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Why Businesses Need to Take Data Chain of Custody Seriously

November 3, 2022 •
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Does your business send and share proprietary data among various parties? If so, how do you track who handles each piece of data, including when and where it went, that is manage the data rights? This type of tracking is known as chain of custody.  You’ve probably heard about chain of custody in criminal cases and its significance. For example, there was a case in South Carolina where the State failed to prove the complete chain of custody of the evidence it relied on at trial. As the Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled the evidence inadmissible and that the conviction had to be reversed.

Whether in criminal or civil scenario, chain of custody is especially important if you ever think you will end up in a legal situation where you will need to provide the authenticity of the digital evidence. Sending or receiving the following which can become exhibits or evidence can be of particular concern:

  • Tax documents, bills, or payment information for accounting purposes
  • Contracts or legal agreements between lawyers and their clients
  • Medical information, like diagnoses, insurance information, pharmaceuticals, or test results
  • Patents or other proprietary business information and intelligence

Being able to document each person who handled the data, the date and time it was collected or transferred, and the purpose for the transfer can make all the difference in winning or losing a lawsuit. An error in the chain of custody can put your claims at risk. The chain of custody proves the integrity of a piece of evidence. It is imperative to have an audit trail that shows where any piece of data or evidence was, and in whose possession, at any given time. Otherwise, the evidence may be inadmissible in court leading to serious questions regarding its legitimacy.

Why chain of custody problems can put your business at risk

Having the ability to confidently prove who has access to your data, and when, can be a key differentiator for companies, regardless of size. While traditionally businesses thought once data leaves their “four walls of control” that it is safe; is no longer the case. That is why today, it is imperative that businesses seek to better understand their data chain of custody.

Do you truly know who is accessing your data after you send it? Do you trust that the original recipient of that data won’t send it to unintended parties? Knowing the chain of custody for your data is critical. Your business may depend on it.   

Why typical Data Rights Management solutions fall short with chain of custody

More and more businesses are turning to Data Rights Management (DRM) solutions to take charge of their data as it allows business owners and content creators to keep control over what can be done with their data. But many of these solutions are falling short when it comes to establishing and maintaining a chain of custody of that data when it is shared with others.

While companies can protect files through DRM systems of today, they are generally unable to revoke access, combust the files, etc. if they suspect data abuse or misuse. Additionally, there is no chain of command that guarantees DRM wasn’t dropped in the process of file sharing. As the data owner, you are invested in who has your hard-earned data or proprietary information.

Looking to get a handle on your data’s chain of custody? Choose EB Control

EB Control provides a Zero Trust Data Protection including a chain of custody that sustains for the life of the data and proves it has not been accessed by someone who is not authorized to use the file.

EB Control allows data owners to store their files in vaults. Policies are set by the data owner around who can access the data, where they can access the data, for how long they can access the data. These policies are stored on the Everything Blockchain’s patent-pending blockchain platform making them unchangeable and easily retrievable.