Electronically Stored Information:

The term electronically stored information (ESI) is used synonymously with the word “data.” Data is often thought about as numbers and spreadsheets when in actuality it is so much more.

Growing digitization has caused an explosion in electronically stored information (ESI). ESI is no longer only company emails and PDF documents. The amount, formats, and sources fo ESI is becoming more and more diverse.

What are some forms of ESI? Almost anything that is digital counts as electronically stored information. ESI encompasses any digital records and everything related to digital investigations. Therefore, giving a distinct list of what is and isn’t ESI isn’t possible. A general list of ESI includes: electronic communications including attachments, stored documents, database information, social media, application data, any stored images, photos & videos, any audio recordings, and any smart device data.

There are also some ways to ensure the proper collection and investigation of electronically store information. First, it is important to prepare strategies and policies. Almost all organizations will have to perform a digital investigation at some point. This is especially true for organizations in heavily regulated fields. When organizations have ESI policies in place, it makes performing an investigation easier. Organizations will know what types of ESI they have, where it is stored, how long it is stored, etc. It is also vital to have a team of investigators. Investigators are essentially a set of employees that are specially trained to confirm that data is collected, handled, searched, and reviewed properly during an investigation. Making sure the correct tools are used also helps. The tools used must be able to ingest large amount of data, process it, and search it. Using AI-assisted search options is also a valid and useful tool. AI technology keeps investigations from getting bogged down in endless evidence review.


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