Categories
Investigation Technology

Internal Investigation: Tech-Driven Innovations You Need to Know

Internal investigations can decide the fate of companies and individuals. A few of the interesting ones are listed below:

  • Deutsche Bank AG’s internal investigation, Project Teal, found that certain employees in Spain were guilty of misselling currency derivatives. A number of management executives in Spain and London were replaced as a result of the internal investigation.
  • In a personal setback, Mark Hurd of HP was let go after an internal investigation because of sexual harassment charges filed against him in 2010.

Why Are Internal Investigations Conducted?

Internal investigations could be triggered due to various factors, including suspected breaches of regulatory duties or internal compliance rules.

Regulatory or criminal investigations by government authorities, whistleblower tips, employee misconduct, findings from audits, and information from employees or external parties can also ensue internal investigation.

The process of investigation starts with identifying the matter triggering the investigation. Next, the investigators define the scope of the investigation, its objectives, and methods, including identifying key witnesses and gathering evidence.

Once the collected data is analyzed, the findings are shared with required parties, for example, the senior management, legal counsel, and relevant stakeholders.

As in life, internal investigations rarely follow the path that it is supposed to on paper.

Challenges in Conducting Internal Investigation

Organizational Challenges

Although the process sounds straightforward, conducting an internal investigation is complex.

Investigations are often stalled if the board or management fears a chance of uncovering illegal activities, potentially triggering legal actions against the organization or individuals involved. Employees and other parties might be reluctant to cooperate during investigations for fear of retaliation.

Resource limitations, conflicts of interest, and organizational cultures that tend to tolerate misconduct can also hinder investigations.

High-profile investigations can attract media attention. The pressure to respond quickly to allegations in the public eye can compromise the thoroughness and accuracy of internal investigations.

Additionally, navigating legal privilege complexities and addressing the potential erosion of employee trust and morale are challenges that need to be dealt with kid gloves during an internal investigation.

Technical Challenges

Investigators need technical expertise to analyze digital evidence effectively in cybercrimes or digital misconduct cases.

Preserving the integrity of evidence, especially digital data susceptible to alteration or deletion, presents another significant challenge.

Concerns about data privacy may be raised, as investigators may need to access sensitive personal information that could breach data protection regulations.

Although various organizational and technical obstacles remain, internal investigations have evolved over the years to encompass the changing face of businesses.

Evolution of Internal Investigations with Changing Business Environments

Traditionally, internal investigations were conducted manually, relying on paper records, interviews, and limited data analysis capabilities. These investigations were often time-consuming, costly, and prone to human error.

Internal investigations have evolved in response to changing business environments and technological advancements. Global businesses meant dealing with multiple jurisdictions, languages, and diverse cultures, which also brought growing complexity of business regulations and the need to stay compliant. With a significant part of businesses being digitized, investigating meant efficient analysis of large volumes of data generated due to these digital processes.

In navigating changing business environments and the challenges faced during an internal investigation, technical advances in AI offer significant advantages. Some areas where AI is already helping are:

Early Case Assessment

AI tools are helping investigators run an automated Early Case Assessment (ECA) to determine the most relevant information at the outset of an investigation matter. This helps determine potential legal liability, calculate risks, and estimate project costs.

Structured and Unstructured Data Analysis

Reviewing large volumes of unstructured data, like emails and scanned hard copies, using AI to find and prioritize information with the help of keywords and patterns can streamline internal investigations.

Continuous active learning (CAL) helps the AI engines adapt and rank data based on relevance, while concept clustering is used to identify contextual similarities and create logical groupings from available sources.

Additionally, data points from the analysis of unstructured data can uncover patterns in structured data. For example, during internal investigations, if a suspected customer is identified in an email, AI can identify similar customer accounts based on shared features, like addresses and onboarding timelines.

Automating Repetitive Tasks

AI efficiently spots confidential details buried in unstructured content, like scanned documents, and redacts personally identifiable information (PII) and sensitive personal information (SPI). Thus eliminating the need to import spreadsheets for tedious pattern matching. This enhances security and saves valuable time in the redaction process.

During internal investigations, identifying whether multiple records refer to the same real-world entity, such as a person, organization, address, or phone number, is crucial. This process, called entity resolution, uses a combination of NLP and AI. NLP helps make sense of unstructured data to connect entities even if they are in different languages, while AI sifts through identification numbers, addresses, and email IDs to find links. Entity resolution using AI and NLP is more accurate than manual processes or fuzzy logic systems.

Digital Forensics

Digital forensics assists in identifying and collecting digital evidence, analyzing it, validating its integrity, and compiling a forensic report for internal investigation purposes. In the case of corporate fraud like Theranos, perpetrators not only create complex schemes to deceive organizations but also use data manipulation techniques to hide illicit activities. Fraudsters often create false documents like financial records, receipts, and invoices to create an illusion of legitimacy or manipulate them.

A specialized digital forensic solution powered by deep learning can detect fake documents by analyzing key information extracted from documents, metadata inconsistencies, and pixel manipulation of images.

