In the past couple of blogs Vestige has been driving home the various ways that we assist different types of attorneys, different legal issues and in different types of cases. In this blog post, we’ll highlight how Vestige’s services can help in employment relations whether in the midst of a legal case or confined to a human resource (HR) issue.
How Vestige Assists HR
Vestige assists HR departments with various types of investigations often before the investigation reaches the realm of a legal matter. The benefit of using Vestige in those situations is that Vestige treats each matter in which it is engaged as if it may end up in court. That means that Vestige performs the proper documentation and chain of custody and as always, Vestige’s analysis is based on sound evidence and testing.
So, what things can we do for HR departments? Let’s say you perform an exit interview with an employee and that employee gets belligerent or simply says “you’ll be hearing from my lawyer.” Maybe the employee makes accusations against a co-worker or supervisor. Vestige can be called in to preserve computers, mailboxes, cell phone or other data related to those involved and of course do it discreetly and, where possible, without them knowing. If you need those devices investigated at a later date to see who said what, went to which websites or shared what with whom, Vestige can perform that investigation on the data preserved from those devices – preserved at a time prior to someone deciding to try to cover up their tracks.
HR departments may get involved in non-compete matters before legal is brought in. In those situations, Vestige can assist with preserving relevant devices that ex-employee and examine those devices to determine what information may have been taken and what communications may have been made with customers.
There are also situations where it is your new employee who is being targeting for non-compete or stealing of secrets from their previous company. In those situations, again, Vestige can assist with preservation of data as a neutral expert and then an investigation as to what data may exist on your company’s devices that was first created at the previous company.
When there are accusations of illicit jokes or pictures being shared around the office over email or just popping up on people’s computers, again Vestige can get to the bottom of the situation to determine just who was viewing what. Allegations of unprofessional text messages? Again, Vestige can pull the messages from the cell phones, including messages that are deleted and provide HR departments with the evidence to decide what needs to be done.
When employees are suspected of not working up to the standards of the company, Vestige can perform discreet investigations as to what was taking place on the computer. Vestige can examine browser history, including deleted history, for evidence of what the employee may have been doing. Vestige can also identify files on a computer that were recently opened or created for someone to determine whether those files constitute work at the company or whether they are not-company related (such as school work) but being done on company time and with company resources. Social media is another prevalent activity, including during the work day on the “company dime”. Vestige’s analysis can determine what social media activity took place and when that took place.
For smaller corporations, Vestige has a rather unique service that we call “CTRL+ALT+DEL IT Reboot”. Many of you are familiar with the keyboard combination that reboots a Windows computer – CTRL+ALT+DEL. In the same way you reboot your computer, Vestige can come in and reboot an IT department.
Over the years, Vestige has encountered the following scenarios:
- Company is firing someone in management whose spouse is in charge of IT
- Company uses an outside IT company whose relationship has become contentious
- Company needs to remove a long-standing IT manager
In each of these situations, the person being removed held the “keys to the kingdom”. In some circumstances they were the only one in control of the administrative passwords, relationships without outside vendors and other IT-related processes. For our client to lose control of any one of these areas would result in a crippling situation.
That is where Vestige steps in. Vestige’s goal in helping the client is to map out their entire IT infrastructure. Vestige identifies where the electronic devices are, how one can access those devices and then takes control of the devices on behalf of our client turning the control over to our client. Vestige often performs these services after-hours in a covert fashion so as not to tip off the person or team who will be removed from their IT position of authority. Vestige then acts as a transition team to pass on its knowledge of the client’s IT infrastructure as well as control of that infrastructure to the new replacement IT personnel.
by Greg Kelley, EnCE, DFCP, Chief Technology Officer at Vestige Digital Investigations