How Schillings uses Videris to provide a faster service to its clients
By Rebecca Lindley
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Schillings is an international reputation, privacy and security consultancy staffed by investigators, risk consultants, legal experts, and cyber security specialists.
Schillings’ investigators often need to collect and analyse online data. This could be to understand how to improve their clients’ privacy, seek out and correct false information about them online, understand their opponents better, or source crucial, legally admissible evidence in a dispute.
However, investigators tended to use manual techniques to collect this data and tools such as Excel to analyse their findings, which meant investigations could be overly time-consuming. Considering that much of Schillings’ work centres around media crises where quick response times are imperative, the team wanted to find a way of increasing the efficiency of their investigations while still offering the detailed insights they are known for.
Schillings explored a number of providers, but ultimately chose to procure Videris for a number of reasons:
Single pane of glass for open source data
The fact that Videris consolidates multiple data sources into a single platform made data collection from open sources such as corporate records, news, search engines and social media networks more efficient, allowing Schillings to increase the time spent on analysis. Blackdot Solutions continuously updates the datasets available within Videris to ensure maximum coverage of important data sources, including live access to unstructured web data.
When dealing with large amounts of data, Schillings previously used separate software to help resolve identities and connections – but this was cumbersome and had limited automation capabilities. Videris automatically identifies connections within datasets, including those that would have been hard to spot with the human eye.
Schillings assessed that the Videris chart function would be extremely useful in identifying and visualising mutual connections and associations between individuals across data sources and networks, while allowing them to keep all the research in one platform, in an easy-to-read visual format. Schillings is able to leverage the charts to help illustrate their findings and support their reports.
Natascha Polderman, IT director at Schillings, is an expert in investigative software and the use of AI in investigations. She worked closely with Blackdot on ensuring the product was onboarded smoothly and described the process as ‘seamless, with great tech and customer support. The ongoing support is better than any other provider we have dealt with.’
‘We don’t want to spend our time collecting and reformatting data sets’ said Hope Watson, an Intelligence Consultant at Schillings. ‘We want to analyse the results and Videris gives us that capability.’
Videris has had a significant impact on several areas of Schillings’ business, including:
Schillings often utilises Videris at the beginning of a matter and for early scoping to estimate the scale of a case. Its investigators find that Videris is excellent for quickly assessing an individual’s potential online footprint or a company’s media exposure, ensuring that projects can be scoped more accurately and improving productivity.
The ability to conduct multi-jurisdictional searches across different search engines in a single platform is extremely helpful to Schillings’ investigators, saving significant time and improving the accuracy of results. In particular, Videris has helped investigators to work more efficiently in an ongoing privacy monitoring project by allowing them to pre-load and tag searches to be run regularly.
Social media analysis
Videris is also useful where Schillings needs to analyse social media accounts, for example, when gathering evidence in support of a recent harassment complaint. Videris allowed Schillings’ investigators to quickly identify anonymous social media accounts and establish links between these profiles and its client (powered by ShadowDragon©). Being able to establish links like this helps Schillings to provide a better service to clients in a shorter period of time. ‘For example’, says Watson, ‘we recently identified a Facebook account through a more obscure Foursquare account which Videris had connected to our subject. This enabled us to uncover a crucial person of interest.’
Overall, Videris helps Schillings to solve clients’ problems quickly and ethically, allowing investigators to spend less time collecting data, and more time on analysing it and resolving problems for their clients.
Schillings has benefited from recent additions to functionality, including the integration of platforms such as Foursquare and TripAdvisor, and the dark web. In future, Blackdot and Schillings hope to work together to expand the use of Videris within the business to provide a faster and more powerful service to its investigative clients.
Read more about Schillings at Schillingspartners.com .