How to Set Up a Digital Forensic Lab? (7 Steps to Approach)

Technical Tips
2022-04-29

To maximize the credibility of your law enforcement organization and crack more cases, it’s important to meet the industry’s strictest computer forensics lab requirement standards and upgrade it when an upgrade is due. But apart from budget considerations, getting the project rolling can be a slow start due to getting lost in all the information that’s out there and not knowing where to begin.

To outline the process for you, we’re going to list the necessary functions of digital forensic lab, examine its purpose, and cover all the questions you should ask to arrange a perfect digital forensic lab set up in a an easy to follow step-by-step manner.

Step 1: Get acquainted with the purpose of a digital forensic lab

Prior to determining the right digital forensic lab set up for your needs, it’s essential to cover the basics.

So What is a digital forensic lab??

At its very core, a digital forensics lab is a central space to analyze evidence. It’s where a certified digital forensic examiner extracts and inspects evidence from various types of digital devices based on which to prosecute the perpetrator of the crime.

With its help, you will be able to:

  • Improve the accuracy of the investigation
  • Solve more cases in less time
  • Increase the reputation of your law enforcement organization
  • Secure more opportunities for career advancement and promotion due to the outstanding work.

Police PromotionYour work and your organization deserve to be at the next level!  Or, do you just want to stand still and refuse to make progress?

Step 2: Determine the primary focus of your department

Depending on what your department specializes in, you should pick the kind of digital forensic lab equipment that best compliments your work.

1. What types of digital evidence do you usually process?

That’s where the majority of your budget should go. Due to the increase in efficiency, you will be able to solve more cases in record time, so in essence, the investment will pay for itself.

2. Say, you’re more of a niche department that specializes in a certain area of digital forensics (for example mobile forensics).

Then, the digital forensics equipment you end up going with should reflect that.

3. However, What if your objective is to become an all-in-one digital forensics service provider?

In that case, you need the kind of digital forensic lab setup that can handle anything you throw at it. A well-rounded digital forensic lab should be able to handle various types of operating systems, file systems, and databases, including:

  • Mobile OS: Android, iOS
  • Computer OS: Windows, Linux, Mac
  • Disk Format: NTFS, FAT32
  • Database: MySQL, SQLServer, SQLite

Armed Force Security Center of Royal Thai Armed - ConferenceThe Security Center of Royal Thai Armed Forces was determining their focus before the implementation by SalvationDATA

Step 3: Consider the physical limitations, the space, and the location you have available

Unless you’ll be moving your operations to a whole new location, you’re going to have to work with what you’ve got.

  • This involves measuring the space you have available and making sure it’s suitable for high-end digital forensics lab equipment.
  • Visualize the big picture of how everything will go together and don’t forget to leave enough room for maintenance and upgrades further down the road.

Top - View - All Functionalities Digital Forensic Lab - big - scale--Top View – A certain solution for the all-functionality digital forensic lab by SalvationDATA

Essential Elements

Your digital forensic lab setup should include the following essential elements:

  1. Basic Sector: Case acceptance, IT infrastructure, Evidence storage
  2. Functionality Sector: Computer Division, Mobile devices Divison, Video division, Audio division, Database division, Data recovery division
  3. Processing Sector: Storage medium repair division, Digital analysis & display division
  4. Output Sector: Report generation division, Conference center division

Digital Lab Division in SalvationDATAThe Advanced Digital Forensic Lab Division Solution

Environment factor

Before going further, you should remind that what you’re looking for is an environment that is clean, cool, and available – the last thing you want is to risk that the evidence ends up damaged due to unsuitable environmental factors.

Implementation location

If you find out you need a new central base of operations, consider moving to a place where most of your clients/visitors/ users come from.

This will greatly reduce the time it takes for evidence samples to reach your lab and thus make the investigation process as efficient as possible.

Safety & Security

Furthermore, there are several safety and security considerations to have in mind when choosing the optimal space.

  • Make sure only those cleared to have access can enter the premises. Since you’ll be working with sensitive data, every third-party contractor could be a potential malicious insider, so think twice before letting somebody inside.
  • Due to similar reasons, make sure the computer screens are not facing the windows – someone could be spying from the outside of the building, so keep the confidential data safe.

Top view - digital forensic lab

By considering all aboved essentials, an advanced forensic lab is expected to be built very soon.

Step 4: Assess your existing equipment

After that, before investing in an entirely new set of digital forensics equipment and gear, assess your current one to see if there’s anything that can be repurposed always make sense.

However, if the current gear you’re working with is really old, it’s probably better to give it a complete overhaul – a digital forensic lab set up that is older might not be up to the task of handling modern digital forensics challenges.

Either way, the computer you’re going to be using should be dedicated to digital forensics purposes exclusively. Ideally, you should have a dedicated machine for every task – one for mobile forensics, one for computer forensics, and so on.

When it comes to the sheer processing power of your computer forensics lab equipment, the most specced up computer should be reserved for evidence processing and analysis – the one for acquisition and administrative tasks always comes second.

