Evernote is Not the Best Investigation Case Management Software

Evernote is Not the Best Investigation Case Management Software

Evernote is Not the Best Investigation Case Management Software, it’s Not Even Good

If anyone tells you Evernote is the best investigation case management software to start off with, they have no idea what they’re talking about.

At one time, I used Evernote almost exclusively as it related to ideas, sharing information, to-do lists, tasks, etc. Evernote, a complex but easy to use note-taking application is used by millions of people to organize their lives and thoughts. I used Evernote for years and had a version installed on my phone, tablet, computer, and iMac.

Evernote flawlessly synced to all my devices and I could add text from anywhere just by typing, or I could clip web pages and emails using related clipping apps. As you wrote, Evernote would reliably save whatever it was you were typing so you could stop at any time and close the computer, knowing Evernote saved every letter.

The Swiss Army Knife of All things Written

Evernote was the Swiss Army knife of all things written and I can see why some would tout it as the best investigation case management software. The app and its integrations had so much promise, especially for the investigative community. Unfortunately, I’ve canceled my subscription and deleted my account in its entirety, and I suggest you do the same.

In 2016, Evernote made a “what’s new” announcement where they laid out some changes that would negatively impact many of its users. Most notably, Evernote added a section to its Terms of Service called, “Will Evernote Employees Look at My Content?”

What? Why in the world would Evernote employees need to read your content?

The public responded harshly, and Evernote intelligently retracted. Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill stated “After receiving a lot of customer feedback expressing concerns about our upcoming Privacy Policy changes over the past few days, Evernote is reaffirming its commitment to keep privacy at the center of what we do. As a result, we will not implement the previously announced Privacy Policy changes that were scheduled to go into effect January 23, 2017.”

So, all is good, right? I don’t think so.

What’s crazy is Evernote employees can still read your content. This was a lame attempt at damage control because they got caught with their hand in your content. Any content you store in Evernote is still not secure because it isn’t encrypted internally, and their employees can still access your data.

I know investigation industry professionals who still store sensitive data inside Evernote. Not a good idea by any means now that we know Evernote isn’t even close to the best investigation case management software on the market.

In today’s environment of data breaches, you should not store anything cloud-based without encryption.

Evernote’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

From Evernote’s Terms of Service:

“Your privacy in your Content is a paramount concern for us, and we hope that Evernote employees never need to examine anyone’s Content. However, there are limited circumstances in which we may have the need to review part or all of your Content, as discussed in our Privacy Policy.”

So, after reviewing the Privacy Policy, it becomes clearer what Evernote means and it’s no more comforting.

Do you still think Evernote is the best investigation case management software for your business? Here is the verbiage from the Privacy Policy:

Do Evernote Employees Access or Review My Notes?

As a rule, Evernote employees do not monitor or view your personal information or Content stored in the Service, but we list below the limited circumstances in which our employees may need to access or review your personal information or account Content

  • We believe our Terms of Service has been violated and confirmation is required or we otherwise have an obligation to review your account Content as described in our Terms of Service;
  • We need to do so for troubleshooting purposes;
  • Where necessary to protect the rights, property or personal safety of Evernote and its users (including to protect against potential spam, malware or other security concerns); or
  • In order to comply with our legal obligations, such as responding to warrants, court orders or other legal process. We vigilantly protect the privacy of your account Content and, whenever we determine it possible, we provide you with notice if we believe we are compelled to comply with a third party’s request for information about your account. Please visit our Information for Authorities page for more information.

What does Evernote do with my Content?

Evernote also uses a number of technologies to help you get the most out of the Service. Our systems automatically analyze your data, including your account Content, in order to power Evernote features and to continually improve the Service for you. This may include, for example:

  • Making search work the way you want it to;
  • Showing you information most relevant to how you are using the Service at a specific time or location
  • Detecting when it looks like you’re making a list and suggest features or tips that might be useful
  • Showing you information relevant to a note you are creating or reviewing. The information we show you may include Notes from your own account, Notes from accounts you are connected to through Evernote Business or Collaboration Features, and third party content that you have elected to receive.

