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Digital Evidence Management System: An Ultimate Guide 

This short guide explains all the various steps digital evidence goes through before court presentation and how VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) facilitates each phase efficiently.
by Sidra Jabeen Updated on December 2, 2022

Digital evidence is growing exponentially and playing a crucial role in every investigation process. This raises the need for an intelligent digital evidence management system to simplify all the various steps of the digital evidence lifecycle, making it easier for law enforcement agencies to deliver justice and close cases faster.

But what exactly is the Digital Evidence Lifecycle, and how does a Digital Evidence Management System helps simplify all its lengthy, manual processes? Well, you'll know all these tips in just a bit!

This short guide explains all the various steps digital evidence goes through before court presentation and how VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) facilitates evidence handling and management throughout the case investigation and court trial proceedings.

Collecting and managing digital evidence is a grave challenge for officers!

There are a few pain points that are quite evident:

  • The amount of data is enormous; how to ingest it?

  • How to upload it?

  • Where to store terabytes of digital evidence from various sources?

  • How to prevent unauthorized access to evidence files and store them securely?

  • How to ensure secure evidence sharing among relevant stakeholders?

Well, a digital evidence management system like VIDIZMO is the one-stop solution to these challenges and more.

VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System
Let's look at all the stages of the Digital Evidence Lifecycle and how VIDIZMO DEMS comes in handy every step of the way!

Digital Evidence Ingestion

Storing and organizing large amounts of data in a secure platform is a top priority.

But before storage, you need to upload it on the portal from various sources.

Every piece of evidence upholds immense importance, especially at a court hearing where a single piece of evidence can turn around a case entirely.

However, if digital evidence is stored but not organized, it is equivalent to dumping your data in a black hole.

An efficient digital evidence lifecycle ensures that digital evidence is kept secure from the time of collection till the case closure.

The first step is to ingest data. Evidence is submitted in different forms, from different hardware devices to software solutions. The system allows the ingestion of digital evidence from various sources: mobile phones, laptops, CCTV, body-worn cams, dashcams, drones, and more.

After ingestion, the next step is to upload the evidence directly to the DEMS from your local storage or any other source.

It seems an easy process, but it is actually not!

VIDIZMO DEMS reduces the pain and efforts of uploading huge stacks of digital evidence files, where you can choose a variety of ways to upload digital evidence on the portal.

VIDIZMO simplifies this process to upload evidence in different sizes, quality, and file formats.

The following are some of the ways offered by VIDIZMO to upload digital files smartly onto the DEMS portal:

  • Bulk Upload: Users can upload data in bulk. Metadata can be added to the bulk uploaded content.

  • Watch folders: VIDIZMO allows contributor+ users to publish content via configured watch folders. The system configures the folder to "watch" it at specific intervals of time and upload any detected contents.

Either way, VIDIZMO's team is always available to support and provide professional services for data uploading and migrating processes.

The system is equipped to convert proprietary file format to open-standard format while keeping the original file intact – ensuring that no third-party programs are required for file processing.

After the successful uploading process, here comes the most challenging phase of organizing and managing digital evidence files.

Your evidence files must be segregated and categorized into multiple case folders for quick search, and it also helps in the discovery management process.

VIDIZMO DEMS enables users to create multiple cases, each containing relevant digital evidence files in the portal. You can create folders within the case to better organize your data.

Digital Evidence Storage

Once the files are uploaded, the next step is to store the evidence. You can either choose to store on-premises or in a 3rd party cloud storage. Both options are viable based on your priorities.

For easy data accessibility, security and scalable storage without constraints, cloud storage is preferred. Cloud storage provides data security to all your digital content without any hassle.

Salesforce Security Survey Infographic

Source: Salesforce Survey - Benefits of Cloud Computing

On the other hand, on-premises deployment allows organizations to keep their data secure within their own data centers. Companies highly concerned about data security and wanting strict control over their organizational data usually prefer on-premises deployment options to store data in their own servers.

Cloud vs. on-premises is a never-ending debate, but the good news is that VIDIZMO DEMS supports both with flexible deployment options, allowing you to scale or change up storage solutions according to your needs.

Avail Storage with Benefits

Storage is a need, but what if you get flexible data storage options with end-to-end digital evidence management capabilities, all in a centralized, secure solution?

VIDIZMO DEMS does that for you!

It equips law enforcement agencies with the right tools to automate processes while bringing together all digital evidence in a centralized, scalable storage solution.

Flexibility

Store your files securely while allowing authenticated access to them from anywhere worldwide. VIDIZMO offers Cloud, On-premises, and Hybrid storage options. It also allows them to transcend the limitations of being tied to a single location. Different files can be accessed from different locations globally from any device.

Scalability

Cloud-based allows businesses to upgrade their storage and infrastructure or downsize it according to their business requirements. Migration to the cloud is secure and helps to upscale or downscale to meet the fluctuating demand.

Click to read more on the Flexible Deployment Options of VIDIZMO.

Digital Evidence Security

It is critical to remember that evidence ingestion and its management will amount to nothing without the right security measures in place.

One wrong move and the integrity of your digital evidence can come into question – wasting away evidence required to close your case. Hence, evidence security is of the utmost importance.

Do you want to know how VIDIZMO tackles your security concerns and provides a secure platform for all your data?

To ensure that the integrity of digital evidence is well maintained at all levels, VIDIZMO provides security features and fulfills legal compliances.

Some of the evidence security features are as follows:

  • End-to-End Encryption at rest, in transit and during use.

  • Integration with multiple SSO Identity providers such as Azure AD, OneLogin, Ping etc.

  • Another layer of security is provided by password protection for digital evidence files.

  • Role-Based Access Control helps to assign a specific role to each portal user with a predefined set of permissions. For example, the Manager has the highest position in the hierarchy of roles and has the most rights in the portal.

