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Essay: Unleash Cloud Computing & Cloud Forensic in the Workplace: Advances in Forensic Accounting

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rm Paper

Cloud Computing/ Forensic

David Badal

ACG6498- Advanced Forensic Accounting

February 14, 2018

Florida Atlantic University

Table of Content

Executive Summary……………………………………………………………………………… 3

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………….….4

Cloud Computing

Cloud Forensic…………………………………………………………………………………………….5

Cloud Forensic in The Workplace…………………………………………………………………6

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………7

Figures……………………………………………………………………………………………..8

Executive Summary

This paper will highlight how one of the most transformative technologies in the computer history, cloud computing is now being used in the forensic accounting world. And how cloud forensic is being used in investigation both inside the workplace and in criminal activities. The paper will also discuss the emerging cloud computing and the opportunities company have by adapting this feature into their workplace.

Keywords: cloud computing, forensic accounting, cloud forensic, digital forensic,

   accounting

Introduction

Cloud computing has been adapted by many companies in recent years, it is the process of delivering computer services hosted by the internet "the cloud" to store, manage, and process information rather housing the data on a local server or a personal computer. The concept of cloud computing has been around for a lengthy amount of time now, first introduced in 1961by an M.I.T Professor John McCarthy an Dr. J.C. R. Licklider, director of the U.S Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. However, it was not until 2009 where other large technology companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft started incorporating the feature in their smartphones, laptops and other devices.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has become a daily operation with individuals, it has changed how digital information have been created, transferred, access and managed. Most companies have adapted this feature and in 2013 spending on cloud services is growing at five times the rate of traditional information technology (IT.) In the same year, Garter, have predicted the worldwide cloud service will reach $150 billion. The company also predicts that throughout 2020, cloud computing will influence over fifty percent of IT outsourcing deals. (Chapter 2: Cloud Forensics.)

With the rise of cloud computing in recent years it only makes sense that the quantity, complicity and the cost of forensic cases have increased as well. A study conducted McKinsey & Company found that digital forensic request was growing by fifty percent annually. (Digital Forensic In The Cloud.) The size of the cases also increased at a rate of thirty-five percent per year from 83GB per case to 277GB per case and this number is only increasing. (Chapter 2: Cloud Forensics).  With that being said it only makes sense that the supply and demand for forensic accountant have also increased in correlation with the rise and trendiness of cloud computing and with the maximization in use of technology in the work environment in recent years.

Cloud Forensic

Cloud forensic is the alliance between two worlds: the IT world and digital forensics, more specifically cloud computing and networking digital forensics. Digital forensic is the process of recovering electrical data from a user's computer devices through an application installed within the computer. Cloud forensics brings the concept of digital forensics with correlation of cloud computing. There are different steps and programs in the market that can conduct different operation, however, their purpose serves the same to be able to extract information (access), identify, and collect information. (Digital Forensic In The Cloud)

Figure 1 displays the process of digital forensics. First, the incident is reported to the forensic accountant with evidence showing why the case is being brought up. Example, would be the company I work for described more in the next section, finding out a sales representative giving out classified pricing to a customer. Secondly, collecting data to determine if the case is true or not, in the case described above it would getting access to the sales representative devices and access the data (email, files, etc.) to determine what information was sent. Third, it is organizing the data, the time frame on when the customer got in contact with their representative, and when the data was sent and if the two parties had contracts and deals arranged that that would terminate the employees contract with the company. The information would be presented to the necessary parties to determine the actions required. The key aspect would be having the right tools, to access the data. The data from the salesman devices, even if he deleted them, this would be the way to extract the files and then start questioning (1) why the classified information was being shared with outside parties.

Cloud Forensic in the Workplace

The situation above explained the process of digital forensics, and how the concept could be used in the company I currently work for International Wholesale Tile LLC. Cloud and forensic accounting have increased and become available in modern day companies due to the following reasons:

1) If a situation should arise digital forensic would reduce the cost of conducting the investigation.

2) Reduce the cost of data disclosure

3) Faster restoration from damage lost and more.

But some companies are still hesitating about making the transition, the company I work for,

International Wholesale Tile LLC (IWT) being the prime example. This company still stores their data on one hard drive and everyday our I.T specialist goes in and changes the drive every day. Cloud computing without a doubt would help IWT store their information, the company processes over 500 orders a day, stores invoices from over 250 vendors, this would be the most cost-efficient method for the company.

If IWT should adapt this concept into the operations, factors such as servers being down would no longer effect employees trying to get work done like it has in the past.  In the past year, there has been two occasions where the company server was down, and no employee could access any information, this cost the company valuable time and money. With cloud computing, this would have not occurred, and the information would still be able to be accessed and continue the daily operations.  

With the concept of digital forensic we would be able to access files on employee's computers and devices. And the importance of this is many occasions employees and sales representatives leave the company on the wrong foot, and they have to turn in their devices, such as laptops, IPads and smartphones many of them turn them in without information IT of their password, so we cannot access the information on the devices for a while. With digital forensic, the program would allow us to bypass the password criteria and access to determine what kind of information the former employee was sending out to clients and others. Because information such as certain price list should not be shared with customers and we can determine if this information was being shared.  

Conclusion

With technology advancing at a rate faster than ever before there is no doubt that more companies will start adapting the concept of cloud computing into their daily operations. This will not only save the company money in the long run, but all documentation and data will be in one centered location to be accessed. The correlation with that is that cloud forensic will be in higher demand, due to the fact that if fraud should occur they will need to have someone with experience to tackle the case. But as cloud computing and cloud forensic become a normal way of operations in a company, it also becomes more difficult for investigators to conduct their examinations in the storage devices due individuals becoming more aware of the process/system. In the early stages of digital forensic not many individuals were aware of what or how it was conducted, so it was much easier then conducting an investigation that everyone knows how the process works, because then they can find loopholes.

We have seen in the present time more companies turn to cloud computing, which will indicate that cloud forensic will also increase. Both concept will go from just large companies to even small business adapting the feature in their operations. With that crimes involving cloud computing will increase, the complication of cloud forensics will also become more difficult, however, the demand for forensic accounts will increase.

Figures

Figure 1:The figure displays the process of digital forensics. First, you must identify what is the problem, and any proof that the situation may have occurred. Second, this where you collect the data, gather the individual(s) devices and start organizing the data, to be presented to the necessary party.

Figure 2: A survey conducted in 2015 with digital forensic investigators were asked, "what they believe the biggest challenge in their field was?" as the figure above displays almost half of the individuals agreed that cloud computing and growth/increase in digital crimes and increase in digital cases were the biggest obstacles. This is with correlation that as more companies adapt cloud computing more individuals are being exposed and knowledgeable in the area.

Reference:

Chapter 2: Cloud Forensics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from

http://cloudforensicsresearch.org/publication/Cloud_Forensics_An_Overview_7th_IFIP.pdf

Digital Forensic In The Cloud. (2013, October). Retrieved March 03, 2017,

from,http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.433.8211&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Fraud and Forensic Accounting In Digital Environments. (n.d.). Retrieved

February 25, 2018, from http://www.theifp.org/research-grants/IFP-Whitepaper-4.pdf

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