If you’ve been hanging around with me for any amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of backing up your documents. It makes sense – you’ve taken the time to create the document, it probably holds important information, and chances are, there’s only one copy of it.
Disaster can strike anytime in the form of a computer crash or accidental deletion. Not to mention fire, theft, flood, viruses, etc. And I’m not just talking about digital documents here. Our vital records – marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc. – are usually on paper and are just as susceptible to damage. So what can you do to protect yourself? Below are four things to know when it comes to protecting your documents:
- Scan in your vital documents if they are in paper format. Yes, you most often need the actual physical documents when you have to produce it, but sometimes a digital copy works and it helps to have a copy of the original document in case of destruction. If you don’t have a flatbed type scanner, there are apps like Adobe Scan you can use with your phone.
- Remember the 3, 2, 1 philosophy. Back up three different copies of your documents, in two different places, at least one of which is off-site. It sounds like a lot, but remember that your original is one copy, back up another copy using online backup (Carbonite or BackBlaze), then have another copy saved on an external hard drive. I have my working documents on my computer, in Dropbox, and backed up online. My vital documents are on my computer, backed up online using Crashplan, and backed up on an external hard drive.
- Online sync programs like Dropbox and Google Drive are not the same as online backup programs like Carbonite or BackBlaze. Online sync is designed so you have access to your documents regardless of where you are. This is especially helpful if you are moving between computers or if you need to share documents with a spouse or work partner. Yes, some like Dropbox offer limited online backup/storage, but it’s a max of 30 days which may not be enough time. We had a hiccup in our computers and lost documents and because they weren’t active working documents, it took us almost two months before we realized the documents were missing.
- Finally, make sure you are using descriptive file names. Doc 1 and Doc 3 aren’t going to help you if you need to recover something from online backup. Take some now to purge those documents you no longer need so if you have to recover something, there is less ‘junk’ to sort through.
If this is all new information for you, don’t worry! There’s no time like the present to start protecting your documents. My suggestion is to start by signing up with an online backup service. The first backup can take several days and while that is working, you can be scanning in vital documents and cleaning up your files.
Interested in some help with this whole process? Let me know and we can tackle it together! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!