Peers and clients say:
"Tanya is extremely professional in the provision of investigations services"
"Ms Gross ensures diligent, speedy and excellent client engagement"
"She is always available to answer any strategic questions or queries around approach process or costs"
Tanya Gross is a senior managing director at Ankura, based in London. She has spent the past decade managing investigations and disputes involving unstructured, structured and semi-structured data. She has led large-scale evidence and disclosure management exercises in the UK, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan, the Middle East and the US. Tanya leads the team’s client delivery and practice development efforts across Europe, EMEA and APAC, including e-discovery, digital forensics, information security, structured analytics and custom solutions.
What motivated you to specialise as a forensic data expert?
Throughout my career I have had the privilege of supporting matters that have involved digital forensic investigations, analysing large corpuses of data for e-disclosure and handling complex cyber-incidents for organisations. Every case is different which has enabled me to learn a multitude of skills, get exposure to different types of software and technology solutions and work with great people and clients alike.
What has been your most interesting case to date and why?
The most interesting case to date was a sizeable ransomware investigation for a corporation listed on the London stock exchange, where most of their data and backups were encrypted.
It is often challenging to balance helping an organisation get back to business-as-usual operations whilst preserving data that is necessary for the investigation and root cause analysis. It is also important to help contain the issue and ensure any malware is identified, isolated and removed.
Working as a team through a really challenging time is very satisfying as strong relationships are built if expectations are managed effectively. Cyber incidents are very fast- moving, using a team with a variety of skills will help the client through their crisis.
Which technology are you excited about at the moment and how do you think it will impact data investigation and disputes?
Artifical intelligence is driving a lot of change in our industry. It saves time and cost of analysis, and can quickly find key documents of interest or information that otherwise might not be found through human review and analysis. The efficiencies that can be gained through this technology are profound. But adoption is slow for disputes and investigations. It is important that consultants supporting the technology truly understand the results and can explain them simply to their audience.
What do you enjoy most in your role as senior managing director at Ankura?
I love seeing people grow and develop. I am a big advocate of people focusing on their strengths to thrive and succeed. Sometimes people need a helping hand to realise what those strengths are and encouragement to try new things and diversify.
I have had the privilege of seeing people grow, learn new specialisms and feel excited about their career choices, which has been very rewarding. Recently, I encouraged a team member to change roles based on her data collection and digital forensics skills. She is absolutely loving the transition to her new role.
What is the greatest challenge posed by unstructured data in modern investigations?
It’s essential to develop a strategy at the outset of an investigation for the collection and searching exercise. It’s crucial to scope which systems hold data that is of interest, in order to prepare and process it for the investigation and legal review. In recent years, there has been a big focus on using machine-learning techniques to reduce data volumes, but if you develop a focused, targeted approach and sample the data of key individuals relevant to the investigation at the start and develop a defensible methodology, you can keep the volume of data down to a manageable size. Machine learning should complement the approach and not used solely to reduce data volumes, otherwise it can be cost prohibitive. The methodology and process is the most important element.
Working closely with the legal teams helps guide and steer the approach, and communication and managing stakeholder expectations remains key.
What advice would you give to practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
Always try something new and don’t be scared to challenge yourself! Don’t be scared to fail. You can learn a lot about yourself and others through trying different things.
At the same time, work hard; be supportive of others; and recognise that everyone has different talents and strengths, but by working together, you can achieve great things. Build strong relationships with clients and listen to what they are trying to achieve; have those different conversations; and allow yourself to grow and develop.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
I am content with what I have achieved to date. I have managed to do a lot in a short space of time and gained exposure to interesting projects through some exceptional mentors. If anything, I would like to refocus my attention to gaining a greater balance in work and life.