Magnet Forensics recently announced that we will offer Magnet AXIOM Cloud for cloud forensics. This new product will integrate seamlessly with our other AXIOM products to give investigative teams a comprehensive, single view into the digital evidence in a case.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Tayfun Uzun, Product Manager here at Magnet Forensics, to understand the issues that the cloud represents and how AXIOM Cloud will tackle them. In part one, we discuss the industry and the impact of could data in general.
Magnet Forensics: What made you focus development on cloud forensics?
Tayfun Uzun: It was a very obvious path for us to take. On the one hand you can see the trends in using cloud for data storage, for sharing, and for access. That represented a challenge for us to find a way to get to the data there and see how much we could recover beyond what exists on a device. On the other hand, the growing prevalence of cloud use meant that we had customers starting to ask if we were going to address it. So the trends in cloud went hand in hand with the needs of our customers.
Magnet Forensics: What are some of the hurdles around building solutions for cloud forensics?
Tayfun Uzun: There are definitely a few. The biggest one is access in general. Access to cloud data and the way it can be accessed is subject to frequent and inconsistent change. If a given company changes the path of access, you have to start over. It’s a bit tricky because of that. It’s important to find areas and apps where you can work with the developers for the common good of allowing lawful access to the data – working together to help others.
One of the other things that was really important to us, was that we had to build our cloud solution on the Magnet AXIOM platform because we wanted true integration with all the data. This has allowed our beta users to show some really intriguing use cases, connecting cloud data and activity to smartphone activity, to laptop activity. Because cloud support is going to be dynamic and there is the potential of losing access to apps or data stores at times, you need to make sure the cloud solution is woven into your smartphone and computer forensics, so that there is no lost work time.
We also want to make sure we are working with our customers to understand how they are using cloud data, when they are allowed to use cloud data, and so on. Each region could have different legislative and access issues.
Magnet Forensics: What is the demand like for cloud forensics?
Tayfun Uzun: It’s growing. As I mentioned, you can see clearly that more and more services and apps are using cloud as a storage place, or collection place, and a sharing or collaboration place.
And we haven’t really talked about IoT yet today – but in a world where literally everything except a pet rock could be connected to the internet and collecting and storing data, the cloud potential and importance as an evidence source just continues to grow. It’s one of the reasons we prioritized supporting IoT artifacts in AXIOM over the last year. We’ve been laying the foundation for not just cloud, but for integration of data that might flow between an IoT app, the cloud, and even an IoT device itself.
The interest in cloud and the potential need for access as an evidence source is not going to diminish. It will grow and as people build out the policies and procedures around cloud data, we want to be sure that we have the tools to help our customers access the most evidence they can.
Magnet Forensics: How is the industry response to cloud?
Tayfun Uzun: We are finding that this is an area everyone has their eyes on. Everyone is watching to see how other people are using cloud data in cases. Everyone is watching to see how different governments and judicial bodies are going to handle cloud data, cloud evidence and access.
I think, similar to technology in general, we are seeing some agencies and organizations who are able to be early adopters when it comes to cloud forensics, and we have a larger group that is more cautious, and we would argue that they have to be cautious. Forensics is a highly scrutinized space – by lawmakers, media, and the public in general. We understand that and we really just want to work with the industry to make sure that as cloud gains greater acceptance that they have a tool that recovers cloud data and presents it for examination in the best way possible.
Magnet Forensics: When will AXIOM Cloud be available?
Tayfun Uzun: Soon! We haven’t disclosed a date, but we anticipate launching in a matter of weeks, versus months.