Benefits of open source intelligence for due diligence

Related: What is due diligence?

Open source intelligence tools offer a range of advantages that can enable analysts to save a variety of resources. In particular, open source intelligence tools can have a significant impact in the following areas

Time Efficiency

Due diligence takes, on average, approximately 30-90 days, according to various estimates. Since the extended due diligence process is expected to be comprehensive, the timeline can easily get out of hand. As a result, overtime can become very painful, as an extra day of research can cost a significant amount of money when the stakes are high.

Many open source intelligence tools offer advanced automated search methods that allow analysts to streamline their workflow and save significant time. For example, image recognition technology helps scan the Surface Web for any data vulnerabilities that may be relevant to a company's brand. In addition, data visualization capabilities enable analysts to organize the massive amounts of data they are working with and build a comprehensive picture faster.


Basic due diligence services cost $30-40,000 per case and increase depending on complexity. But the sum of the investigations can easily become unmanageable. This can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, if much of the information needed by the analyst is not provided, if the subjects themselves are uncooperative, or if unexpected findings arise.

The cost of due diligence is closely related to the time commitment required by the team performing the work. Using open source intelligence tools to power the research side of the equation can significantly reduce due diligence costs.


According to McKinsey, the M&A department's internal due diligence team consists of 30-40 specialists. These professionals are equipped to handle all aspects of deal planning, including initial screening, legal structuring and finance.

However, assembling a dedicated unit can be a serious challenge for many companies, especially smaller ones. The staff size requirements can make the entire investigation process very complex due to the large amount of information to be processed and the variety of skills required.

Open source intelligence solutions allow large investigations to be conducted with smaller teams. Going through box after box of documents in the past required multiple people to read each document. Nevertheless, thanks to digitization, open source intelligence software can still read documents and provide detailed reports and summaries.

Expansion of Data Scope

Following the idea that foreseen dangers can be avoided in half, it is critical for companies to have the broadest and most in-depth knowledge of their subject matter possible. Open source intelligence tools provide analysts with access to an extremely broad repository of open source resources, while providing the incisive tools needed to extract the precise chunks of data needed to accomplish the goals at hand. In the context of due diligence, essential sources include

· Databases

· Company registrations

· Non-profit registrations

· Social media

· News media

· Education records

· Legal reports

· Investigative reports


Open source intelligence technologies can put a great deal of power into the hands of a single worker. With a wide range of tools and resources, all channeled into a single interface at a single workstation, tasks that might once have required an entire team to perform can now often be accomplished by a single well-organized operator. From a more global perspective, this also means that a small team of well-equipped specialists can achieve tasks that once required an entire department.

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