There are many issues and details that one has to put in place when dealing with forensic laboratory. The computer forensics lab is designated place either permanent or mobile for carrying out computer based investigations. It is also a collection of techniques, processes ad procedures that are used in collection, storage, analysis and presentation of digital evidence in relation to cybercrime. Building a forensic laboratory is therefore a complicated task. Some of the key issues that one must look out for is the design of the building because it is not a just like any other ordinary structure. The key issues that should be considered are the environmental health and safety, hazardous material, security of evidence, preservation of evidence, efficiency, and adaptability and most importantly the budget. This paper will address the concerns in constructing a forensic laboratory for the university.
The steps you would take to plan a budget for the lab
Therefore in coming up with a budget for the forensic lab, there are several issues that I will look at. The first issue is the need for the laboratory and the scope of the tasks in the lab is supposed to accomplish. Such information can be collected from the stakeholders. The main objectives of the laboratory will also be considered. To design a successful digital lab, the lab must be aimed at guarding the integrity of the profession, optimize the organizational efficiency; provide a safe working environment for employees and economical expenditure of the employees.
There are four key steps that are carried out in the process of designing a digital forensic laboratory. They include; planning, design, construction, and moving.
Planning is the first process where the design program and requirement analysis are delivered. The requirement document or needs assessment contains the needs of the lab, evaluation of the existing facilities, definition of space requirement and cost of the project. The budget document can be used to make adjustments of the project.
Design there is different processes or procedures of designing a laboratory. The design is based on the needs assessment document. Construction is a step done after the designs have been accepted; contracted negotiated ad bids awarded to the suitable construction consultants. After the process of construction is finished, the project will be evaluated to ensure that everything is according to the plans. Moving is where the laboratory is equipped with the necessary equipments.
Physical requirements and controls
The project will also consider emergency and service access to the lab. This ensures that the lab is secure and can be rescued easily in the event that a disaster occurs. There should be clear coordination between the local authority and laboratory for fire emergency services. Emergency doors and safety protection equipment will also be considered to enhance security and safety of the employees. Lighting of the Lab site will also be a factor to consider when it comes to security and safety. Quality lighting of the site prevents vandalism and authorized entry.
Three hardware and software tools to be included in the design
The software that will be included in the design process includes the operating systems to be used. If it is Windows based OS, then there are additional applications such as Writer Hardware software that are required. Hence buying it at the design stage ensures that there is no additional cost. Windows based forensic tool kit, Ultimate Tool Kit and Windows based EnCase while I will buy SubRosaSoft if the operating systems are Mac OS X or Linux. Forensic software such as autopsy and Sleuth kit which is free. WinHex which is Hex editor contains a forensic package.
I will buy power supplies to ensure that there are minimal power interruptions in the forensic lab. I will also buy processors of the workstation during this period, this will enable us know the size and the number of machines we will be able to buy. They are very expensive and require proper planning within the project time and budget. Hard disk drives which will determine where the operating systems will be run from. There are different types of Hard disk drive, SCSI, IDE and SATA.
Criteria that would be considered when selecting the forensic workstations to be utilized
Forensic workstations should be selected based on the budget assigned to them by the university. The server depends on the number of tasks they will do. Some of the factors that one should consider in buying the workstation for forensic laboratory is it s capabilities to execute its tasks such as duplication of digital evidence from different storage devices. There are two main type of digital forensic workstations; special workstation and customized forensic workstation. Special forensic workstations have high capability and they can be integrated with other technologies. However, they are expensive compared to customized workstations. The institution needs can also be met by a customizable workstation which serves the same purpose as special workstations. I will decide on which to choose based on the budget of the institution.
Mandatory policies, processes, and procedures
The laboratory will adhere to all environment regulations of the institution, the local authority and the national environmental body. Procedures of disposing waste product will be laid out to ensure that there is protection of the environment. The lab will set up procedures and processes of recycling some of the waste materials. The waste materials that cannot be recycled will be disposed according to proper guidelines from the digital forensic laboratory management.
There will be annually review of the environmental practices that the laboratory. This is to ensure that the lab adheres to those regulations. External bodies will be allowed to assess the environmental sustainability is not violated by the laboratory activities.
Floor of the digital forensic laboratory
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Mozayani, A., & Noziglia, C. (2011). The forensic laboratory handbook procedures and practice. Springer.