Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

I am just curious if anyone thinks that Computer Forensics would come into play at any point during the process of CI. I conduct computer forensic examinations for a majority of my clients. In fact it has been my over all focus the last few months. I was just wondering what you all thought about it. I conduct some CI and B2B research here and there, so I market CI as a service. For anyone who does not know what computer forensics consists of, it is the examination, extraction and reporting of digital evience on a computer of any kind (to be general). A few of my cases have been involved with ebezzlement and fraud, which in some way could be related to the CI process. Anyways just checking, look forwared to hearing your thoughts.


Matt Jones

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Digital forensics is a great business to be in right now; especially for mobile devices, which I hear is really booming.  

Can you extract images from a photocopier hard drive?

Do you mean analysing competitors' hardware? That could yield a lot of information, but I imagine there would be issues about how to obtain that hardware. Even if it's discarded/sold by the competitor, that may not mean that it's then acceptable to analyse any data that the hardware contains.

Most modern photocopiers come equiped with a hard drive that takes an image of every document it copies.

I agree, it raises ethical concerns.

I don't have a good answer for CI and computer forensics, except to say that it has to be a growing business and that it is also fraught with ethical issues. If you don't know Cynthia Hetherington already, I would recommend that you hook up with her. She is a private eye and runs a very successful business, and we serve on AIIP's board together. I think she could offer you some incredible insight.


Ellen Naylor

Ellen, I do not know her personally but I have a book that she has written. You are right about what you said. This may sound un-professional but if you could send her my way or some of my information her way that would be great. I would also like to send you a packet of information on my services if that would be possible.


Tripp and James - Yes I can extract an image off of a photocopier,but it is not something I have done a lot of though. There are a lot of legal issues that involve computer forensics. Taking a hard drive and using it to grab CI would be a great way of finding good intell. Would it be the most ethical or legal way of doing it? Not really. I just finished up a case where a woman was claiming to have mistakenly copy client price lists and edit them on her home computer - After four months of going through her personal and business computer, my brother and I found that she was using the information to start her own consulting company. She was smart, but she got to laxed after a year.


For all three of you, what do you have any ideas of maybe how to market computer forensics to the corporate sector? That is one of the major things I have struggled with over the passed few months is really reaching out there to show what valueble information or forcasting can be done with a look into damamaged hardware and such. Thanks again for your replies!!




Honestly, if you are looking to get corporate clients, competitive intelligence units are probably not the place to go.  I would target the IT and corporate security/investigations departments, who might outsource jobs to you.  That is where the real need is. 


I would also suggest marketing yourself as a subcontractor to certified fraud examiners and other corporate investigation firms.


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