Digital Forensics Dilemmas faced by HR Professionals

28 January 2013

HR professionals face many challenges when investigating alleged misconduct by current and former employees. One of the main challenges is to find information and evidence about what has happened, and capturing factual information about the conduct of employees.

Increasingly HR professionals are faced with evidence locked away in computer systems, which they are unable to access or find. This might include:

  • E-mail correspondence which has been deleted from an employee’s work laptop or computer
  • Evidence that sensitive files may have been transferred onto USB drives or loaded into file sharing web-sites such as DropBox
  • Employees using Skype or similar services to contact competitors and pass information to them through messages
  • Employees misusing e-mail, mobile phones or company owned property inappropriately (for example connecting to pornographic websites or downloading indecent images


Digital Forensics Analysis is becoming increasingly useful to businesses. Computers can contain key evidence for many types of Human Resource investigations, examples of which are:

  • sexual harrassment cases
  • allegations of discrimination
  • intellectual property theft/trade secrets
  • wrongful termination claims
  • computer misuse
  • mobile phone misuse

Evidence can be found in electronic mail systems, on network servers, and on individual employee’s work computers or mobile phones. However, due to the ease with which computer data can be manipulated, if the search and analysis is not performed by qualified and independent Digital Forensics Analysts, it could be inadmissible in a Court of Law or Tribunal.

A well conducted, forensically sound investigation of computer forensic evidence and mobile device forensic evidence can provide HR professionals with the evidence they need to support their investigations. Conducting a full forensic investigation at the outset can help avoid the use of resources internally, and ensure that costly mistakes do not. IntaForensics can work with your organisation to help either proactively before issues arise or reactively if an investigation becomes necessary.

Intaforensics can proactively work with your organisation to provide a proven evidentially sound method to facilitate the regular storage of employee computer/mobile phone data. This might be utilised when members of staff leave your organisation. Therefore, if a litigation case becomes necessary at any point afterwards, the data is securely stored ready for forensic analysis. This is particularly important for groups of staff who have access to sensitive data which might be as valuable to your competitors as to your own organisation.

Alternatively IntaForensics can be used in a more reactive mode to assist when an incident has occurred – conscious of the sensitivity of the situation we respond quickly and, if required, covertly, outside of office hours.

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