Digital Evidence Management iconTechnology has advanced substantially over the past several decades, transforming the daily operations of organizations around the globe. One area in particular that has reaped the benefits of the digital age is the legal and criminal investigation sector. The advent of digital evidence (i.e. video surveillance footage, audio recordings, and digital photographs) has been a game changer when it comes to helping investigate and solve crimes.

While digital evidence is an incredibly helpful tool for law enforcement and public agencies, its use is no longer confined to these use cases. Transportation providers are using in-vehicle cameras, delivery and service providers are using both in-vehicle and body cameras to record trips and interactions, and retailers and commercial organizations are using video and audio to record interviews. These organizations are using their “evidence” not just for looking back, but to also look forward. With the use of metadata, analytics, and business intelligence, these users are finding trends and insights leading to better business decisions.

What is Digital Evidence Management?

Organizations around the globe are gathering exponential amounts of digital evidence every day, and require systems for retaining, reviewing, and managing that evidence. Digital Evidence Management (DEM) systems are software based solutions that enable organizations to ingest, store, secure, manage, and find and use all of their digital evidence from a centralized interface.

Digital evidence is collected from a variety of sources and comes in many forms, for example: digital images, video surveillance footage, body camera footage, audio recordings, videotaped interviews, reports, and forensics and lab reports. A DEM solution needs to be capable of retrieving data from different sources and managing all kinds of digital evidence.

When it comes to digital evidence, the top priorities for organizations are being able to store it for as long as necessary, find and retrieve it whenever it's needed, and maintaining the integrity of the evidence, or ensuring that it hasn’t been tampered with or manipulated in any way. Digital evidence management systems enable organizations to achieve all of these things.

DEM: Store, Secure, Manage, Find & Use

How Does Digital Evidence Management Work?

Traditionally, evidence management was a manual, paper-based process that was cumbersome and involved multiple people. While this method is still used today, it is labor-intensive and leaves a lot of room for human error, which can have a substantial impact on criminal investigation and courtroom decisions.

With the advent of digital evidence came a need for a system to properly and securely manage those digital files. A digital evidence management solution is software that operates in conjunction with an organization’s records management system and evidence collection sources (such as body-worn cameras). Evidence is recorded and collected through these sources, automatically or manually ingested through the organization's DEM solution, and stored to the organization’s designated data storage media.

Modern DEM solutions tag digital evidence with unique metadata to make it easy to find down the line. When an investigator or other authorized user needs to locate a piece of digital evidence, they are able to access their entire library from a centralized interface, and quickly and easily retrieve whichever file they’re trying to find. Evidence can be categorized by date, time, location, or any other criteria. It allows authorized users to share data securely, and protects it from being accessed or tampered with by unauthorized individuals.

What Are the Benefits of Digital Evidence Management?

Compliance

The value of evidence may be immediate or unknown until later on. Many of today’s organizations are required by law to retain digital evidence for specific periods of time, to meet compliance requirements. A DEM solution is beneficial when it comes to meeting regulations around digital evidence retention, because it enables an organization to securely retain evidence for the required periods of time. By setting automated policies, an organization can predetermine where and how long a piece of evidence will be stored. In the event that a piece of evidence needs to be retrieved for use in an investigation, a DEM solution will enable users to quickly and easily retrieve that data.

Simplicity

Organizations collect mass amounts of digital evidence on a daily basis and managing all of that data can be very difficult without the proper tools in place. In the past, organizations required multiple systems to manage their digital data, which introduced additional, and ultimately unnecessary complexity. A DEM solution enables an organization to label, store, and retrieve their digital evidence, all from one place. It makes digital evidence easily searchable and accessible, supporting all types of evidence and making search simple and intuitive.

Security

Preserving digital evidence can be challenging because, unlike physical evidence, it is vulnerable to being altered or even deleted. Maintaining the authenticity of digital evidence is incredibly important, and the tampering or manipulation of digital evidence is a serious concern. In fact, investigators often need to be able to authenticate their evidence, and provide documentation proving its integrity. With that said, it’s vital that organizations have the proper security measures and tools in place to protect their digital evidence, and keep it from falling into the wrong hands. A DEM solution keeps data safe, allowing organizations to oversee their chain-of-custody and control where, what, when and who their digital evidence is being used or used by.

StorMagic ARQvault and Digital Evidence Management

StorMagic ARQvault Digital Evidence Management solutions consist of StorMagic ARQvault - the industry’s first Active Intelligent Repository - and one or more of our Digital Evidence Management Modules. They enable businesses to gather digital evidence anywhere, store it forever, find it fast, and reduce storage costs by at least 50% versus other solutions.

The StorMagic ARQvault Digital Evidence Management Modules consist of the following:

  • File Ingest: Intended for use by law enforcement, district attorneys, federal agencies, or any organization that needs to keep video, audio, images, and other files in a secure environment and maintain chain-of-custody.
  • Body Cam: Integrates with a variety of body-worn cameras and is designed to be used by law enforcement, private security companies, prisons/jails, delivery companies, or other organizations utilizing body-worn cameras that need to record, retain, and view video of interactions with others.
  • In-Car: For any organization with vehicles that need to record use, activity, and in-vehicle interactions, such as law enforcement, private security companies, delivery vehicles, and transportation providers.
  • Interview Room: Designed for any organization that needs to record and retain interviews, such as law enforcement, prisons/jails, private security companies, detective agencies, security departments, or even HR departments.

Interested in learning more about StorMagic ARQvault Digital Evidence Management solutions? Visit our product page and download a copy of our ARQvault DEM data sheet and solution brief for additional information.

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