Digital Forensic Lab

Cutting-edge digital forensic gears help boost your efficiency during investigations

If you have some extra monitors lying around from your old digital forensic lab set up, think about re-using them. In fact, you can even use them to create a dual-monitor setup for extra screen real estate and heightened productivity.

Step 5: Determine your software needs

Software is one of the most essential parts of any digital forensic lab setup, hence it’s also one of the most substantial expenses you can expect to cover.

Free open-source forensic tools are an option?

Unless, of course, you’re planning to wing it by relying on open-source digital forensic tools exclusively. That, however, can have its fair share of drawbacks, the most notable of which is a steep learning curve, lack of support, hidden malware, data loss, and simply not being up to the modern day’s digital forensics challenges.

As a general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. If nothing else, paid digital forensics software is the superior choice due to the support that you get. As you probably know already, during an investigation, time is of the essence, and you simply cannot afford to lose any of it by having to stumble over technical hurdles.

Choose the digital forensic software  properly and wisely

When choosing your digital forensics software provider, give preference to the ones that have specialized in serving the digital forensics niche exclusively rather than developing a general type of software solutions.

Keep in mind that,  these should be designed to preserve the integrity of the evidence and make sure it stands in court.

Above all else, your digital forensics software of choice should have the features you need to support your workflow and the digital forensics field your department specializes in.

Database Analysis & Forensics System_no background (2)@2x-8There is dedicated digital forensics software and there is a generic one. Where will you put your trust? Plus, some advanced ones like database forensics software, as a dedicated digital forensics tool.  you’ve got nowhere to find except dedicated providers like SalvationDATA 

Step 6: Cover your hardware needs

Without the proper computer forensics lab equipment, it’s impossible to stay on top of crime in your area. When your clients/visitors/users come to you, they want to see that the fate of the investigation rests in good hands.

To make a convincing case, double-check the computer forensics lab requirement list that’s in effect in your local area. For starters, be on the lookout for the following standards as a sign of confidence:

Control center - 1 - Digital Lab - SalvationDATA

Apart from the run-of-the-mill digital forensics equipment such as workstations, monitors, evidence storage, large displays, intelligent tables&chair, and similar, it’s a good idea to cover all your bases and have a well-rounded base of operations from where you’ll be conducting your investigation.

Besides, as optional hardware, you could look into them specifically, which includes:

  • Microscopes
  • Spectrometers
  • Chromatographs
  • Fume hoods

 

Step 7. Pick your digital forensic lab provider

Finally, the last step is to do your due diligence and pick a trustworthy provider that’s most suitable for guaranteeing all the necessary functions of a digital forensic lab.

You deserve a solution that won’t leave you hanging, the kind that inspires you to do your best digital forensics work without any technical obstacles.

Ask yourself: what brand of digital forensics lab do the top law enforcement agencies rely on? Whatever they use, it’s probably for a good reason. Don’t be afraid to shop around and see what’s getting the best reviews and what meshes with your law enforcement organization.

If you’re still undecided, you can’t go wrong with SalvationDATA’s Digital Forensic Lab – the #1 provider in China and the surrounding countries in Asia, middle-east, South Africa, and Europe, to name a few.

A brief overview of Digital Forensic Lab by SalvationDATA

Scenario Image of Digital Lab in SalvationDATA -2

In case you’re not familiar with it already, you’re invited to check out Digital Forensic Lab’s full feature page.

But to keep it short and to the point, know that it will:

  • Unlock all the tools you need to crack a case in an organized one-stop digital forensics solution center
  • Help you solve more cases in record time
  • Make technical hurdles a thing of the past thanks to its user-friendly interface
  • Resolve any incompatibilities you would otherwise face by having to rely on multiple hardware and software providers
  • Allow you to kiss goodbye to all the headaches associated with using outdated computer forensics lab equipment
  • Generate digital forensic reports at the click of a button that meet the court admissibility criteria
  • Give you an increase in credibility in the law enforcement field and earn yourself more clients and a nice promotion
  • The efficiency of an industry-grade digital forensics software solution that allows you to improve your accuracy so you can bring every criminal to justice

With cutting-edge functionality like this, there is simply no other competitor that offers anything similar. It’s like a turn-key solution for all your digital forensic lab setup needs.

So what’s holding you back from getting yours?

Conclusion

When the outcome of the digital forensics investigation is at stake, the consequences of working with outdated computer forensics lab equipment and software can be disastrous.

Can you afford to risk not being able to solve a case, missing deadlines, not getting promoted, not enjoying industry recognition, and not measuring up against your digital forensics peers?

Don’t delay and give your digital forensics lab the overhaul it needs. Remember – this is not a cost, it’s an investment that virtually pays for itself through a higher case resolution percentage and winning the trust with your work.

  • Leave a Reply

    Please rate

    Tell us about your experience

  • Leave a Reply

    Please rate

    Tell us about your experience