No wonder traditional, manual methods used during internal investigations are being augmented with AI-powered tools that facilitate early case assessments, efficient data analysis, task automation, and digital forensics.

Wrapping Up

It’s time to reinvent your internal investigation practice and adopt the latest technological innovations. Contact Knovos to learn how our in-house built technology solutions to modernize your investigation practice.

Categories
eDiscovery

5 Regulatory Considerations You Should Know Before Choosing a Deployment Option for Your eDiscovery Platform

Selecting the right deployment option for your eDiscovery platform is crucial in our digitally-driven business environment. Beyond the software’s features, it’s imperative to navigate the complex regulations pertaining to data residency and privacy.

Why is this important? Compliance mistakes can result in significant legal challenges and financial repercussions. This article aims to illuminate the essential regulatory considerations to be aware of during your selection process.

Cross-Border eDiscovery: An Overview

Imagine a global puzzle where each piece is a country with its own set of data rules. That’s cross-border eDiscovery for you. Let’s break down what the term means:

  • eDiscovery: It’s the digital process where data is identified, collected, and used, especially during legal cases.
  • Cross-border: This refers to when your data travels across countries, crossing different legal boundaries.

Now, think of this scenario: You’ve got data from a Japanese custodian. It’s not as simple as just storing that data anywhere. That data has to be hosted on a server located in Japan. If you are reviewing this data, you’ve got to be logged in from Japan. Now that’s a challenge. But it’s just one example of how tricky eDiscovery data residency can get.

5 Regulatory Considerations You Should Know

Here are five regulatory considerations to keep in mind before choosing a deployment option for your eDiscovery platform:

1. eDiscovery Data Residency

When we talk about data residency, it’s all about where your data lives. It sounds simple, but in the world of eDiscovery, it’s a big deal. Here’s why:

  • Legal implications: Different countries have their own rules about where data should be stored.
  • Custodian’s region: The place where the data comes from matters. Like our Japanese example earlier? If the data’s from Japan, the server’s got to be there too.
  • Access restrictions: Not everyone can jump in and view the data. Depending on where it’s from, there might be rules about who gets to peek.

For instance, let’s consider a case with 20 custodians. If five of them are from Japan and the remaining 15 are from the United States, you must segregate the data into two separate categories. The data from Japanese custodians must be hosted on a server located in Japan, adhering to its specific residency requirements. In contrast, the data from U.S. custodians can be stored as per U.S. laws.

This impacts where the data is stored and influences how the review process is conducted. So, understanding the regional implications for each custodian set is imperative for data residency and access limitations.

2. International Data Privacy Laws

Each country is like a chef with their own recipe for data privacy. Some might have a dash of strictness, others a sprinkle of leniency. What does that mean for you?

  • Variety of laws: From the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the California Consumer Privacy Act, the laws are vast and varied. Privacy compliance in eDiscovery is critical, so firms must understand these laws.
  • Influence on decisions: These laws aren’t just for show. They directly influence your eDiscovery deployment options. Where you store data and how you process it matters big time.
  • Knowledge is key: If you don’t know the laws, you must educate yourself and your staff on them. This will prevent headaches down the road—or even legal trouble.

3. Review and Access Limitations

So, you’ve got this treasure trove of data. But here’s the kicker: not everyone is allowed to lay eyes on it. Review and access rules can sometimes feel like a VIP party, where only a few get on the guest list.

  • Location-based access: In some regions, data reviewers need to be in the same country as the data. Regulators take data privacy in eDiscovery seriously and often impose this rule to ensure the safety of data.
  • Reviewer restrictions: Not just anyone can review. Some regions require specific qualifications or certifications. This red tape can greatly impact your business, so you must be aware of it.
  • Multilingual requirements: The legal team must also assess the platform’s support for regional languages. It’s not just about the documents being in different languages; even the platform’s user interface might need to be adapted for non-English-speaking regional reviewers. Onboarding and training of these regional reviewers should be managed by dedicated local tech support personnel.

4. Local Compliance and Data Sovereignty

Data sovereignty is the idea that data is subject to the laws of the country it’s stored in. This can make or break your eDiscovery strategy.

  • Country-specific storage: Some countries are very strict. They want their data stored within their borders, with no exceptions.
  • Privacy laws: It’s not just about where you store data but also how you handle and protect it. Each country has its playbook, and trust us, they expect you to know the rules.

5. The Risk of Non-Compliance

Here comes the warning part. If you don’t play by the rules, there’s a price to pay. Non-compliance isn’t just a slap on the wrist—it can lead to heavy-duty consequences.

  • Fines and penalties: And we’re not talking pocket change. Some fines can reach up to millions of dollars.
  • Reputational damage: A business’s reputation is golden. Get this wrong, and that gold can quickly tarnish.
  • Legal ramifications: In some cases, non-compliance can land you in court.

