Chain of Custody

The NIST definition of Chain of Custody is: “A process that tracks the movement of evidence through its collection, safeguarding, and analysis lifecycle by documenting each person who handled the evidence, the date/time it was collected or transferred, and the purpose for the transfer.” Also, a process that tracks the movement of evidence through its collection, safeguarding, and analysis lifecycle by documenting each person who handled the evidence, the date/time it was collected or transferred, and the purpose for any transfers.

With Komprise Elastic Data Migration you can manage chain of custody reporting with checksums and integrity reporting per file. Komprise logs any files that can’t be copied due to permission, file locking, or other issues. While some issues such as file locking will typically be resolved in later iterations, other issues such as permissions will require administrator intervention. Komprise maintains an advanced audit log to identify and help in resolving issues. Learn more.


Chain of Custody Data Management

In data management, chain of custody is the systematic and organized process of recording, tracking, and managing the custody and movement of physical or digital evidence, documents, or samples throughout their lifecycle. The need to track chain of custody in data management is crucial in various industries and contexts, including law enforcement, forensics, healthcare, environmental testing, legal proceedings, and supply chain management. It ensures the integrity, security, and traceability of items as they move from one entity or location to another. Chain of custody is a term in data management that can be related to:

  • Data Collection: The process begins with the collection of detailed information about the evidence or items. This information includes a unique identifier, description, date and time of collection, location, and the names and contact information of individuals involved in the collection process.
  • Secure Storage: Secure storage of both physical and digital items – physical evidence may be stored in controlled environments, while digital evidence or documents may be stored in secure servers or repositories with access controls.
  • Data Recording: All relevant information about the custody and handling of items is recorded in a structured manner. This includes any transfers of custody, changes in location, inspections, tests, or analyses conducted.
  • Access Control: Access to chain of custody data should be restricted to authorized personnel only. This helps prevent unauthorized modifications or tampering of records.
  • Timestamps: Timely and accurate timestamps are essential to establish a clear chronological history of an item’s movement and custody. This ensures that any gaps or irregularities can be easily identified and addressed.
  • Documentation Continuity: Any actions or changes made to the item or its data must be documented, including who performed the action, when it was done, and the reason for the action. This documentation preserves the integrity of the chain of custody.
  • Verification and Authentication: Chain of custody data should be periodically verified to ensure its accuracy and completeness. This can involve reconciling physical items with their corresponding records or using digital signatures and encryption to verify the integrity of digital data.
  • Reporting: In data management, chain of custody often includes the generation of reports or documentation that summarize the history of an item’s custody and handling. These reports can be used in legal proceedings or audits.
  • Compliance: Depending on the industry and context, chain of custody in data management may need to adhere to specific regulations and standards, such as ISO 17025 for laboratories or legal requirements.
  • Integration: Chain of custody systems can be integrated with other systems, such as laboratory information management systems (LIMS) or electronic health record (EHR) systems, to streamline data capture and reporting.

Chain of custody plays a crucial role in ensuring the traceability and credibility of evidence and information, especially in legal and regulatory contexts. It helps establish that items have been handled and maintained in a manner that preserves their integrity and prevents tampering, contamination, or loss. Accurate and well-maintained chain of custody records are vital for legal defensibility, accountability, and the protection of individuals’ rights in various processes and industries.

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