Image: Shane Deleers
Minneapolis, Minn.-based NightOwl Discovery, an e-discovery managed service provider, released nVelope Collection Kit 1.0 at LegalTech New York. The nVelope product is a portable collection kit designed for custodians to collect their own files from computers running Microsoft Windows XP operating system and above.
NightOwl's new product is similar to Guidance Software Encase Portable and Ricoh Americas Corp.'s Remlox remote collection technology (manufactured by Hill Schwartz Spilker Keller LLC aka HSSK). These and other self-collection tools are designed to allow custodians to collect files from a computer without technical support. Generally see " Compare & Contrast: E-Discovery Self-Collection Tools."
NightOwl distinguishes the nVelope self-collection tool from other offerings by its ease of use and reuse for custodians to self-collect data for litigation or investigation for $500, you own the product. The nVelope software is packaged in a one-terabyte USB hard drive that I plugged into a Lenovo ThinkPad T520. The external drive is not bootable and did not offer me any auto-play options to open the device or automatically run a program on the root of the drive.
I opened the external drive and ran the NCKLauncher.exe file at the root of the file system. The main page opened to perform one of three types of collections on the drives local to the ThinkPad. See Figure 1.
nVelope's main collection window opens with options to collect the entire drive, selected folders, or engage a Smart Collection, which is a policy-oriented collection based on a search for selected file types associated with email databases, chat archives, graphics and multimedia files, documents, archives such as .zip and .rar, and/or spreadsheets such as Excel and .csv files. See Figure 2.
If I had a question on what file types are collected for the various policy collections, NightOwl includes a .pdf file with information on what file types belong to each data type.
Once I made my selection, the collection started automatically. The data on all local disks that matched my collection criteria were collected and saved to the nVelope Collection Kit device. During collection, the NightOwl process opened seven threads, which incurred 10-11 percent utilization of one core processor.
Collecting selected folders was as easy as selecting folders from a Windows Explorer interface and clicking Start Collection.
Once the collection was finished, nVelope stored the files in a password-protected, encrypted 7-Zip file archive on the nVelope Collection Kit device. The password needed to review the archive is supplied with the device at purchase. In my case, the collected file archives were copied to a "Collected Data" folder on the terabyte drive using a filename convention that includes the computer name of the collected computer and the date, e.g., T520-WIN7_01-30-13_17-42-40_Folders.7z.
Along with the archive of collected files, nVelope saved an audit file. The audit file supplied the metadata to the collection, which included the collection time, computer name, user login name and the user's permissions to the file system. In my case: admin.
The audit file details the collection type, e.g., folder collection, and the data types selected, if any. If no data types were selected, "any" files are collected. The file also detailed the number of files detected on the drive, the number collected, collection errors, the state of the file system, and the time the collection was complete.
If a custodian can use a Windows computer, he or she can easily collect data from that computer using NightOwl's nVelope. The fact that you can reuse nVelope to collect from other custodians without incurring another charge makes the $500 self-collection device a deal.
Attorney Sean Doherty is LTN's technology editor.