In addition, as part of our efforts to protect your account and the functionality of the Service, our automated systems may analyze the emails you send to and from your Evernote service account to detect spam, malware or other potential security concerns and may block delivery of such emails.

So essentially, Evernote is warning you up front, if Evernote employees feel they need to access your content, they can and they will.

Additionally, they scan your emails using automated technology. Emails you send and receive using Evernote.

What should I do now?

  1. Before you do anything, collect your data from Evernote and populate it into another system like the Mac Notes or OneNote for Windows. This will certainly take some time depending the extent of your content. Then, use Evernote’s export feature to have all your notes saved in one file. If you need to, you can recover this file in Evernote later.
  1. Next, manually delete all of your content from Evernote. Deleted each note from within the application, allow it to sync, and confirmed the data is gone from all of your devices.
  1. Empty the trash!
  1. Click on the accounts options and at the bottom of the page click “Deactivate Account”.
  1. Hold your horses, Evernote still has your account on file. It is still associated with (and searchable by) your email address or username. There is no online option to completely remove your account.

To do this, you must submit a support ticket from the main support page. Chose the drop-down option “Account”, and then “Deactivated Account”.

Submitted the following message:

“Hello, I have already deactivated my account and I would like to my account to be permanently deleted. I have already taken the liberty of deleting the content. Please respond to me when this has been completed.”

As an investigator, you have a responsibility to keep your clients’ information confidential and secure. You can no longer rely on Evernote to do that for you.

In your search for the best investigation case management software for your business, the security of the information it holds should be a top priority.

5 Things to Look for when Choosing Investigative Software

5 Things to Look for when Choosing Investigative Software

5 Things to Look for when Choosing Investigative Software

About five years ago I started the CROSStrax project. The goal, design and implement investigative software that will direct the course and content of an investigation. Now, having gone through research, development, and practical testing, it’s easy to see what the key elements are to great investigation case management software.

So what do we know? Case management software manages information related to an investigation. manages information related to an investigation. Investigative software should perform basic tasks, such as, storing case information, managing billing expenses, employee and vendor records, and much, much more. At this point in the game, you should be looking for a cloud-based system, allowing access from anywhere in the world. Remember though, if the system is creating more work you or your organization, it’s simply counter productive. While I started thinking about the key functions to look for in case management software, the variables to look for became clear,

  1. ease of use,
  2. automation,
  3. and resources.

To sum it up, a one stop shop for investigation case management software that saves time and get’s things done.

Look Closely for These Five Feature

1. Report Design and Generation

Make sure the software you choose has a standard workflow in mind when it comes to investigative reports.  The software should allow your investigators access to input all of the data while the system is responsible for the aggregation, segmentation, and generation of the final report. This process will create a more efficient investigation while maintaining a consistent work product.

2. Automation

In designing CROSStrax we immediately looked at what could be done via automation. Three things we identified immediately were connections via API with our database information provider, various Internet sites to perform Internet Mining Investigations, and accounting software to automate the billing and expense process. These tasks alone shaved hours off man-time that now could be used to perform other more labor intensive tasks.

3. Data Breach Prevention

Your efforts here will demonstrate to your clients that your organization has taken anticipatory steps to address data security threats. The continuing problems of lost and stolen laptops containing critical information on hard-drives illustrates that corporate policy designed to safeguard portable data only works when employees follow the rules. By choosing a cloud-based case management system, you take back control of your security protocols, but remember, security protocols are only as good as the investigative software you choose, so choose wisely!

4. Help Desk Reports

It’s hard to get a client and if your clients aren’t happy, business will eventually suffer. Complaints should always be resolved as quickly as possible. Make sure your case management system keeps comprehensive records of all customer complaints, from the initial problem to the eventual solution.

