Protecting and Storing Personal Digital Documents

January 3, 2009 – 1:43 pm
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Cindy Waxer recently wrote a great article over at Bankrate.com that also appeared on CNBC.Com among other venues titled 5 digital ways to store money documents that includes commentary and industry perspectives by yours truly Greg Schulz.

Why the concern about safely and securing personal digital documents? Digital created or stored data ranges from income tax, social security, mortgage and fiance, on-line and electronic bill payments, credit cards as well as banking and retirement information that is being stored on personal computers in place of, or in addition to printed hardcopy forms.

Many organizations are encouraging consumers as well as business to shift from printed hardcopy invoices and bills towards using electronic and paperless bill payments. In some instances, organizations offer discounts for switching to electronic bill payment or transactions while others apply service fees for using traditional non electronic payment methods.

So again, why the concern about storing safely and securely your digital receipts, invoices and payment records, after all, since they are on-line, why not simply rely on whom ever you are dealing with to maintain those records? The answers are many ranging from simple availability of having ready access to your documents similar to why you would have copies of important hardcopy documents available in addition to being in a safe place. Another answer is for compliance, long thought to only the realm and area of focus for large financial institutions.

So what is one to do? Simple, protect important electronic documents as you would protect important hardcopy documents by making copies and storing them in safe secure places including off-site archives in a different location.

Some general tips, technologies and techniques for safely storing digital documents include:

  • Make multiple copies of important data files, documents, photos or other important items
  • Store copies of important files and data on encrypted removable media including placing copies off-site
  • Protect encryption keys and passwords in a safe place to unlock protected data when needed
  • Leverage removable media including disk drives, USB FLASH thumb drives, CD/DVD or magnetic tape
  • Utilize on-line web or cloud based managed service providers offering internet document storage
  • Talk to your bank to see what they offer for digital safe deposit boxes also known as cloud or managed storage services
  • Perform regular backups of computers data files as well as have a disaster recovery kit and CD (or disk drive) stored in a safe place
  • Of course there is the question of how do you know what is important and what is not important, again, what has value to you either from a financial or legal perspective as well as soft value for example priceless digital or scanned photographs, video and recordings among other sentimental documents.

    Check out Cindy’s article here and learn more at www.storageio.com.

    Ok, nuff said.

    Cheers gs

    Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
    twitter @storageio

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