Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The importance of SOPs

Standard Operating Procedures. Do you know the term? Does your agency have SOPs for digital multimedia forensics?

Judging on the amount of questions I receive, and the amount of questions received by friends in the field, agencies are trying to get their house in order as regards SOPs. Folks are asking around, "hey, does anyone have an SOP for analyzing mobile phones?" Audio analysis and video analysis are other frequent topics.

But what happens if you don't have an SOP, and your asked about it in testimony? How will you respond? Does your agency allow you to create your own SOP without getting appropriate permissions and sign-offs?

Here's an example of an SOP from NIST. It's not for video, audio, or mobile phones ... but it lays out the important elements. There's an introduction, a list of steps, forms, tables, etc. Another good item to include is a log of changes to the SOP.

It doesn't have to be complicated, but you should at least have something on paper that governs your work.

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