Dechert Detect

Detecting Data Integrity Issues Before They Become a Crisis

Why Detect?  |  How Data Integrity Can Be Compromised  |  Real Cases Of Data Falsification  |  Our Approach

Detect helps companies ensure the integrity of key product data by proactively identifying data manipulation or falsification of product testing. Our risk-based analytic approach helps ensure you identify and resolve data integrity issues before they become a crisis that could threaten the future or finances of your company.

How Detect Works

  • Our team of attorneys dives deep into your organization and its data flows to understand your critical product and testing data, identifying areas where you are at higher risk of data integrity issues
  • We partner with an independent consultant and analyze your test data and reports, looking for inconsistencies, anomalies, and red flags
  • We report our results to you, identifying any data integrity issues and how you can address them

What You Can Do With Detect

  • Identify, analyze, and address instances of data manipulation or falsification to protect your company's most critical products
  • Reduce the risks to your company of exposure to massive business risks, legal costs, and reputational damage
  • Protect your relationships with key customer and business partners and obtain cooperation credit from regulatory and enforcement agencies

How Can Data Integrity Be Compromised?

Risks and consequences of data falsification and manipulation

What you should know about how it happens and the risks it creates

Data integrity can be compromised in various ways, from inadvertent data entry errors to manipulating product testing and lying about test results. Extreme cases of data manipulation can undermine the integrity of your products and company.

If your products require testing for government regulation or customer specifications, you are at risk for data falsification. This includes manufacturing industries (such as automotive or construction-related products), health sciences (pharmaceuticals and medical devices), and higher education institutions. Most senior managers in companies don’t know they have problems until it is too late or very expensive to fix them.

Companies with falsified data may face billions of dollars in fines and legal fees, shattered reputations from negative media exposure, destruction of investor and consumer trust, and potential financial ruin. Recent data falsification examples include Takata, Theranos, and a number of global automobile manufacturers and suppliers.

Data falsification examples Audi Takata Theranos

Detect works with your company to identify areas where you are at higher risk of data integrity issues. Our approach is:


  • Most compliance programs are reactive and retrospective, not taking effect until the damage is already done. By identifying, isolating, and addressing data integrity issues, Detect helps senior management and directors fulfill their obligations to protect a company’s key products, finances, brand, and reputation.

Client Driven

  • We create a customized assessment tailored to your company’s product testing and data streams. As part of our preparation, we interview key employees, review your data governance and data security protocols, and assess the disclosures you make to government agencies, customers, and consumers.

Time Efficient

  • We are mindful and respectful of your time each step of the way. Detect is designed to be as user-friendly and unobtrusive as possible while still providing the comprehensive, independent reporting you need to protect your business from various types of data manipulation.

Cost Saving

  • In an extreme case, the damage from a lack of data integrity controls and protections can be financially fatal to a company. Detect is created to save you from exposure to potentially staggering financial costs including penalties, fines, legal fees, product recalls, declining share value, and loss of liquidity.
Why choose Detect over an internal audit?

In cases of falsified data, it is far better to engage an independent third party — attorneys and well-credentialed experts — than to rely on an internal compliance audit.

The attorneys on the Detect team have decades of criminal and civil experience. We know how to interview and question witnesses, work with subject-matter experts, pull together key documents and data, and follow the evidence to a defensible conclusion. It’s what we do every day.

If your company faces investigations or legal proceedings arising from data manipulation, you will have the protection of the Detect findings and recommendations, which will make clear that you and your fellow managers took the issues seriously. Since you own the privilege associated with our work, you will be able to evaluate the benefits and risks of disclosing the findings, which may be appropriate in certain circumstances.

The advantage of Detect is that you get access to our experience, expertise, and judgment. With Detect's approach to data integrity testing, you don’t just find out whether there is a problem. We can help you fashion prescriptive solutions to protect your company and its reputation.

Why is product testing important?

Product testing is done for all sorts of regulatory and competitive reasons.

Normally, the aim of testing is to ensure that the product, as designed and as produced, meets standards imposed by the government or a purchaser. This is particularly true where a product poses a potential risk of harm to the public. There are certain standards that suppliers are held to and a set of tests that products must pass to meet these standards. To operate in the market, you are required to generate and report accurate test data.

Given today’s global supply chains, product testing is becoming more critical to more companies for compliance and competitive advantage.  Meeting or exceeding these data standards is valuable to a company because it gives both investors and consumers peace of mind and confidence in the product.

Testing procedures and test data ultimately ensure that products work and do not pose a risk to customers or the public.

How important is data integrity?

Integrity of a company’s test data and its reports to customers and regulators is critical to the life and longevity of a company.  Falsification of product testing or reporting false test results can destroy even well-regarded and managed companies in a matter of months.

What does it mean to falsify data?

Data falsification can take a variety of forms in different organizations, but it is almost always rooted in the fact that a company’s product does not fully meet the mandated testing standards. To avoid that failure, people cheat on the administration of the tests, lie about the results, or both.

Sadly, none of this is terribly new. What is new is the near immediate and massive impact to companies when this evidence becomes public.  If a company is alleged to have falsified data testing, its products, reputation, and brand all take a hit.

Exactly how data is falsified can look different in every industry based on the specific requirements that its products have to meet. Data falsification occurs when companies manipulate the tests and/or the testing data so that a product looks as if it meets requirements when, in truth, it doesn’t. Even an apparently minor exaggeration of tests or test results will undermine the integrity of both the product and the company.

Data falsification might encompass outright lies about testing protocols, intentional manipulation of testing or data to get specific results, or accidental improper data input that’s never corrected.

What are the warning signs of data falsification?

False reporting is normally actively hidden, covered up, and kept secret to prevent disclosure to customers, regulators, and sometimes company management. Secrecy and lack of transparency or auditing allow these issues to go undetected.

That said, you should be vigilant about the following risk factors:

  • A concentrated, competitive market with a limited number of suppliers
  • A lack of formal data governance policies
  • Records straddling the divide between the paper and digital worlds
  • Reports from whistleblowers
  • New company-critical products that have to meet multiple customer specifications
  • Operations in multiple countries with different cultures, values, and legal systems
  • Policies whereby sales units or upper management can overrule product design and safety
  • A very complex product testing system
  • A culture where employees are so protective of the company or its products that they start falsifying data to avoid any appearance of failure