Classified data in investigations: how to improve your organization’s data security
How to handle classified information in an investigation
While the exact procedures will vary from organization to organization and on a case-by-case basis, there are some key best practices that all investigative teams can follow to minimize risk. These include:
Assess all data and ensure that you properly categorize all information in terms of its sensitivity, with different, defined classifications for each level. This will make it easier to understand how, when, and by whom the data can be accessed and/or used.
Data protection protocols
Have defined protocols in place and follow them, with proper training, oversight, and accountability for all team members. Having a dedicated training session for all team members is a good way to ensure everyone is briefed on the proper procedures.
Physical security measures
If you have physical documentation or evidence, ensure that it is always secured physically when not being used (e.g., in a safe or locked cabinet) and monitor all access. Strictly abiding by simple rules like this on a team- or organization-wide scale can greatly reduce the chance of data leaks.
Digital security measures
All digitally stored data should be filed appropriately, and with password protection and good password management. For the most important information (such as that involved in criminal cases or government intelligence) isolated servers may be necessary, reducing the possibility of data being compromised by remote actors.
Share with care
Any kind of data sharing is a point of vulnerability, so all classified information should only be shared on a “need-to-know” basis. Equally, all sharing of classified information should be carefully monitored and recorded. Assigning each team member a clearance level that is appropriate for their role is a good way to standardize, control, and monitor sharing procedures as well as identify the causes of data breaches.
Specialized software can improve information security
Another way to handle classified data is to use specialized investigation software. The best software can reduce human error, simplify the sharing of classified data, and greatly improve reporting.
Falkor is a dedicated investigation platform built to improve investigation workflows and simplify the way teams handle all data in an investigation.
Falkor includes several key features to facilitate secure collaboration within teams and with external stakeholders. In many investigations, human error and insecure sharing protocols can result in data leaks. Falkor removes this risk from the equation by allowing you to share information in a secure, controlled environment with customizable user permissions that are appropriate for their clearance levels.
Other benefits of Falkor include:
- The ability to store all cases and case data in one place
- Advanced visual link analysis
- Automated link mapping
- Simplified collaboration and sharing
- More efficient workflows
- Report generation tools
Summary: A new approach to handling classified data in investigations
Responsible handling of classified information is one of the most important parts of running investigations. Without proper measures in place and adequate training, entire investigations can be jeopardized, business interests can be damaged, and individuals can even come to harm.
By using specialized investigation platforms like Falkor, you can simplify the storage, organization, access, and sharing of classified data, helping you to standardize procedures and reduce risk.
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