All organizations know it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve regarding trends. Of course, trends come and go so quickly that it can be challenging to keep up. The most successful way to stay ahead of trends is by considering where experts believe trends are heading and implementing solutions to easily grow with you. Vault is ImageSoft’s digital evidence management platform designed to help courts, prosecuting and defense attorneys, and even insurers keep up with and stay ahead of all digital evidence and forensics trends. Here are a few we are keeping an eye on.
Security and Accessibility of Evidence Files
One of the biggest trends all avenues point to is a mass migration to Cloud-based systems. The Cloud is the future of evidence technology, providing a secure and centralized location for storing and sharing data. Multimedia evidence files are sensitive information that must be protected at all costs. By moving to a secure and well-trusted Cloud, agencies can feel confident all data is safe from unauthorized parties. Security is always a top priority when dealing with evidence because the chain of custody is critical to the admission or rejection of exhibits. Cloud-based digital evidence management systems like Vault retain the original files while still allowing parties to view them. By eliminating the need to physically hand over evidence or export digital files, all data is kept far more secure and out of harm’s way.
In addition to security, moving to a Cloud-based system drastically improves the accessibility of all evidence. When a file is stored online, authorized users can view it at any time from any location. Unlike paper documents, digital files within Vault can be viewed simultaneously. Users simply log into the platform and view all files from their home, office, or on the go. Cloud-based systems provide flexibility for remote or hybrid work environments. Vault is the perfect choice for anyone looking to move to the Cloud in any size organization.
Increasing Video Evidence from Phones and Personal Security Devices
The second digital evidence and forensics trend we see on the horizon is an increase in personal video/audio recordings being submitted as evidence. It is estimated that nearly 90% of all cases include some form of digital evidence such as text messages, internet searches, call logs, GPS phone pings, and social media. With the significant increase of cell phone users, more people have a computer in their pockets, and they are being leveraged to the fullest extent to solve more cases. Vault can easily store entire phone data exports so police and other parties can access the entire phone even after the physical phone is no longer in their hands. Vault was designed to effectively manage all digital content regardless of origination, file size, or format.
In addition to cell phones, there is an upward trend of other personal security devices being used as evidence in cases. These devices are found in homes and vehicles across the US, and typically include doorbell cams, dashcams, home security cameras, nanny cams, pet monitoring cameras, and more. Vault can store, share, and stream these videos with ease to ensure they are able to be played during trials. Vault also offers redaction capabilities allowing users to create a redacted copy of video, audio or documents which can be shown or played to the jury. The original file is retained for safekeeping in case other sections of the evidence can be used later.
Internet of Things Forensics
Did you know, most digital appliances and devices can communicate with one another and have their data stored in the Cloud? The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of non-traditional devices that store data. We love “smart” appliances these days because they’re convenient, but they can also help during court cases! Things like fitness trackers, smart refrigerators, smart door locks, medical sensors, Alexa, Google Home, etc., are all part of the IoT. These devices collect and send data constantly to learn more about how people live their lives in hopes of improving future technology and experiences. In instances of criminal cases, this data can be used to track movement, establish timelines, identify disturbances in routine, and more. All of this data can be stored securely in systems like Vault to help parties review, share, and display files as needed. In some instances, these files are videos, but they are also commonly images, reports, pdfs, code, or other more static forms of files. Vault can accept nearly any type of digital file and have it ready when users need to review it.
A Growing Expectation in Faster Turnaround
Lastly, a digital evidence and forensics trend we don’t see changing anytime soon is an expectation for faster turnaround. Because so many things are digital, people have grown accustomed to much faster answers. We can Google any question and get results in seconds; we can take a photo of a check and have the money deposited into our accounts within a day; we can order a product from Amazon and have it arrive within 24 hours. Because of this instant gratification, the public is expecting other businesses and services to speed up as well. Courts are no exception, and people want trials to move faster (without sacrificing quality). Luckily, when you implement a digital evidence management system like Vault, you have a much better chance of having a speedier process. We take pride in how our solution can streamline processes with features including:
- Near instant uploading from any device
- Multi-party access, including external users
- Redaction and transcription options for faster prep
- In-platform streaming to avoid 3rd party devices
- Metadata customization for faster searching
- Automatic audit trails for hassle-free chain of custody protection
Vault is helping courts across the country be prepared for the current and upcoming digital evidence and forensic trends. We can help large and small courts looking to stay ahead of the curve and leverage technology efficiently. We check in with industry experts frequently to keep on top of trends, so we can help you do the same. As a reminder, the trends we’ve mentioned are backed by reports, anecdotal evidence, and input from those dealing with evidence hands-on. If your organization wants to step up its game, look into Vault. Learn more at https://imagesoftinc.com/courts/digital-evidence-management/. Reach out to the team if you have any questions or would like to see Vault in action in a live demo.