5. Task Management

With the “do more with less” theory of business, it’s hard to always remember everything. Make sure the system you choose for case management has a comprehensive and integrated task management system. The tasks should allow you to schedule to co-workers, have due date reminders, and email notifications. In CROSStrax we put the tasks on the user dashboards for easy visibility.

Final Thoughts

Choosing investigative software is no easy task and you have to make sure that your decision is what’s best for your business or investigative process. By making the five features above a priority, you’re sure to choose software that will create a more efficient, client ready, and consistent work product.

  • Have you been using case management software, what are your thoughts?
  • What software have you been using and what are some positives and negatives?
  • Is there something you would like to see in case management software?
  • Price-point? Costs? Too high or just right for what you get?

Leave your questions, ideas, or general conversation in the comments below.

5 Reasons You Need Private Investigation Software

5 Reasons You Need Private Investigation Software


5 Reasons Why Your Firm Needs Private Investigation Software

Brian DeAntonio, FCLA

Brian DeAntonio, FCLA
President, CROSStrax

19 September 2016

Want to compete with the large nationwide firms? Competition in the private investigation business seems like its fiercer than it was even five or ten years ago.

You may feel a step behind larger investigation firms that use enterprise-wide technology solutions your small investigation firm can’t afford. But with private investigation software you can catch up to and compete with the “big boys.” Smaller investigation firms are just beginning to roll out third-party, cloud based private investigation software to more efficiently handle their cases and their operations.

First of all, private investigation software is designed to help you manage client information, cases, and all other related matters. It has two primary functions — to provide a simpler way to manage, protect, and share information and to track and shape your cases to make them more manageable.

The Top Five Reasons to Use Private Investigation Software

  1. Organize Active Case Files

Private investigation software helps you keep all the information about a client’s case in one convenient place. You can enter and manage case details, assignments, deadlines, contact information, notes, task lists, and more for use throughout the assignment.

  1. Manage Tasks and Deadlines

As a private investigator, working a case involves meeting many deadlines, which can be difficult, if not impossible to remember. Private investigation software enables you to manage and remember important dates. A solid software system can automatically add deadlines into your calendar, saving you the time and effort of doing so.

  1. Automated Time and Billing Entries

Many investigators write their billable time on a piece of paper and then enter it into a spreadsheet each month.  This is a cumbersome, time-consuming, and inaccurate process. Most private investigation software systems have the ability to convert a calendar event into billable time (CROSStrax does!).

  1. Access Information Remotely

Private investigation software can be accessed securely online, so you can work from anywhere you have a computer device and an Internet connection. When you need to manage your case related data from home or another remote location, simply go to the website and sign on.

  1. Media and Document Retrieval

If your PI firm is like others, you have large amounts of information stored in many places and on many clouds. With private investigation software, all of your important information can be safely stored and retrieved from one place – documents, videos, audio, and photos.

CROSStrax - Private Investigation Software

“As a private investigator, working a case involves managing tasks and meeting many deadlines, which can be difficult, if not impossible to remember.”

What feature will help you meet your business goals?

There are a variety of private investigation software options available. When you’re considering a system that will work for you, also consider what features are important to you and will meet your needs. Before deploying any software, it’s important to consider your goals and decide what features you need to meet those goals.

CMS offers a variety of solutions for:

  • Contact management
  • Report generation
  • Invoicing, managing time-sheets, and expenses
  • Case and database management

To learn more about the benefits of private investigation software, give me a call at 800.464.8819 or send me an email at brian@crosstrax.co.

Private Investigator Case Management Software is a Must

Private Investigator Case Management Software is a Must

Private Investigator Case Management Software – 10 Reasons Your Business Needs It

I’ve worked for many nationwide investigation firms in my time, and I’ll say, they do a great job of selling. Although the quality of their work may be good, or it may be bad, what I’ve found is it’s irrelevant; larger companies sell metrics and they do their selling at the tree-top level. They build highly customizable private investigator case management software that extracts the required marketing data (operational results) at the click of a mouse. 

