Why Digital Forensic Lab is Irreplaceable by Single Forensic Tools?


When it comes to digital forensics, there are always tricks being played by law enforcement agencies that are limited by the public sector budget to employ single functionality digital forensic tools instead of bidding and installing an integrated all-function digital forensic lab.

It’s not unusual for those medium-small scale countries and politically blocked counties.

However, in essence, equiping a complete and scientific digital forensics lab has gradually been a cons`ensus for countries who are dedicated to their citizen’s safety and happinesses. With industry-standard case assistance capability and reliability makes much more sense than those solutions with simply lower cost, since what a law enforcement agency sets up for is for higher safety of the country and trustworthy solution help to achieve the goal.

With digital forensic lab solution having been optimized by contractors’ like SalvationDATA, the total cost and even the difficulty of construction have sharply dropped to be within the average counties’ public sectors’ budget.

Much affordable than ever before.

That said, you definitely want to find out how is an integrated digital forensics lab that the majority law enforcement agencies pursing, better than solely individual forensic tools.

Let’s dive into it.


With the continuous development of information technology, we are entering a digital age. Computers, mobile devices, and other related equipment and technologies are increasingly integrated into people’s work and life, enriching and changing people’s lives.

However, at the same time, they are also used and applied to criminal activities.

Various violations and crimes involving digital material evidence continue to emerge, and digital material evidence has developed into a new form of evidence beyond the traditional, appearing in various cases.

Looking to the future, it can be foreseen that with the increasing popularity of digital devices, more and more criminal traces will be left on digital devices used by criminals consciously or unconsciously.

To help investigators tackle such issues, the digital forensics market is full of various single digital forensics tools covering:

In particular, for mobile forensics, some vendors even split their integrated mobile forensic software into several editions with limited features so as to be able to seek more profits.

However, this to some degree weakens their capability of providing integrated digital forensics solutions for users, resulting in the low efficiency and high cost of digital forensics in the global society.

And this is one of the reasons more and more law enforcement agencies are choosing to deploy why an integrated digital forensics laboratory instead of single tools.

Apart from that, some pros and cons for both are worth noticing before making your decision.

Limitations of Single Forensic Tools

Inability to handle complex cases

Limited functionality leading to its inability to handle complex cases is one limitation of compared to single forensic tools.

As we already know, there are typically 8 types of digital evidence nowadays, including:

  1. Logs
  2. Video footage and images
  3. Archives
  4. Active data
  5. Metadata
  6. Residual data
  7. Volatile data
  8. Replicant data

In some cases, it may be necessary to analyze data from multiple sources or to recover data that is hidden or encrypted.

Single tools may not have the capability to handle such complex cases, which can result in incomplete investigations.

However, an integrated digital forensic laboratory can provide a comprehensive approach that allows multiple tools to work together, resulting in increased efficiency and accuracy, and enabling forensic analysts to handle complex cases.

Difficulty in collaboration

Difficulty in collaboration is another limitation of single forensic tools. Not only that digital evidence has different types of format and source, but when it’s time for the analysis and conclusion of an investigative case, the cross-comparison and cooperation between different digital evidence would also have a tremendous impact on the investigation collaboration.

In some cases, forensic analysts may have to use multiple tools to analyze different aspects of a case, and the lack of collaboration and communication between these tools may lead to missed evidence and incomplete investigations.

An integrated digital forensic laboratory enables multiple tools to work together seamlessly, enhancing collaboration and communication and resulting in more accurate and thorough investigations.

Advantages of Digital Forensic Labs

The reason why most agencies employ their digital forensic labs instead of purchasing single forensic tools is due to the advantages of digital forensic labs are much more outstanding than the latter.

Here are some of the key advantages of having a digital forensic lab:

Comprehensive approach

Digital forensic labs are essential to law enforcement agencies that need to investigate digital crimes.

An integrated digital forensic laboratory provides a comprehensive and efficient approach to digital forensics, enabling forensic analysts to handle complex cases that involve multiple sources of data and encryption.

Increased efficiency and accuracy

An integrated digital forensic laboratory provides increased efficiency and accuracy by allowing multiple forensic tools to work together seamlessly.

This results in better data processing and analysis and enables forensic analysts to handle complex cases that involve multiple sources of data and encryption.

An integrated lab can also streamline the entire digital forensics process, allowing for faster turnaround times and more effective use of resources.

Enhanced collaboration and communication

Moreover, by having all the necessary tools and resources in one place, analysts can avoid the need to transfer data between different devices, which can lead to errors and delays.

provide a centralized location for all forensic activities, allowing for better management of resources and more effective collaboration between investigators.

