Lima Forensic Case Management
Strengths: Comprehensive feature set with lots of flexibility.
Weaknesses: None that we found.
Verdict: This has become a mainstay in the lab for tracking research projects, all of which behave a lot like digital forensic investigations. Over the past year we have not retained our research records because there was no need to. This year, need or not, we will. We make this one SC Lab Approved for another year.
We've been using this tool for a couple of years now and it is, unquestionably, the most powerful cyber forensic case management tool available. Last year we rated it as SC Lab Approved and we certainly will extend that designation for the coming year. The purpose of this product is to provide all of the case management and required record-keeping for a cyber forensics laboratory. While it is particularly good for larger labs, especially those that are seeking or maintaining certification. We found it quite useful for tracing various research projects on which we had to report.
This is not a walk in the park to set up. While it is not particularly difficult, it is so customizable that the setup process is long and can become tedious. The trick is to set up groups and let the members of the groups inherit various rights. The other trick, if you are creating managers or supervisors with all privileges is simply to check the all choice and grant all privileges at once. When you first install the product you'll note that it uses two pieces: the administrator program and the client program. General users have clients but only the administrator(S) have the admin piece of the puzzle.
After installing the admin and client programs, your next task is to log into the client as administrator and begin configuration. The administrator program lets you customize the fields in the database so if you want to add an extra field or two to the users, or other grouping it's fairly straightforward. The administrator program also lets you set up the tool to meet the particular requirements of your lab. The client program lets you, as administrator, create users and offices. This is the main administrator point of interaction with the program.
The item to create is an office. You enter the office with its address and other data. Then you can create your first user. You must associate the user with an email address and an office. Once that is done you can log in as that user and you'll have a lot more choices. What those choices are depend upon what privileges the administrator gave you when he created your account. Depending upon those choices, you may be able to create a case, add other users, add customers and suppliers, etc. A manager or supervisor may be able to do a lot of foundational tasks while the average user will not be able to.
Each user needs the client installed on the workstation and needs to be set up with an account. Login usually is by email address, but active directory is supported as well. When the first user, as created by the administrator, logs in, he or she uses the password that Lima assigned automatically. While you are not forced to change your password, the first thing you should do is go to the password change and do that. Once the user has done that all that is left is to assign cases and go to work. The administrator can do that, of course, but if a manager or supervisor logs in that would be that person's task in most labs.
We like this tool, obviously and one of the things we like most is its support. We had a bit of difficulty upgrading the database to the current version and we got a return email from Lima almost immediately (and it was on a holiday) followed shortly thereafter by a screen sharing session to find the problem. For what it does, the price is reasonable and documentation is good. We have enjoyed using this over the past few years and so, for its usefulness and comprehensive functionality we make this one SC Lab Approved for another 12 months.