Remote Collections Increase Drastically

As we discussed in our last post “How the Pandemic Has Revolutionized Discovery Collection”, the enforced social distancing resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic shift eDiscovery collection to be conducted remotely.  According to ComplexDiscovery, the estimated percentage of collections to be performed remotely in 2020 increased from 5% to 90%!

How a Remote Forensic Data Collection Works

  • First: If needed, we ship a remote collection kit to the custodian’s location. The kit may include the storage device and software necessary to conduct the collection and capture data in a forensically sound manner.

  • Second: Our forensic collection consultant will set up an online meeting with the custodian, similar to Zoom meetings.

  • Third: Guided through a step-by-step process by our forensic collection consultant, the custodian of the data will provide us with access to the data (i.e., email, computer, or mobile device) we are tasked with acquiring forensically.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The custodian’s password is never requested by the forensic collection consultant nor is it recorded during the online meeting. The custodian will enter their password blindly for us at the appropriate time while we are online together.

  • Fourth: Data is targeted by the forensic consultant for collection by selecting all data on the device to be collected, filtering by a specified date range, or filtering based on other parameters (such as those provided by an attorney, etc.). With access to the data on the device to be collected having been provided, the forensic collection consultant can conduct this step with minimal assistance from the custodian.

  • Fifth: Once the collection process is complete, the custodian will ship the remote collection kit back to Forensic Discovery.

So, there you have it – five simple steps for remote data collection and the first one doesn’t even require the custodian to do anything other than be present to receive the remote collection kit!

Admissibility of Remote Collections

So, is the remote forensic collection process forensically sound and defensible? ABSOLUTELY! The remote forensic collection is handled in the same manner that an on-site collection would be handled utilizing the exact same tools such as AccessData FTK Imager and Cellebrite, just to name a few. Forensic Discovery just adds a pipeline to transcend the distance using an online meeting.

Once the data is in our possession, the Forensic Discovery team takes it from there through the rest of the eDiscovery life cycle (including processing and loading to a review platform, supporting production activities, etc.). But the data in its originally collected form is preserved in case there are challenges to the collection process.


The cost savings that can be typically gained via a remote forensic collection, the ease in which the collection can be conducted, and the admissibility and defensibility of the collection process are all reasons why remote data forensic collections have become the standard for most eDiscovery collections. Now that you know how easy it is, there’s no reason NOT to consider having eDiscovery collection conducted remotely for your cases!

For more information about Forensic Discovery’s Computer Forensics services, click here.

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