Did you ever consider that valuable evidence may exist in the volumes of information resting in computers and other electronic media?
With over 90% of all business records created and stored electronically, the security and recovery of electronic data is an essential element in investigations and dispute resolution. Organizations need to be able to recover, analyze and secure electronic data efficiently and cost effectively.
PwC bring a highly professional, collaborative approach to our clients’ electronic document management needs. Using our cutting edge proprietary tools and forensic laboratories worldwide, we can find, retrieve, preserve, analyze, and process vast amounts of electronic information in a legally robust and efficient manner.
More about this service
PwC's forensic technology specialists are trained in the forensic acquisition and analysis of electronic evidence and document management. The team is experienced in handling evidence with consideration of data protection, e-disclosure, human rights, employment laws and other legal aspects of transferring data between jurisdictions. Speed of action is often crucial to the success of an engagement – our team can generally be deployed anywhere in the CEE region within 24 hours of an assignment being accepted.
We use a number of data capture and review tools to analyse and remove duplicate documents in electronic data such as e-mails and user files which can then be searched and categorised for discovery purposes by investigators and lawyers.
Using specialized analytical tools, we can perform data mining techniques to analyse financial or accounting data held on Information Systems – such as searching for specific transactions or transaction-patterns and journal entries. These tests can be used to identify potentially suspicious transactions, trends and inconsistencies when supporting a fraud investigation. Similarly, these tests can also provide an indication of the strength of the system controls which are in place and may highlight potential "red flag" areas.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) forensic technology solutions team is one of the forensic services group’s key differentiator’s in the market place. The combination of technologists working in concert with accountants and finance professionals provides the group with the ability to provide unique approaches to complex business dispute and investigative matters. Honed by years of experience, we combine data analysis techniques, proprietary information technology tools, information management principles, and our understanding of the unusual environment created by investigative and dispute matters to help our clients make informed decisions.
Our experienced professionals obtain and analyze data detail using the best in technology resources to help our clients find what they are looking for or confirm it does not exist. Our services are tailored to time sensitive business or legal environments and encompass:
With offices worldwide, our network of professionals is able to provide seamless, efficient solutions to our clients no matter where they reside. Using our Forensic Technology Solutions Centres, we offer cutting edge technology to best serve our clients' needs.
Our services to audit committees, litigators, regulators, business analysts, and company management include:
The impact of electronic records in litigation and criminal investigations
With as much as 90% of all business records now created and stored electronically, it is rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception that discovery opponents will seek production of your clients' electronic records. And modern technology that allows massive transmission and storage of electronic information invites abuse. For example, hackers steal information or damage systems; others perpetrate traditional offenses such as fraud, using computer technology. Simply acquiring and analyzing these huge volumes of data requires experienced investigators -- professionals trained in the forensic acquisition and analysis of electronic evidence.
Efficiently and effectively identifying, preserving, retrieving, and analyzing electronic data in support of an investigation or ongoing litigation has become fundamental to understanding and resolving disputes, and requires that the following questions be addressed:
Responding to electronic records notices, orders, and subpoenas
Responding to requests for electronic information can be perplexing. First, identifying responsive information from huge stores of data — frequently measured in terabytes — can be time consuming, disruptive, and costly. Second, extracting data from computers in ways that reliably preserve evidence is not a simple undertaking, as data can easily be altered either intentionally or accidentally. Recognizing these facts, litigators and investigators in both civil and criminal cases have begun to focus carefully on electronic discovery and the role of computer forensics -- the science of reliably recovering and handling electronic storage media and the data contained therein so as to provide the appropriate foundations for admissible evidence.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' electronic discovery teams bring a highly professional, collaborative approach to our clients' electronic discovery needs. Using our proprietary tools and forensic laboratories worldwide, we can efficiently find, retrieve, preserve, analyze, and process a wide array of electronic information.
We assist clients by designing and implementing preventative measures such as:
During discovery, we assist clients by providing:
Acquiring and analyzing computer files
Forensic technologists are commonly retained to acquire and analyze computer files. At the start of most litigations or investigations, counsel often needs to move quickly to preserve vital evidence held on employees’ or other parties’ computers. We can rapidly deploy staff anywhere on the globe to gather forensic images of computers using recognized tools and techniques. We then work with counsel to review these images to identify key files as well as find any deleted or hidden files that remain on the hard disk -- deleting a file does not remove it from the hard drive.
Acquiring and analyzing emails
Given the prolific use of email as the communication tool of choice within most organizations, it is not surprising that many litigators and investigators specifically focus on email during discovery. However, email poses the forensic investigator with some unique challenges.
To facilitate an effective review, PwC utilizes its proprietary tool to identify exact duplicates of emails to be removed throughout a network. Moreover the tool can quickly and efficiently search emails and their attachments using keywords. Finally, the tool allows redaction of the emails and Bates stamping to enable unique identification of all documents.
The importance of networks
A fast-growing area which presents significant risks to corporate networks, is discovery orders in litigation matters. Over the past several years, attorneys have come to realize the discovery potential of e-mail and electronic document storage. As a result, courts are increasingly issuing and enforcing orders for the production of massive quantities of stored electronic documents (including back-ups). Such orders often require the suspension or alteration of normal network storage, back-up, and archiving routines because these normal operating procedures may result in the destruction of documents covered by the discovery request (e.g., the re-use of back-up tapes may cause the deletion of files covered by a preservation order, leading to sanctions or negative inferences in court). Unless appropriate policies and practices are developed in advance of litigation, the effects of such orders on organizational operations can be severe.
Even if properly prepared, responding to a broad discovery order can be difficult. PricewaterhouseCoopers can assist in the preservation of electronic records (including email), and can help corporate and outside counsel identify and respond to discovery requests by locating and producing responsive materials from very large network environments in an efficient and cost effective manner. We recover data using accepted data recovery techniques so that we can testify as to the validity of our computer forensic operations, thus allowing us to authenticate your discovery responses. In appropriate cases, we can assist in challenging unreasonable discovery requests by preparing affidavits explaining the full implications of a proposed preservation and/or discovery order, or challenge the integrity of the data provided in response to your own law firm's discovery requests.
Transaction and accounting data
Transaction or accounting data extracted from an organization’s general ledger is often the heart of a damages claim or an accounting investigation. However, many corporations find it difficult to undertake the demanding analyses required during an investigation or litigation due to both time and systems capability constraints. Working with our colleagues in the investigative group or directly with attorneys, we are able to quickly extract information from a corporate system to allow in-depth analysis of corporate data. Once out of this environment, the data may be reported on in new and innovative ways. For example, management of key earnings at the end of a company’s accounting period may be found by the daily trial balances obtained from a general ledger. This can often lead straight to the journal entries at the heart of a fraud.
Successful electronic discovery
The complexities of electronic discovery require a disciplined and experienced approach to manage the various issues you will face. PwC Forensic Services bring a rational, knowledge-based approach to our clients, helping to streamline the litigation process and bring about a successful outcome.
Our professionals will help ensure that your discovery requests result in:
Systems failure / IT liability expert services
The risks inherent in any IT project, large or small, can be far reaching. Cases now clearly document that material deviations from budget, schedule and requirements can bring a business down. Such problems can be caused by a variety of factors including unclear requirements, miscommunication among interested parties, poor technical design, scope creep, or general mismanagement of resources.
PricewaterhouseCoopers professionals are able to assist clients who grapple with complex technology issues in instances where computer system projects have not met expectations. Systems Failure disputes cover a wide range of issues leading to allocation of liability and damages, including project management failures, technical design and development failures, and operational failures such as deviations from service levels in an outsourcing contract.