Additionally, the collaborative nature of an integrated laboratory enhances communication and collaboration among forensic analysts, leading to more accurate and thorough investigations.

Specialized equipment and software

Another advantage is that it can provide access to specialized equipment and software that may not be available with individual tools. This allows forensic analysts to perform more comprehensive analyses of digital evidence, leading to more accurate and thorough investigations.

For example, a digital forensic lab may include specialized hardware for imaging and analyzing hard drives and other storage devices, as well as software for analyzing network traffic and other types of data.

Compliance with industry standards

An integrated digital forensic laboratory can help law enforcement agencies comply with industry standards for digital forensics.

These standards ensure that digital evidence is collected, analyzed, and presented in a way that is admissible in court.

How is Digital Forensic Lab Being a Better Option?

As digital storage media are diverse, a single forensics tool cannot meet the actual forensics needs of case investigators.

As we know, digital storage media include digital audio tape (DAT), CD-ROM, writeable optical disks, magnetic tapes, and magnetic disks, as well as communications channels for local and wide area networks, LANs, and WANs, respectively.

A single digital forensics tool can only get data from one or two kinds of media. For example, a mobile forensics tool can only extract data from mobile devices, while it doesn’t work for computers or CCTV DVRs.

A Quick intro for digital forensic lab

Digital Forensics Lab (DFL) is a facility that is dedicated to the investigation of digital evidence. It is designed to provide investigators with the necessary environment, infrastructure, and equipment to safely collect and analyze digital evidence.

DFLs are often used by law enforcement, private investigators, corporations, and government agencies to retrieve evidence from computers, laptops, mobile devices, and other digital media.

A digital forensics lab is a specialized area for investigation personnel engaged in the acceptance of

  • Computer-related crime cases
  • Digital data exploration
  • Investigation and evidence collection
  • Data recovery
  • Password cracking
  • Identification analysis
  • Evidence storage
  • Process recording
  • File filing management

In short,  a digital forensic lab could integrate various forensic tools in order to meet the different needs of case investigators.

If you would like to dive deeper into the introduction of the digital forensic lab, be sure to check out our ultimate guideline for it.

Digital Lab Division in SalvationDATA

The operation of a digital forensic lab

Take the digital forensic lab solution from salvationDATA for instance.

Digital forensics involves the processes of identification, preservation, analysis, documentation, and presentation.

Each step improves your crime investigation in a way compared to single forensic tools.

Let’s see each step in detail:

  • Identification

This is the first step in the digital forensic process.

The identification process mainly includes the content of the evidence, where the evidence is stored, and finally, how the evidence is stored (in what format).

The electronic storage medium can be a personal computer, smartphone, iPad, etc.

  • Preservation

In this step, the data is isolated, protected, and preserved.

It includes preventing people from using digital devices to prevent digital evidence from being tampered with.

  • Analysis

At this stage, investigators reconstruct the data fragments and come to conclusions based on the evidence found.

However, it may require countless inspections to support a particular crime theory.

  • Documentation

In this process, a record of all visible data must be created. This helps to recreate the crime scene and conduct inspections.

It includes proper crime scene records, as well as photography, sketching, and crime scene mapping.

  • Presentation

The last step is the process of summarizing and explaining conclusions. However, it should be written in layman’s abstract terms, since abstract terms should refer to specific details.

In this case, a forensics lab is capable of covering all the above processes and forming a closed loop under its automation functionality and in accordance with:

  • International standards and norms
  • The source of digital evidence
  • the standardization of the inspection process and the authentication process
  • The transparency of evidence extraction.

Nowadays, law enforcement and judicial agencies urgently need to cultivate a large number of talents who are familiar with and proficient in digital forensics. Luckily, this is what a digital forensic lab helps to do.

It trains and improves the comprehensive forensics skills and capabilities of case-handling personnel.


Time is changing and technology is evolving. Digital forensics workers and related agencies should keep up with the development of the digital age by equipping themselves with the most advanced one-stop digital forensic lab in response to the increasingly rampant digitalization in crime.

Having a fully equipped and integrated laboratory has a number of advantages over relying solely on individual forensic tools and the benefits of a digital forensic lab we’re covered above must enlighten you in a way.

Therefore, be sure to check out the instruction to set up a digital forensic lab step by step that we advocated in the previous article in the next step.

And, it’s up to you to catch up with the latest technology to address the increasingly rampant crimes in your country and city!