How Much Time Can Videris Save Your Investigation Process?
By Rebecca Lindley
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The volume of data available in the public sphere has grown enormously in recent years. With this, the popularity of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) – the use of open source data as intelligence – has grown across sectors. However, the benefits of OSINT are sometimes overshadowed by the challenges investigators face when using it; in particular, the time-consuming nature of collecting and interpreting open source data.
Videris is an OSINT solution which helps investigators to overcome many of these challenges. Investigators can use Videris to collect, analyse and visualise multiple data sources, including live unstructured web data, in a single interface.
In this article, we’ll be examining the different stages of the investigation process, based on the Intelligence Cycle, and highlighting where Videris provides time savings at each stage.
Stage One – Direction
The first stage of the Intelligence Cycle focuses on understanding exactly what is required from an investigation. This means identifying the investigation’s objectives, what information is needed to meet these objectives, and where this information will come from.
- Lack of certainty: Modern, global investigations are fluid and dynamic, meaning that they don’t often follow a set path or ‘formula’. In some cases, it’s very difficult to know exactly what needs to be included in the investigation before beginning it. This is especially problematic for consultancies, who often need to provide estimated costs of a project upfront.
- Limited resources: When planning an investigation, there may be avenues that an investigator cannot pursue due to lack of resource, or access to the data required – even if these avenues might be useful. This limits the impact of the investigation before it has even started.
How Videris helps
- Easy scoping: In Videris, just a few clicks can give an investigator an indication of the size of their investigation, as well as identifying additional subjects of interest. This can help them to assess the time and resources required, as well as giving consultancies an idea of costs.
- More possibilities: Videris helps investigators to access numerous data sources at speed, so they can cover far more in the same period of time. This means that investigators planning the direction of an investigation do not need to worry about prioritising sources because of limited resources.
Stage Two – Collection
Once the investigator knows what they need to answer the questions they have, the collection stage of the investigative process involves them collecting this data – often from multiple, disparate sources.
- Disparate data: Collecting data from multiple sources is time-consuming and sometimes difficult. Data collected as part of a global investigation can be in different languages, necessitating translation, and content is often duplicated across sources. Translating even a single page of search engine results manually could take an hour or more, wasting time that could be spent on analysis.
- Limitations of search engines: Many investigators rely on search engines to identify and collect relevant information. However, search engines are designed to enable consumers to find the products they need very quickly, rather than to answer an investigator’s questions. Strategies such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and advertisements affect the results that the user sees first. For investigators, this means either trawling through hundreds of pages of results, or risking missing something important.
- Security: Investigators using live internet data have to be extremely careful to avoid revealing their identity and are highly susceptible to viruses and malware. To ensure their security, they may often have to spend time configuring proxy IP addresses and user accounts – leaving less time for investigation.
How Videris saves time
- Single pane of glass: Videris is a single platform which allows investigators to search all of the sources they need in one place, including corporate records , social media (powered by ShadowDragon©), news, search engine results, and internal data. It also deduplicates and allows the investigator to translate foreign-language results. This can be done in just a few minutes, compared to the hours spent visiting (and possibly translating) all of these sources separately.
- Investigator-centric web search: Investigators can collect data from multiple search engines in one interface, disregarding the consumer-led tactics used by these search engines to influence what the user sees first. This helps investigators to find the right information quickly, without having to browse through multiple pages of results.
- Client testimonial: ‘Before Videris, we were spending about 70% of our time collecting data, and 30% analysing it. Now, those figures have been reversed.’ – Anonymous Videris user
Stage Three- Processing
Processing involves listing, cataloguing, or arranging the collected data so that it’s clearly laid out and ready for analysis.
- Manual processing: In many organisations, investigators have to process the data they’ve collected manually; for example, by categorising and recording it using Excel. This can be immensely time-consuming, tedious work and can easily be replaced by technology as it doesn’t require much human insight.
How Videris saves time
- Automation: The processing stage of every investigation is automated by Videris. Results are categorised thematically and presented intuitively so that it’s easy to filter them, find risks, and understand the data in a few seconds, rather than days.
Stage Four – Analysis
The analysis stage of an investigation is about turning data into intelligence. This is where human insight is crucial: domain knowledge and experience, for example, can play an essential part in drawing vital insights from data. Here, Videris uses an approach known as Intelligent Automation, where the human investigator’s abilities are augmented, but not replaced, to produce high quality outcomes at speed.
- Data volumes: Huge volumes of data can be hard for even the most experienced investigator to interpret. Without the right tools, investigators have to compare data points manually. Where large amounts of data are involved, finding insights can take weeks.
How Videris helps
- Cross-matching: Videris offers unique functionality which suggests similarities between data points to the investigators, helping them to cut through the noise by drawing attention to possible connections, and speeding up analysis exponentially.
- Visualisation tools: Data can be even more difficult to interpret when it’s presented in textual format. Videris Charts automatically lay out data in a graphical format, allowing investigators to quickly gain an understanding of information such as corporate network structures or connections between individuals.
Client testimonial: ‘We can now create a clear presentation of our results 2-3 times faster using a Videris chart’ (compared to another leading visualisation tool) – Berlin Risk.
Stage Five – Dissemination
In the dissemination stage of the investigation, investigators collate the intelligence they have identified and present it to decision-makers for further action.
- Report-writing: Organising data into a report once an investigation is can add a day to the length of an investigation. Explaining complex analysis can also be difficult using a traditional, textual report format.
- Sourcing: Capturing, documenting and collating all of the sources used throughout an investigation is equally challenging, and any data that has been removed can no longer be used as evidence if it hasn’t already been captured.
How Videris helps
- Videris Notes: Videris offers the ability to save text, images and entities in one interface, which can be exported into a branded template to provide the basis of a report. The ability to work within the same platform when creating notes saves investigators time by avoiding disruption to their workflow.
- Automated sourcing: Videris records the source of every piece of data in an investigation, alongside screenshots of its origin. This means it can be used as evidence regardless of whether it’s taken down, and investigators don’t have to interrupt their work to worry about saving sourcing.
Client testimonial: ‘Videris has allowed us to take on clients and assignments which we would otherwise have to decline or outsource. Elsewhere, investigations that would previously take us days can now be done in hours, or less.’ – CERTA.
Videris saves time and helps investigators gain more insight
Every investigation is different and the exact amount of time Videris saves will vary. However, on average, customers say they work 5 times faster with Videris.
This time can be used to do more with the same resources, conduct deeper analysis or increase the number of client projects your investigators are working with at any one time. If you’d like to see how Videris can create these outcomes in your business, get in touch.