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For those contemplating starting a Digital Forensics section, review the issues listed below. Although not a complete listing, minimally, it can serve as a starting point. Individual specific needs and requirements will possibly identify others that have to be addressed.For those contemplating starting a Digital Forensics section, review the issues listed below. Although not a complete listing, minimally, it can serve as a starting point. Individual specific needs and requirements will possibly identify others that have to be addressed. If the goal is to eventually attain accreditation for the Digital Forensics section, than consider enlisting the aid of a consultant with ASCLD/LAB experience to assist throughout the entire process.

Initial Planning: This should also include projected timelines.

  • Overall scope of the services to be offered
  • In house only analysis and/or on-site analysis (crime scene)
  • Who is going to coordinate the project
  • Hiring of a consultant or architect
  • Location (in agency, stand-alone external building, rented/leased space, turn-key operation, etc.)
  • Space requirements
  • Number of examiners assigned to the section
  • Telephone communication systems
  • Alarm systems for security purposes
  • Dry fire suppression system
  • Computer networking within the section (Ethernet, wireless, etc.)
  • Hardware requirements (purchase equipment, build your own systems, etc.)
  • Software (licensed software, what to purchase, how many copies, etc.)
  • Furniture requirements (modular or other type)
  • Routine supplies (optical disks, cables, etc.)
  • Bidding process for construction/renovation
  • Section startup
  • Budget allocations

Design: It may be beneficial to visit existing Digital Forensics sections.

  • The overall design
  • Physical building location and ease of access (ground floor, upper floor, parking, etc.)
  • Floor plans (efficient work flow, locations of adjacent areas, etc.)
  • Administrative area
  • Evidence intake, receiving, storage, and return area
  • Forensic area (individual workstations, common work areas, etc.)
  • Lighting (natural, fluorescent, etc.) • UPS requirements (location of electrical outlets, etc.)
  • Security provisions (key control, electronic, biometric, etc.)
  • HVAC intakes/outlets (removal of generated instrument heat, humidity control, etc.)
  • Finishes for floors, walls, and ceiling (can vary depending on the services offered)
  • Equipment and systems maintenance • Corridor locations (ease of access, provisions for tours, etc.)
  • Future expansion (new equipment, more personnel, storage, etc.)

Operations: Critical to the overall quality of services provided.

  • Organizational structure
  • Actual number of staff needed
  • Hiring practices
  • Training programs
  • Administrative and analytical policies and procedures
  • Validation/verification practices
  • Evidence handling/storage
  • Proficiency testing
  • Quality assurance oversight
  • Health and safety planning
  • Access to legal counsel

From Starting a Digital Forensics Section by John J. Barbara

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