know why they should place their trust in a new way of doing things. This post will outline three key features of remote collection tools that ensure the defensibility.
1. Encrypted Collection Settings
After the legal team determines the collection parameters required for the matter at hand, the configuration of the data to be collected is locked down by encryption. Encrypting the collection settings prevents the custodian from changing what the legal team wishes to collect. In summary, this feature ensures that the custodian cannot tamper with the collection settings determined by the legal team, allowing the legal team to maintain control.
2. Audit Logs
Audit logs document EVERY action performed by the custodian from the beginning of the remote collection to the end, including any errors during the collection. In addition, the audit log includes the information about the system being used to perform the collection, including the user logged into the system that triggered the collection as well as the make, model and serial number of the hard disk. Tamper-resistant methods, utilizing hashing algorithms and encryption, detect efforts to manipulate the data after the collection is completed.
3. Encryption of Data Collected
Once the remote collection is complete, the resulting data collected is protected from interception by ne’er-do-wells thanks to strong encryption. Encrypting the collection ensures that it arrives safely back to the legal team without risk of tampering en route.
By far, the primary factor that boosts the confidence of legal teams that utilize this new technology is that the process is documented and controlled by them rather than the custodian. All of these features ensure a simple, cost-effective and defensible ESI collection process that the legal team can be confident will hold up in court. The three features outlined above, along with the chain of custody documentation, provide for the defensibility and admissibility of ESI collected by an on-site remote collection tool in court.