What is CROSStrax?

CROSStrax was designed to take control of investigative agencies and is private investigator case management software and a sales CRM for the investigation industry. It was developed to solve all of the administration problems for businesses that don’t have the money to develop enterprise level software, or simply don’t want to invest their time or their funds in that direction.

CROSStrax is a cloud-based platform that supports all aspects of an investigation, from intake to invoice. You have the ability to easily track investigators, investigations, employees, documents, photos, video, data reports, Internet mining, case notes, final reports, and much more from an enterprise level cloud platform. With private investigator case management software, your investigation business becomes limitless.

Why are so many businesses, in general, moving to the cloud? It’s simple, cloud computing increases efficiency, helps improve cash flow, and offers cost and time-saving benefits, here’s ten of the best I could think of…

1. Flexibility

CROSStrax services are ideal for investigation businesses with growing or varying bandwidth demands. If your needs increase it’s easy to scale up your cloud capacity, drawing on the service’s remote servers. Likewise, if you need to scale down again, the flexibility is baked into the service. This level of agility can give businesses using cloud computing a real advantage over competitors.

2. Disaster recovery

Investigation businesses of all sizes should be investing in some type of disaster recovery, but for smaller businesses, that may lack the required resources and expertise, this is often more a luxury than a reality. CROSStrax is helping organizations buck that trend. Studies show small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions that save time, avoid any large up-front investment and involve third-party expertise as part of the deal.

3. Automatic software updates

The beauty of CROSStrax is that the servers are off-premise. CROSStrax developers take care of them for you and roll out regular software updates, including security updates, so you don’t have to worry about wasting time maintaining the system yourself. Leaving you free to focus on the things that matter, like growing your business.

4. No Capital-expenditure

CROSStrax eliminates the high cost of hardware and software. You simply pay as you go and enjoy a subscription-based model that’s just smart and easy on the cash-flow. Add to that the ease of setup and management and suddenly your massive IT situation looks at lot friendlier.

5. Increased collaboration

When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together and do it better. CROSStrax workflow helps your team make updates in real time and gives your team full visibility of their collaborations. Genius, right?

6. Work from anywhere

With CROSStrax, if you’ve got an Internet connection you can be at work. Pretty simple and great for your traveling sales staff.

7. Document control

The more employees and partners collaborate on documents, the greater the need for watertight document control. Before CROSStrax, investigators had to send files back and forth as email attachments to be worked on.

When you make the move to CROSStrax, all files are stored centrally and everyone sees one version of everything. Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately means better work and a healthier, more compliant, bottom line. If you’re still relying on the old way, it could be time to try something a little more streamlined.

8. Security

Lost laptops are a billion-dollar business problem and potentially the greater loss of an expensive computer is the loss of the sensitive data inside it. CROSStraxgives you greater security when this happens. Because your data is stored securely in the cloud, you can access it no matter what happens to your machine.

9. Competitiveness

Wish there was a simple step you could take to become more competitive? Moving to CROSStrax gives access to enterprise-class technology, for everyone. It also allows smaller investigation businesses to appear more professional and act faster than big, established competitors. Pay-as-you-go service and cloud business applications mean small boutique shops can run with the big boys, and “disrupt” the market while remaining lean and nimble. Imagine David with a Goliath-sized punch.

10. Environmentally friendly

While the above points spell out the benefits of private investigator case management software for your business, moving to the cloud isn’t an entirely selfish act. The environment gets a little love too. When your cloud needs shift, your server capacity scales up and down to fit. So you only use the energy you need and you don’t leave oversized carbon footprints.

Don’t have private investigator case management software yet?

Any two to four of the above benefits would be enough to convince most businesses to move their business into the cloud. But when you add up all ten? It’s a no-brainer.

