It is a well-known fact that over 90% of all information is created and stored electronically. The exponential growth of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) has had a tremendous impact on the way we live our lives and the manner in which businesses use information. Apart from stored (static) data, there is also the increasing growth of network data or data in motion.
Information growth means that as part of the need for corporate governance, companies need to have a good understanding of how much data is stored within their environments, have readiness plans in place in preparation for internal or external investigations and audits, as well as putting in place the right tools and solutions that would collect, process, analyse, and produce the required information in a forensically-sound manner. Today's legal professionals need to fully understand the complexities of IT in order to be able to present evidence in disputes in a way that is defensible and timely.
Crucially important is the authenticity, security, and integrity of digital information used by law enforcement agencies in the proper presentation and prosecution of crimes. In contrast to former years where most evidence was in tangible paper format, new forms of information and evidence can be found in a myriad of formats; databases, word documents and spreadsheets, image and video files etc. These forms of information can now be found on CDs, mobile phones, USB devices, personal digital assistants, and other emerging electronic devices. These changes have influenced the way in which authorities and courts treat and accept electronic evidence. Gradually, electronic evidence is being seen on the same level as paper and other forms of tangible evidence.