Electronic Discovery: E-Disclosure Qualification

Guidance Software, the forensics giant which produces EnCase has announced the release of its e-disclosure qualification “EnCase Certified eDiscovery Practitioner” – EnCEP.

The value of the EnCEP certification will have to be seen, but there are already obvious pros and cons for it.

The Pros

The employers of staff using the EnCase E-Discovery tools and bring their staff to a common standard, and employees and staff can work to a common standard and demonstrate to future employers/clients, their competance levels.

The Cons

E-Discovery is a huge area, collosal. Concept searching, near de-duping, review platforms, data recovery, backup tapes, project management, consultancy, etc. The certification currently being offered is for a very narrow part of electronic discovery, on a single tool, being taught to follow a methodology that is based on the use of the Guidance Software products.

This in itself is not a problem as long as people are aware of what the qualification actually means, but the concern is that the huge PR machine of Guidance can push forward the certification as a requirement, as a standard in the industry, as EnCE is becoming.

Increasingly it is not unusual for clients to ask staff to be EnCE certified. While there are many good people who are EnCE certified, there are those who are not, whose knowledge of forensics is very limited. On the flip side of that there are people who are not EnCE certified and who are fantastically smart, a look at the SANS website and blog will demonstate this.This site has numerous postings by  people who have an incredible technical knowledge, far far above that for the EnCE exam, but their own qualificiaiton may not be accepted by certain employers/clients. Equally there are people with no certifications who are not much use.

So where does this leave us? Currently certification does not prove or disprove a skill set that a client would need, not least because clients needs are generally so varied and vast, even on a single project. The idea of certification, is a good one, but there is a long way to go before the industry has a reliable standard.

The press release by Guidance Software, is below:

The EnCase Certified eDiscovery Practitioner program was created by industry experts to meet the needs of our EnCase eDiscovery users who are handling electronic evidence in both routine and some of the largest and most complex litigations of our day,” said Al Hobbs, Vice President, Professional Development & Training Operations for Guidance Software. “Candidates who complete the EnCEP program, and earn the designation, will have demonstrated their expertise in the leading edge EnCase technology and methodology for the collection and processing of electronically stored information.” “Successful litigation depends on good legal scholarship as well as the appropriate technology infrastructure to support e-discovery. We recommend that legal professionals are screened on their understanding of technology and enterprise computing, as well as their comprehension of how technology is deployed,” said John Bace, a research vice president at Gartner, graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and Advisory Board member for the Center for Information Technology & Privacy Law at the School. “Certification programs such as these are a step in the right direction toward ensuring that IT professionals are proficient in eDiscovery.” Over the past eight years, Guidance Software has certified more than 2,100 computer investigative professionals with the globally recognized EnCase(R) Certified Examiner (EnCE(R)) designation. The new EnCEP program will similarly enable eDiscovery practitioners to demonstrate their skills, training and experience in the proper handling of ESI for legal purposes. Information on the requirements for EnCEP candidates, the testing program and certification renewal can be found at http://www.guidancesoftware.com/computer-forensics-training-certifications.htm.

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