In a business setting digital forensics is used for a variety of purposes. Some applications of digital forensics for business include incident response, IT audits, IT compliance management, digital recovery & restoration, vulnerability testing and developing cybersecurity plans, policies and infrastructure.
Incident Response is an activity that refers to the discovery, containment and investigation of cybersecurity related incidents. The most common purpose for incident response is after a security breach at an organization. First this breach must be discovered and then it must be contained to stop further damage. From here cybersecurity and IT professionals will conduct a digital forensics investigation to determine important information such as who the attacker was, how the attacker infiltrated the organization, what vulnerabilities are present and what remediation protocols that should be used.
This same process may be used but in a simulated attack known as a penetration test to help an organization find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker. During a penetration test cybersecurity professionals will attempt to break into an organization’s computer network to highlight the vulnerabilities in the organization’s security structure. Digital forensics will be used to find vulnerabilities and it will also be used in the after action review to analyze the attack. The information discovered in the process will help the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and other cybersecurity staff to better protect themselves from future attackers.
IT Audits and compliance management is used periodically in a business environment to measure an organization’s security infrastructure. An IT audit can include many areas of focus such as employee guidelines, access control protocols, communication procedures, cloud infrastructure, firewalls and other security controls. IT audits ensure that an organization is maintaining the best practices available for information security. An audit may be used in conjunction with a penetration test depending on the scope of the investigation. An IT audit differs from a penetration test in that it will cover a wider variety of security related processes such as security policy, vendor relationships and other corporate procedures.