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Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Computer forensics discussion. Please ensure that your post is not better suited to one of the forums below (if it is, please post it there instead!)
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Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Post Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:25 pm

Just to clarify as I see the words Big 4 thrown around a lot in our area of expertise.

Who exactly are the Big 4 Digital Forensics Companies in question?

Is this an ever changing "dynamic" list or set in stone?
Is it bought about by personal opinions, reputation, size or skills?


Thanks
Si Very Happy  

s1lang
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Post Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:39 pm

Big4 actually relates to the big 4 audit or accounting companies, who all have a consultancy branch which includes computer forensics.

The big 4 audit firms are (in no particular order):

KPMG
Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC)
Deloitte (DTT)
Ernst & Young (EY)

They aren't necessarily the biggest 4 firms in the computer forensics field in terms of market penetration.
_________________
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Patrick4n6
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Post Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:01 pm

2 of those 4 listed have had large scandals.

The list changes as new divisions open up within the companies and the companies seek larger markets and even smaller markets.


- s1lang
Just to clarify as I see the words Big 4 thrown around a lot in our area of expertise.

Who exactly are the Big 4 Digital Forensics Companies in question?

Is this an ever changing "dynamic" list or set in stone?
Is it bought about by personal opinions, reputation, size or skills?


Thanks
Si Very Happy
 

forensicakb
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Post Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:03 pm

Wiki has it all explained.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...r_auditors  

ecophobia
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Post Posted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:59 pm

- Patrick4n6

They aren't necessarily the biggest 4 firms in the computer forensics field in terms of market penetration.


Nor are they, necessarily, the best. I have been engaged by outside counsel in a couple of cases where the client felt that our firm did not have enough name recognition and wanted one of the "Big 4" to work hand in hand (read: "oversee"), our work. In each case, our firm remained as the sole forensic consultants by the end of the action.

Having been a former VP for MIS at a health care institution, my perception is that the "Big 4" are typically brought in for "indemnification" rather than competency (which is NOT to say that they lack the latter). The old expression among management was "Nobody ever got fired for bringing in [insert your Fortune 500 company here]."

And while I do not pretend that my experience has been shared by others, in many of these cases the field staff employed by a big name firm utilized a scripted playbook which I found to be too restrictive when doing a forensic examination where cost and, therefore, parsimony, are important to the client.

Furthermore, if you look at some of the job postings for these firms, I often see the job requirements for "Senior Forensics Analysts/Associates" to include 3-5 years of experience and a minimum of an Associates Degree
which seems a little like career inflation.

None of this is to say that there are not highly qualified individuals working for these firms, but I'm not sure that the "Big 4" designation means much insofar as digital forensics is concerned.  

seanmcl
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Post Posted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:04 am

- seanmcl

Having been a former VP for MIS at a health care institution, my perception is that the "Big 4" are typically brought in for "indemnification" rather than competency (which is NOT to say that they lack the latter). The old expression among management was "Nobody ever got fired for bringing in [insert your Fortune 500 company here]."

I share exactly the same opinion.

- seanmcl

And while I do not pretend that my experience has been shared by others, in many of these cases the field staff employed by a big name firm utilized a scripted playbook which I found to be too restrictive when doing a forensic examination where cost and, therefore, parsimony, are important to the client.

As well, in my experience - not directly related to the forensic field - with a couple of them, I have seen *kids* (maybe brilliant - but without the needed field experience) being sent out to perform checks and verifications they simply hadn't the "absorbed" knowledge (i.e. besides the "on the book" one) needed to perform what they were asked for.

Overall I got the impression that they tend to send on the field the youngest and less expert, which is a good thing as they learn in the process, but without an appropriate guide or supervisor, and this may lead to a sub-optimal result.

jaclaz  

jaclaz
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: Digital Forensics - The Big 4

Post Posted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:04 pm

And how many of these firms add another service to their lists reducing skilled individuals and skilling, enterprise and competitiveness in the marketplace?

An observations that was raised to me recently when looking at employment - just because a lawyer deals with a case about dentistry does that mean we all expect the lawyer to become expert in another subject other than law and to perform and offer dentistry as part of their lawyer services? I imagine applying that principle in the analogy could equally apply to accountants. You expect an accountant to understand and deal with tax matters, GAAP, number crunching, double-entry bookkeeping and conduct petty cash slip analysis, not conduct computer forensics/data forensics for their clients and on matters that might often not be related to accountancy.
_________________
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trewmte
Senior Member
 
 

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