Computer Forensics Consulting Agencies
Private sector forensic examiners work for consulting firms, corporate security departments, or independently. They become involved in cases and litigation at the request of attorneys or corporations. Computer forensics consulting agencies take part in everything from the forensic examination of a single computer to large-scale data mining projects in large e-discovery cases. Cases for large corporations may include disputes such as intellectual property theft, data theft, sexual harassment, corporate fraud, computer misuse, and misuse of investor funds. Attorneys in civil litigation practice may hire computer forensic examiners for anything from divorce cases to personal injury cases to wrongful termination cases.
Private Computer Forensics Consulting Agencies vs. Public Sector Computer Forensics
Professionals working for computer forensics consulting agencies differ from law enforcement forensic professionals in that they typically come in to the field with a much stronger technology background, including a degree in information technology, computer forensics or information systems security, but less experience in investigation.
Computer Forensics Consulting Agencies Focus on Both Information Security and Forensics
On the private side of the field, forensic examiners are typically well-versed in both information security and forensics. In many ways, private sector forensics is focused on the protection of information. Here’s why. Information security is a separate field from forensics, but the two often collide. Information security is the practice of securing a company’s information assets. This can include client information, secret company data, intellectual property, and privileged information. Information security is thus proactive in nature. Computer forensics is typically more reactive, responding to and understanding incidents involving technology. But here is where the two worlds collide. Private forensic examiners are typically called in to detect and investigate information security incidents to not only seek the appropriate remedy, as in a civil suit, but also to prevent further incidents. Beyond this, private sector examiners perform large-scale data recovery and electronic discovery jobs.
Typical Degrees Private Sector Examiners Enter the Field With
Private sector forensic examiners are more likely to have technology, computer forensics, and information systems security degrees. More and more, private firms are employing candidates with forensics degrees. Certifications are a huge plus, as are experience in investigations, and an ability to communicate orally and in writing. Experience, if it can be gained, is one of the top priorities for employers. Internships can be very helpful in gaining the necessary experience.
Type of Work Involved in Private Sector Forensics
The most stark difference between the law enforcement side of the field and the consulting side is the type of work involved. Private sector examiners are typically engaged in examinations of evidence in support of civil litigation, private attorneys, private investigations, or corporate security incidents. Public sector examiners support criminal investigations, gather military intelligence, investigate regulatory violations, and analyze technical devices during military investigations.