2. Safety and security
You’ve likely heard the saying that ‘safety comes first, ‘better safe than sorry, or something similar. A cyber forensic laboratory is no exception; after all, it’s where the evidence is stored. At the same time, proper safety and security conditions also make for an important psychological factor that influences productivity.
After all, the digital forensics investigative team should be confident that someone vouches for their safety so they can focus on the task at hand.
To ensure proper safety and security in digital forensic lab requirements, keep the following points in mind:
Storing the evidence
When not in use, the evidence should be properly stored and locked away in a safe, a locker, or a locking cabinet. In other words, a digital forensics lab setup should intend for the evidence to be stored separately from other gadgets, documents, or gear.
By keeping it under lock and key, you get to control who has access to it and that the chain of custody is maintained at all times.
Internal workspace security
Ideally, the internal space should be separated into different sections not everyone can access. This allows you to take a certain staff member inside one room without necessarily granting access to another (where you store vital evidence or other sensitive documentation, for example).
A well-designed forensics science lab setup also controls which staff members have access to it based on a clearance level (low-security, mid-security, and high-security areas).
External workspace security
The security of your computer forensics lab is only as strong as its weakest link. The last thing you’d want is to have someone break in to threaten your staff, steal valuable digital forensics technology and equipment, or tamper with the evidence, so you should never skimp out on a good external security system with CCTV surveillance and an alarm.
For obvious reasons, you should always keep the premises locked and always check an individual’s ID before letting them in.
7. Cyber security
Keeping your cyber forensic lab in line with the latest cyber security standards and best practices is just as important as physical security. Don’t forget you’re working with sensitive data, which could spell out a colossal disaster if someone were to intercept it, alter it, or steal it.
Although there’s no way to cover the extensive field of cyber security in merely a couple of sentences, we’ve condensed it down to the most important points to keep in mind.
Make sure no one can sniff out the network traffic – that includes your very own employees and staff. A good approach is to encrypt network traffic which is typically accomplished by using a secure transfer protocol or by using a VPN.
Consider installing a firewall so you’ll be the first to know whenever there’s a suspicious-looking inward or outbound connection.
Software and operating systems that are out of date are like sending out an invitation for someone to compromise your cyber security defenses. An issue with open source digital forensics software is the fact that sometimes the original developers abandon the project and no longer release any updates for it.
On the other hand, professional digital forensic software solutions such as SalvationDATA’s very own Digital Forensic Lab don’t suffer from this problem and you can always count on ongoing maintenance and support.
Coming up with strong passwords is one of the computer security essentials. In many cases, it’s the only layer of protection against an unauthorized third-party accessing your sensitive data, so it’s your responsibility to have them include:
- Special symbols
- Capital letters
- Non-repetitive strings that are not easily guessable
In addition, you may want to consider implementing 2FA as an additional cyber security measure.
Your staff should be trained to recognize modern cyber security threats and risks such as:
- Unsecured Wi-Fi
- Social engineering
- Untrusted websites
- Lack of 2FA
- Weak passwords
This includes every staff member and everyone who ever comes in contact with the cyber forensics technology and computer systems that your department is using.