Early case assessment (ECA) is a fundamental first step in any legal matter, and a computer forensics team can be an invaluable resource in the process. Here, the computer forensics experts at Atlantic Data Forensics explain how ECA works, best practices during ECA and why the help of a computer forensics team can be valuable throughout the process.

Defining Early Case Assessment

Early case assessment is the collaborative effort of parties from multiple disciplines to collect, analyze and determine the implications of data that is pertinent to a specific legal matter. This process can help legal and business professionals to develop an appropriate course of action for legal proceedings and can go a long way to mitigating any complications that may arise during such proceedings.

Understanding the Steps of Early Case Assessment

Every ECA will contain unique elements depending on the specific factors of the case in question, however, a general process is commonly followed. This includes several steps:

Custodian Interviews

The custodian, or employee is possession of relevant data, should first be interviewed to determine where the investigation should begin, how much data a computer forensics firm can expect to find and whether there are any pieces of data that will prove particularly vital to the litigation. As there may be multiple custodians, multiple interviews should be performed. While custodians are unlikely to be able to provide specific details, they should be able to establish a general timeline of events, as well as an overall picture of the data a computer forensics firm will need to find.

Data Analytics and Data Sampling

After custodian interviews are conducted, a computer forensics firm will be able to take raw data and turn it into useful information. A competent computer forensics team will be able to conduct a targeted search, analyzing data based on specific custodian names, names of senders, dates and times, as well as keywords based on a Boolean search or other relevant categories. This targeted approach ultimately saves your business time and money and can help to preserve the privacy of extraneous data. Data analytics can also be performed behind-the-firewall (within your business) or within a cloud-based environment, depending on your specific needs. Within data analytics is data sampling, a process that allows a computer forensics team to determine the amount of relevant data within a larger group by analyzing only a few pieces. This can also prove to be an approach that saves time and money and maintains as much privacy for your company as possible.


Finally, the relevant data that has been collected can be compiled into a report that is concise and readable for those who are not familiar with data analytics and computer forensics. This ensures that the report will become a valuable document for legal proceedings and will allow legal professionals to determine the best course of action for the company.

Enlisting the Help of a Computer Forensics Team During Early Case Assessment

Computer forensics experts, such as the ones at Atlantic Data Forensics, are a crucial component of the collaborative process that is ECA. Early case assessment can involve enormous amounts of data, but an experienced digital forensic team is able to sort and analyze this data in a quick and efficient manner, and then create a report that clearly explains the findings and relevancy of the data. Atlantic Data Forensics has participated in hundreds of ECA’s, and they have the knowledge necessary to make the process as painless and productive as possible for all parties involved. If your business is involved in a legal matter and an ECA needs to be performed, do not handle the process alone—contact Atlantic Data Forensics immediately for the diligent service you deserve!