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Global Compusearch launches forensic data storage division

A Spokane technology investigation company has launched a division that creates encrypted and secure copies of critical computer data.

Global Compusearch, started in 2000 by Marcus Lawson, primarily offers advanced analyses of computer data for clients in legal disputes. Some cases involve allegations of worker misuse of information, such as storing child pornography, or theft of company information.

In the past three months the 10-person firm has begun a Litigated Data Storage group. It offers clients a secure, encrypted record of digital records that might later be needed in a dispute or lawsuit.

Initially the Spokane-based company created and stored copies of customers’ hard drives in a secured office. But as the cost of digital storage plunged, Global Compusearch found it could copy the information contained in the drives and store it in encrypted form on large servers for far less cost and effort, Lawson said.

Copies of a company’s digital records end up in large forensic files that are stored on two redundant, but private, systems not available on any public network, Lawson said.

Forensic images contain not just every bit of written data, but also all the information that’s contained in deleted files not easily retrieved.

If customers need to review their files, Global Compusearch provides a secure room where workers can search through the archived information, said Jesse Shelley, who handles Global Compusearch’s information security.

The charge for the service will be $15 per month for 500 gigabytes, and three cents more for every additional gigabyte.

Customers signed up so far include regional law firms, school districts and several large companies. Global also markets the service to city governments and large law firms that deal with employment issues for clients with thousands of employees.

“In the 12 years we’ve been in business, we’ve seen many cases where a company needs to get a PC used by an ex-worker, only to find that computer has been put back into service with another worker,” Lawson said.

Or equally bad for the company, the data is available on backup but can’t be retrieved because it’s corrupted, he said.

Litigated Data Storage will offer customers some certainty that potential evidence will be available, if circumstances require going back to find it, Lawson said.

The service will also be marketed to companies that don’t have the IT resources to manage data repositories, said Josiah Roloff, a Global Compusearch vice president.

Even if a company has an adequate IT staff, many companies realize they shouldn’t be the ones storing the data, since a dispute could raise questions about the way the company handled or maintained it, Roloff said.

The company has four offices: Spokane, Portland, Sacramento and Palm Springs.