Meet one of the best and brightest forensics experts across the Onna partner landscape, Megan Danilek. Megan hones her skills as a Director of Digital Forensics & Investigation at FTI Consulting, one of the most long standing Onna partners, where she's developed six years of forensics findings that she's willing to share in this month's Partner Spotlight!
Welcome, Megan! Could you share a glimpse into your role as the Director of Digital Forensics & Investigations at FTI Consulting and your day-to-day responsibilities?
As a Director of Digital Forensics & Investigations at FTI, my day-to-day responsibilities include working with law firms and corporate legal teams to support our clients across various forensic investigations and eDiscovery matters. At the onset of a matter, our team will assess the scope, objectives and potential data sources involved. We will then devise a plan to collect data across these various sources utilizing forensically sound methods to protect the integrity and authenticity of our clients data. Upon completion of these collections, our team will create a plan to analyze these various sources in an attempt to identify the relevant information at hand whether that be activity that occurred on a device, conversations had between individuals, identifying hits on relevant search terms, or even recovering the steps an individual took to hide activity.The possibilities are endless and everyday we are provided with a different challenge.
How did you get your start in the eDiscovery industry?
Candidly, my entry into this industry was not planned. I was looking for a job in Technology Consulting when I first graduated college, not knowing what I wanted to do but loving the idea of a fast-paced environment working to solve technical problems across a variety of different industries. I ended up interviewing at FTI and falling in love with Digital Forensics. After working on a few cases, I learned how challenging and rewarding it was to use different tools and analytics to recreate the story of what happened across a multitude of different data sources.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to break into eDiscovery?
I would advise someone entering the industry that this is a faster moving industry than you could ever prepare yourself for. Documentation and organization are essential and the ability to adapt to ever changing technical environments is a must while also retaining historical knowledge of how legacy systems operate in your back pocket. Just because we are used to adapting to an evolving digital landscape does not mean everyone has and you have to be prepared for any situation thrown your way.
If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose and why?
I have had multiple mentors in my six years of working at FTI, so it isn't easy to name someone specifically, but I have gravitated toward every one of my mentors due to their commitment to my growth and development. Their approach to mentoring goes beyond simply offering guidance and advice. Instead, they actively engage with your challenges, viewing them as their own and working collaboratively as a team to find solutions.
What's one thing — industry-related or not — you learned in the last month?
Knowledge sharing is key in staying up to date on trends in the industry. Of course, you can read as many blogs or posts as possible to stay current on trends. Still, when someone in our group is able to apply new knowledge or a custom workaround on a matter and can share with the group the steps it took to achieve the goal at hand, that knowledge and how it was applied is significantly more valuable than bookmarking a blog post and hoping you'll remember to access it later if needed.
What are your favorite industry-related resources?
I utilize Twitter, LinkedIn, and many forensic blogs to keep up to speed on market trends and patches or new releases to our forensic tools. One of my favorite blogs is "This Week in 4N6" which contains blogs from folks worldwide on new forensic findings or workarounds to standard methodologies.
What Onna feature do you use most frequently?
Our team loves to utilize Onna because it's a one-stop shop for emerging data sources. The workspace feature allows us to connect and house all our data sources in one location as well as utilize the auditing feature to ensure our collections were collected in a forensically sound manner and also includes an abundance of metadata that's organized in a way that would be difficult to export natively.
What have you been able to achieve since using Onna?
Our team has achieved mass collections of emerging unstructured data sources.
What do you appreciate about being an Onna partner?
Onna has proven itself adept at extracting and consolidating information from multiple different data sources. Furthermore, the responsiveness of Onna’s development team has been truly commendable. They have shown a genuine commitment to understanding and meeting their users' needs. Their receptiveness to suggestions and willingness to incorporate changes make them a valuable partner in optimizing data collection and management processes. Their ability to adapt the platform based on user feedback fosters a collaborative and iterative approach to product development, ultimately resulting in a tool that aligns more closely with current eDiscovery trends and needs.
What are the biggest challenges on the horizon for our industry?
Emerging data sources and learning the ins and outs of how they are structured to ensure we can export the most robust and forensically sound outputs.
Megan, as a Partner Spotlight participant, you'll receive a $50 gift card to donate to a charity of your choice. What charity will you be choosing?
I’ll be donating to the American Cancer Society.
Have questions for Megan about her expertise in eDiscovery, FTI, or use of Onna? Share them below. If you're interested in being featured in our next Customer Spotlight, take advantage of this opportunity to apply. As an added bonus, the first five applicants will receive a $50 Starbucks gift card to help fuel their productivity and connections.