Jon, tell us about your role at TransPerfect Legal Solutions. What does a typical day look like?
I have the privilege of managing a talented team of eight forensic examiners in our New York forensic lab, in addition to contributing to the daily operations of our global Forensic Technology & Consulting (FTAC) division.Whether I’m assisting with forensic acquisitions and analyses, consulting on active projects, or scoping upcoming engagements, there’s rarely a dull moment.
How did you first come to a digital forensics career, and what made you stay?
I was given an awesome opportunity to work as the first intern at the Officer David M. Petzold Digital Forensics Laboratory in Center Valley, PA as an undergraduate student at DeSales University. The Petzold Lab functions as the digital forensic laboratory for the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, and was founded in 2011 through a partnership between the DA’s Office, the Officer David M. Petzold Memorial Foundation, and DeSales University.
The lab is physically located on the campus of the university, and I immediately fell in love with the application of digital forensics within the legal and investigatory space during my time there. I was hired by the DA’s office after the completion of my internship, and worked for the Lehigh County Computer Crimes Task Force until 2017.
In short, I fell into digital forensics—but the complexity, the community, and the thrill of constant evolution is what sold me on the field. Those factors continue to motivate me as a practitioner in the private sector.
You've reflected that your team has seen an increase in demand for cloud-based data collection in corporate eDiscovery. What's most important about being able to get this data to where it can support other forms of ESI?
It’s crucial to acknowledge the emergence and staying power of cloud-based sources within and throughout corporate data governance. Whether the focus of a litigation or document request is a large-scale enterprise cloud-based document repository or a nuanced ephemeral messaging application, the digital forensic and compliance arenas require new and innovative approaches to data acquisition and managed review. We can’t approach these sources with in-place or historical workflows, but we absolutely need to normalize emergent sources in ways that are palatable for legal review platforms.
What are your biggest challenges with cloud collections in e-discovery?
Individual cloud storage sources may frequently update or alter their APIs, and each source may dictate, or otherwise tailor, its own policies with respect to metadata format and retention. The proliferation of cloud-based storage platforms has genuinely challenged traditional mores and workflows within the e-discovery space—beginning with the point of collection/preservation, and extending through review and production.
There are a number of cloud collection tools on the market, but your team uses Oxygen Forensic Detective. What appeals most about the tool's capabilities?
Our team particularly appreciates Oxygen Forensics’ commitment to evolution and malleability, especially with their responsiveness to changes in the field. We can count on Oxygen Forensics for a timely software update to the Cloud Extractor tool after a tricky application modifies its API, and we rely on the efficiency of using Oxygen Forensic Detective to parse, analyze, and report on data sources that are collected from traditional sources (e.g. a physical mobile device), in addition to remotely collected message application data (e.g. Telegram).
The e-discovery process involves a number of steps and additional tools. How do you find the ESI you collect with Oxygen Forensic Detective integrates with other tools to produce evidence in native or near-native format?
Our core approach to review revolves around the transparency and clarity of the produced dataset, and how it authentically reflects the source data that we’ve collected. Legal review platforms have thrived on their ability to competently display the contents of evidence like email messages in a format that’s easily interpreted.
Oxygen Forensics provides us with report and export functionality from within Oxygen Forensic Detective that provides our larger eDiscovery and ESI teams with options to render “messy” or otherwise unstructured data sources into formats that are compatible with traditional legal review platforms.
What are your top three recommendations for cloud collections in an eDiscovery context?
1: Embrace the evolution of API-based acquisitions of unique data sources
2: Continue to explore and innovate with options for selective/targeted acquisition of cloud-based data, especially when faced with consistently escalating volumes of hosted data
3: Understand the high level of variance in how providers store cloud-based data, and leverage tools that allow for common acquisition points while facilitating a diverse range of export formats.
In the next year and beyond, where do you anticipate eDiscovery will go, and how do you see Oxygen Forensic Detective helping to address potential future challenges?
The need for intelligent and balanced approaches to the acquisition and normalization of cloud-based sources for review will only increase. If past performance is any indicator, Oxygen Forensics will certainly play a role in our team’s continuous efforts to expand our service offerings for the collection and review of these sources for litigations and investigations alike.