How a Digital Forensic Examiner Can Aid Employee Investigations

digital forensic examiner aid employee investigations data security

Have there been recent issues in your place of employment? Have you recently felt that you had to investigate employee misconduct? We are here to tell you that not only are you not alone, but a digital forensic examiner can help you during this situation. 

Keep reading to learn more about computer and digital forensics to not only give you peace of mind but also to make sure that you do not break any laws trying to figure things out on your own. 


Collecting Evidence

Collecting digital evidence is one of the most important steps that experts take in the beginning of an investigation. A reputable forensic examiner that is involved early in the investigation will avoid any data being jeopardized. 

This, in turn, will reduce any problems with the investigation in the future. Electronic data is always changing within a business because of everything that happens on a daily basis. An examiner will take the steps necessary to secure the data in a timely manner before any data is overwritten.

If you have an employee that believes they can cover their tracks by deleting files or their web browser history, a thorough investigation will more than likely be able to recover those tracks the employee was attempting to cover.


Emails 

Email exchanges are a common tool used in the workplace and typically become an important part of electronic evidence. Every time an employee sends an email, there is a copy stored in more than one location. 

An examiner can use computer forensics to extract both existing emails and deleted emails to help during an investigation.


Types of Information That Can Be Retrieved

Computer forensics is able to retrieve more than you might realize. A forensic image of a disk is a "bit level" copy. This means that all of the information on a disc is included whether the data is currently on the computer or was at one point in time.

An examiner will be able to retrieve data including but not limited to:

  • Any information that is in hidden and password protected files from almost any type of file
  • Deleted files that have not yet been overwritten
  • Sites visited on the world wide web even if the browsing history was deleted
  • A list of any files that were deleted. Sometimes the files can't be recovered but having the list can show you if any unauthorized programs were ever downloaded
  • Any suspicious applications on the computer used to crack passwords, hack computers, or even to encrypt files
  • Graphics from sites that were visited that are against company policies
  • Chat history on any instant messengers along with a list of their messaging friends
  • Most recently accessed files

The list above is to give you an idea of the types of data that a forensic examiner is able to retrieve when they are conducting their search and investigation. 


Employee Misconduct

If you are not sure whether to launch an employee misconduct investigation or do not know the appropriate reasons for when to call in the experts, let's go over a few scenarios.

If you have a feeling that you have an employee that is stealing data from your company to sell to other companies, then this is a reason to hire a digital forensic examiner. Do not attempt to confront the employee on your own or attempt to spy on them because you might ruin any chances you have when it comes to firing the employee without running into legal issues. 

If you think that an employee is working for another employer while they are on your watch, you need to hire an examiner. This is blatantly stealing from your company because they are not solely focused on the work they have to do for you. 

Anytime you have a feeling that an employee is watching things against company policy such as pornography, call in the pros. Even if the employee is deleting the history on their computer, there are ways to retrieve this data.

There are times that employees become disgruntled because they might feel they are not getting paid enough, being treated fairly, etc. causing them to intentionally delete data to get back at their employer. They might also do things like remove data from company networks to cause the company to lose money and clients.


Inappropriate Conduct

There are different forms of inappropriate employee conduct, such as sending emails or messages harassing coworkers. If someone complains to you about a fellow coworker sending them inappropriate messages while they are at work, this calls for a forensic investigation because it is happening during the time you are paying this individual.

Another form of inappropriate conduct is someone that is misusing their work time. While you are paying them, they should only be conducting work-related tasks at hand. For example, if an employee chooses to play video games online during the hours you are paying them, this is considered stealing from company time. 


Ready to Hire a Digital Forensic Examiner?

As you can see, a digital forensic examiner can help you during employee investigations. The earlier you find one, the easier it will be to have answers. You want to make sure you have your business free of any employees that you suspect of misconduct. 

The last thing you want is to bring down the morale in your place of business and have one "bad apple" spoil the rest. 

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