Call us at 800.464.8819 for a demo and free consultation. Need additional information, visit us on the web at www.crosstrax.co.

Are you already using a case management system? If so, what system are you using? Does it meet your needs? What are the most important elements, to you, in a great investigation case management system?

Client Metrics Can Help You Sell Your Services | CROSStrax

Client Metrics Can Help You Sell Your Services | CROSStrax

Client Metrics as a Tool

The Client Metrics Module of the CROSStrax case management system provides your clients with the opportunity to better evaluate the information they are receiving from you, from a holistic perspective and on individual assignments. Any captured field, within CROSStrax, that is populated from the onset of the investigation request, through the investigative process, can be parceled out and used to run statistical reports. These reports provide your clients with quantitative insight as to the effectiveness of your results and their investigative program. Used in combination with our proprietary investigative CRM, the sky is the limit for your business.

Client metrics can be used to quantify historical data, allowing the opportunity to benchmark against periods of time, the investigator used, and even how much, multiple days of surveillance can increase the chances of a successful investigation (an increase in revenue for you immediately). Client metrics can be particularly useful to your clients when they are making decisions regarding their investigative budgets, initiatives, and what they may need to do to improve their overall investigative program to maximize ROI.

Client Metrics

Client Metrics Data

Client Metrics for Internal Evaluation

Obviously, if you are using client metrics to evaluate your performance with respect to each client, you should also be using the same metrics to evaluate the overall performance of your investigation business. The Client Metrics Module currently evaluates data from the following captured fields:

  • Service Request – (Surveillance, AOE/COE, Internet Mining)
  • Case Status – (Pending, Being Worked, Invoiced, etc.)
  • Budget – (Assigned vs. Actual)
  • Client Contact – (Requestor)
  • Time Frame
  • Company – (Specific or All)
  • Lost or Heated – (Was the investigator made or did they lose the subject)
  • Investigator – (All worked assignments)
  • Case Synopsis – (A brief summary of what the important results were on the assignment)

Metrics with Practical Knowledge

Client metrics are aggregated to be viewed as simple data, or, the data is placed into color charts for an easy visual of specific trends. When brought together, the data is extremely useful; however, what makes our system unique is the addition of the Case Synopsis Section. This section allows you to filter through the practical case data, while still having a brief understanding, in lamen terms, of the facts of the investigation. This added feature is crucial during your client meetings and will show them your unwavering commitment to customer service.

Client Metrics Bar Graph View

Bar Graph View

Ever hear this, “Listen, your video percentage is amazing and you don’t lose anyone but what about the results, are they helping our cause? What are we doing with your information?” The Case Synopsis Module provides you with detailed but short talking points on each assignment. For instance, “We completed two days of surveillance. Both days we obtained video of the subject walking without a cane and driving. The restrictions stated the subject MUST use a cane.” A home run in the eyes of the client and there was no digging through involved reports, calling investigators to get details, etc., it was right there in front of you.

How are you compiling this data now? If your not, you’re giving your competitor the upper hand. The best part of CROSStrax is it is always evolving. As you find new ways to use data, we in-turn make the changes to make your campaign successful. Accountability and responsiveness are built into our reporting process and serves to guide strategic improvements and ensures accuracy and consistency of your information.

Our Client Metrics Module is just another way we demonstrate our commitment to exceeding your expectations. For a guided demo, send us an email at info@crosstrax.co and we’ll run you through the particulars. CROSStrax is ready to change your business as you know it, are you ready for the change?

CROSStrax Case Management System

CROSStrax Case Management System

CROSStrax – A True Case Management System

Owners of private investigation agencies often ask about what case management system they can bring into their agency to assist them in running their business more effectively, efficiently and in less time as compared to an ad-hoc case management system or a more general database case management system. Paper-based systems have been with the PI for as long as there have been PIs. Not their fault, they are experts in gathering data, not necessarily presenting it efficiently. The better the PI, the bigger the problem. The better PIs have a lot of work flowing through their agency and there are still only twenty-four hours in the day. However, any argument to change to a different case management system must address real benefits to be achieved by the new case management system – and not simply how to do the same tasks faster.