  • Location or IP restrictions can prevent unauthorized access.

  • Tamper detection workflows enable users to verify the integrity of evidence through SHA cryptographic hash values.

  • Set custom evidence retention policies based on the legal requirements you adhere to.

Furthermore, VIDIZMO understands the importance of fulfilling legal compliance requirements such as GDPR, FOIA, HIPAA, and CJIS.

Various security and data governance capabilities in VIDIZMO, like redaction, custom security policies, and audit logs, help law enforcement agencies seamlessly meet these various compliance requirements without any hassle.

Content Processing of Evidence

VIDIZMO truly has a landmine filled with valuable security features. However, what if I tell you that even with such stringent security measures in place,

VIDIZMO enables you to speed up data processing workflows.

VIDIZMO makes it possible through features like automatic transcoding and various AI-powered capabilities securely on one platform. Digital evidence is precious, which is why VIDIZMO DEMS allows you to run these automated processes without compromising evidence security.

Automated Transcoding

Transcoding is to create multiple rendition files of a video in various sizes, resolutions, bitrates, and formats providing the end user the autonomy to choose the version that is more compatible with the device they are using.

VIDIZMO supports automatic transcoding to ensure that critical evidence files are always accessible on all devices, browsers, and locations, even under unstable bandwidth conditions.

Automatic Transcription and Translation

VIDIZMO offers machine-generated transcription (speech-to-text) services. These transcripts can be further translated into around 50+ languages. On top of that, there is multilingual transcription support using which you can transcribe up to 4 different spoken languages in the same video simultaneously.

VIDIZMO allows you to use these transcripts and other AI-power detection processes to extract keywords, support metadata tagging automatically, and ultimately facilitate platform-wide and in-video smart search based on faces, persons, license plates, certain weapons and vehicles.

Automatic Redaction

Mainly, Redaction is a must to hide personally identifiable information in digital evidence files to meet security, legal or compliance requirements.

Redaction is not only limited to objects but documents, audio, videos, license plates and much more. It is not easy to redact a 1000+ word document or an hour-long video. These are some of the challenges when someone is performing redaction manually.

VIDIZMO AI Redaction Tool provides the autonomy to redact the data automatically.

Automatic Video Redaction Tool

Learn More About Redaction in VIDIZMO

All you need to do is detect the elements you want to redact, track them frame-by-frame and select the redaction option to initiate the process.

This is how redaction is done with just a few clicks in just a few minutes!

Want to know more? Here is a detailed guide about Redaction.

Digital Evidence Review and Analysis

For law enforcement officers, prosecutors and defense attornies, leaps of data piles up for review!

They are well aware of how painful it is to review all the various evidence files and extract useful information from them within a limited time.

This is where VIDIZMO DEMS comes to their rescue! How? Read on to find out.

AI-Based Search

How will you search your desired video evidence files or cases amongst thousands of stored data files?

Here, you need advanced search capabilities that do the job for you!

VIDIZMO enables you to add manual and automatic tags, extract keywords and associate related metadata to each file and further allows you to assign custom identifiers such as Case ID number and docket number to evidence files at the time of data upload or later on to save your time during evidence retrieval, review, and analysis.

VIDIZMO uses the power of artificial intelligence to quickly search inside digital evidence files through spoken words, on-screen text, faces, vehicles, weapons, license plates, brand logos, sentiments, and more.

Annotations

For interactive collaboration between the prosecutor and defense attorney, you can highlight significant information in the evidence through annotations and add relevant notes accordingly.

For instance, in video evidence, you can highlight suspects and critical pointers that indicate them as suspects in a crime. You can highlight their faces, add notes, and then share the files with the relevant person for an efficient discovery management process.

Secure Digital Evidence Sharing

Sharing Digital Evidence is not that simple!

The fear of data breaches always overshadows the users. Sharing with authorized persons only and preventing unauthorized access is what matters to the organization.

VIDIZMO provides limited sharing functionality to its users. You can set the number of views with the date and time available for evidence access, block download options for specific users, share evidence via a link, create multiple links for each evidence file and share them with different departments externally and much more.

Secure Limited Sharing of Digital Evidence Files

Learn More About VIDIZMO Evidence Sharing Capabilities

Evidence Integrity

During a trial, the priority is to present authentic digital evidence in court. Once evidence is shared ahead, there is a higher chance of evidence tampering.

Reports such as audit logs and chain of custody are maintained to show all the activities performed on evidence and whenever someone accesses it.

VIDIZMO provides you with up-to-date evidence chain of custody and portal audit logs to ensure the evidence integrity remains intact throughout the process without a shred of doubt.

A comprehensive chain of custody is maintained for each evidence file in the portal to prove the authenticity of evidence in court. VIDIZMO's chain of custody report answers the following questions:

  • Name of the user who uploaded the evidence.

  • IP address or location of the user.

  • Data and time of evidence uploaded on the portal.

  • Events and actions performed on the evidence.

  • Details about the activities performed on each evidence file.

chain of custody elements

Explore All Features

Make your next move

VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is recognized in the IDC MarketScape 2020 as a secure, device-agnostic, and user-friendly evidence management software.

With 20 years of experience in this domain, VIDIZMO stands among the top vendors, which is why it understands your needs or preferences and provides a secure CJIS-compliant platform.

 

It helps you secure your evidence and provides multiple deployment options to help you choose according to your requirement. Ingest data from a variety of sources with different formats without any complications.

The perfect solution to all your digital evidence challenges!

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Posted by Sidra Jabeen

Sidra is a Senior Product Marketing Strategist at VIDIZMO. Sidra is actively involved in Research. An expert in Digital Evidence Management System Technologies. For Queries, you can email at websales@vidizmo.com

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