Mastering Cross-Border eDiscovery in the Modern Age

Navigating the world of cross-border eDiscovery can feel like you’re in a maze while blindfolded. But don’t despair! Understanding these regulatory considerations can be your map out.

By being savvy about eDiscovery deployment options and staying informed about data residency and privacy, you can make smart choices that keep you on the right side of the law.

We at Knovos are here to help light the way. Remember, knowledge isn’t just power in this game—it’s peace of mind. So, stay informed, stay compliant, and let’s tackle this eDiscovery journey together!

Categories
eDiscovery

How Information Governance Can Transform the eDiscovery Process

With companies increasingly relying on digital platforms, the volume of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) has increased dramatically. This can result in inefficient data management.

Hence, legal departments use eDiscovery tools to manage large-scale data efficiently. eDiscovery refers to the search for and retrieval of relevant data from ESI. These include sources such as emails, documents, social media, instant messages and more.

Although eDiscovery has become an integral part of legal proceedings, legal departments face significant challenges. Such as:

  • The exponential growth of electronic data makes it difficult to manage and review the vast volumes of ESI created.
  • Protecting sensitive and privileged information during the eDiscovery process to maintain client confidentiality.
  • Processes can be time-consuming and expensive especially with manual reviewing of large datasets.
  • Data storage in various locations and formats complicates the identification and data collection in the eDiscovery process.
  • Identifying relevant data from a massive dataset requires high filtering capabilities.

To address these complexities, legal teams can turn to Information Governance.

Understanding Information Governance

Information Governance (IG) refers to the strategic management of data assets. It aims to establish a mechanism for ensuring compliance, maintaining data hygiene, and reducing storage costs. A well-implemented IG framework can help legal departments by:

  • Providing a systematic approach to categorizing data based on its sensitivity and importance.
  • Establishing guidelines for data retention and disposal. This allows a department to retain data for the required duration and then dispose of it when the data is no longer legally needed.
  • Incorporating data security measures against unauthorized access, breaches, and cyber threats.
  • Complying with legal and regulatory requirements related to data privacy and data protection.
  • Clarifying data ownership responsibilities.
  • Ensuring accountability for data management and protection.
  • Creating audit trails to track potential security incidents or policy violations.
  • Facilitating data archiving to retain historical data for legal, regulatory, or business purposes.

How to Transform the eDiscovery Process

IG can play a significant role in the eDiscovery process:

Efficient Data Identification

IG enables legal teams to efficiently identify and collect relevant data for eDiscovery, by implementing simple yet effective data classifications it allows you to:

  • Quickly pinpoint the most critical information.
  • Run searches and then retrieve all relevant documents across various data sources.
  • Eliminate the need for manual data retrieval.
  • Save time and effort during the initial stages of eDiscovery.

Reduced Data Redundancy

IG helps in reducing data redundancy and minimizing storage costs by:

  • Establishing data retention policies.
  • Defining data lifecycle management.
  • Identifying and eliminating exact duplicate data.
  • Streamlining data processing.
  • Optimizing storage resources.

Streamlining Data Preservation Policies in eDiscovery

Data preservation is a strategic approach that ensures the protection and accessibility of data throughout its lifecycle. With data preservation, IG ensures the integrity of potentially relevant data. For example, a company is facing litigation due to a defective product. Here, IG can:

  • Identify and isolate all relevant data associated with the product.
  • Place it under legal hold to avoid any alteration or deletion.
  • Ensures data integrity and accessibility for legal review and analysis.

Enhanced Data Security and Compliance

Legal departments deal with vast amounts of sensitive and confidential data during any eDiscovery process. These include Personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial records, and intellectual property. Holistic IG platforms like Knovos GRC play a vital role in ensuring data security and compliance through:

  • Data encryption, both during transit and storage
  • Implementing strict access controls.
  • Audit logs to provide a comprehensive trail of data access, modification, and sharing.

Automated Data Processing and Review

Leveraging advanced technology tools can automate data processing and review. Data analytics and machine learning can expedite the review and analysis of collected ESI.

Automated processes such as data culling and filtering can:

  • Eliminate exact duplicate documents.
  • Remove irrelevant data.
  • Reduce the volume of data for review.

Machine learning algorithms can be implemented to prioritize and categorize documents based on relevance. Technology-Assisted Review (TAR) quickly ranks documents for review. This reduces the manual effort during the review stage and helps to speed up the eDiscovery process.

Effective Risk Management

IG facilitates effective risk management by:

  • Adhering to data privacy regulations to avoid potential penalties and reputational damage.
  • Conducting risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities in data management practices.
  • Setting up a predefined incident response plan.
  • Conducting forensic analysis to determine the extent of any breaches.

Conclusion

Tackling Information Governance is no longer an option but is a necessity for legal departments. As data becomes abundant, legal departments can experience benefits beyond typical cost savings with IG platforms like Knovos GRC.

We should be embracing the complexities of eDiscovery, welcoming the technology available and thriving with confidence throughout the eDiscovery process.