CROSStrax draws together your desktop and scheduling calendar, lists of clients, an assignment filing system, your to-do list and deadline systems, and your time-keeping  and accounting systems and wraps them up into one package. In most cases each individual program goes much further when interconnected and adds additional functionality to the system.

The latest version of CROSStrax extends the communication handling that matches your email messages and the case notes of your assignments simply by emailing the message via BCC to your case management system. Emails are an efficient means of communication; however, if not logged properly, they can create a false sense of security. Usually, when you send an email unless someone responds, it’s the last you see of that email. Now, by sending the email to your case management system, it is logged into the case notes of the assignment for everyone, or how you designate, to see.

So you’re thinking of adopting, or making a change to a new case management system. Let’s take a look at the benefits you should expect.

Benefit #1 – CROSStrax can organize your day

The CROSStrax case management system replaces the Operation Manager’s scheduling calendar with an electronic daily work-scheduler. The advantages of changing to a networked, electronic calendar are as follows:

  • Assignments can be scheduled simply by adding the investigator to the schedule on that day.
  • If the scheduled date or time of day changes – you can drop the assignment to the new date or time.
  • If you create conflicting assignments – the software will warn you of the conflict – no more accidental double-bookings.
  • Anyone else in the agency can see your schedule and make appropriate and timely changes for you.
  • CROSStrax will warn you of upcoming must-work assignments and other specific deadlines.
  • You can take an entry from your report and with a few clicks, convert it into a time and billing entry.

Benefit #3 – CROSStrax will manage your deadlines

The CROSStrax case management system offers the ability to juggle deadlines and dates as follows:

  • In CROSStrax, the calendar has a “to-do” area – which carries forward your “to-dos” until they are marked “done.” No need to continually rewrite lists of to-dos.
  • It will indicate how many days each to-do has been in your system and how many days remain until the deadline date, or days past the deadline if this is the case.
  • Your case notes and emails can be converted into to-dos.
  • To-dos are embedded in your personal dashboard. Examples are limitation reminders, bring forward reminders, preparation reminders – anything for which you need a memory prompt. They will pop up on your to-do list on the dashboard when the requisite trigger date is reached.
  • When you use the case notes to track and log your calls, you can create a follow-up reminder for the business discussed during the call.

Benefit #4 – CROSStrax create billing entries

  • In CROSStrax, you have the ability to take an action or an entry, and with a few clicks convert it into a time and billing entry.
  • You can take a to-do and click on it to indicate that it is done – CROSStrax will then prompt you to create a time and billing entry from the entry.
  • Now, each call you make prompts you to select whether the call was billable to the client or not. Failing to do this routinely, is like leaving money on the table.

Benefit #5 – CROSStrax can do your work for you

  • Case managers have the ability to generate documents using the contacts in your database. When an investigator has completed an assignment, the case manager can print a report with the simple click of a button.
  • CROSStrax will retain and make available all related documents, photos, video, database efforts and more.

Benefit #6 – CROSStrax organizes your case information

Open the “Case Details” module in CROSStrax – in there you will see a description of the case, the parties in the case and all contact information, notes on the case, things to be done, logs of the calls and lists of the documents generated for the file – in other words, an up to date index of the file – without having to locate the paper version laying around the office. Great to get an update on the file when your client calls – you can pull this information up on your screen while making small talk and be up to speed on the details lickety-split.

In conclusion, CROSStrax case management software offers to you:

As a private investigator, you are not a data entry clerk – any system you adopt should allow you to record tasks as you complete them – in an effortless manner. It should allow you to forget the background part of managing a case by taking that over for you.

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