In the rapid growth of the Data Forensics field we see a number of “want to-be’s” entering the arena daily. Private investigation firms claim they have sufficient computer knowledge to conduct computer investigations. Data recovery companies claim they can investigate unlicensed and present eDiscovery documents in court. Be careful here… not every geek in town who has data recovery experience, is an experienced investigator and not every Private Investigator knows how to search all the different allocations of the hard drive or read a report from the router.

In order to be a good Data Forensic Investigator a person should be well versed in both arenas and have the following three main requirements:

The First Requirement is a private investigator license, both Nevada and California require this, practicing without a license can have serious consequences.

The second requirement is to have computer training certifications and field experience in computer forensics. It is not enough to be licensed as a private investigator without extensive computer knowledge because as a computer forensic expert you are expected to be able to offer expert computer advice and have the understanding of how data is stored, collected, sent and copied.

Finally, the third requirement is to have investigative knowledge, background and experience. Most private investigators need to have at least 10,500 hours of investigation experience. If you don’t know how to think like an investigator, then how can you be one? A private investigator or a person with 10,500 hours of investigation experience will know how to follow the chain of custody protocols and will also know how to accurately document and correlate incidents to evidence.