Forensic data analysis, otherwise known as a forensic analysis, is a subset of digital forensics. Highly investigatory in nature, forensic analyses are typically used to prepare digital evidence for use in potential or upcoming legal proceedings. However, they also have pertinent uses in cyber defense, data backup, hardware or software failure, and other, similar scenarios.
Examining the Different Types of Data Forensics
As mentioned, forensic data analysis is used in many different cases. With so many moving parts, it's important to find a starting point. Some of the most common and widely used forms of forensic data analysis include:
There are other forms of forensic data analysis, too. Given the myriad of things that could go wrong with a computer system or network, it's critical that you're looking in the right area. Conversely, it's also important that you're using the right tool for the job.
What Tools Are Used During a Forensic Analysis?
Various tools are used during a forensic data analysis, including both software and hardware solutions. The exact utilities chosen ultimately depend on the end goal of your forensic analysis. Those who are investigating a failed hard drive, for example, will use vastly different tools than those who are simply analyzing and recording accessible data in preparation for a legal case.
Regardless, there are some common tools seen in forensic data analysis. These include:
Many other hardware tools and software utilities are used in various forensic investigations, too. Disk imaging programs, for example, can capture the entire snapshot of a hard drive or other storage medium. Tools like Microsoft Word or Excel are useful when creating final reports and disseminating the results of the investigation. Again, it's not about having access to as many tools as possible. It's about having the right tool for the job and knowing how - and when - to use it.
You may read more about computer forensics in Wikipedia: Computer forensics.