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Protecting, Storing Your Digital Documents

Last update on: Jun 22 2020

Many financial services firms now recognize the importance of digital assets and want to be key players in storing them. A number of firms now offer digital storage services they often call “vaults” for digital documents. These are promoted as highly secure digital filing cabinets on which you can store digital copies of all your important documents (wills, trusts, account statements, etc.) and a secure copy of the passwords to all your online accounts. Most of these services are available free to firm clients. A Fidelity subsidiary developed a secure storage system called FIDSAF. Currently it is offered free to anyone, but I suspect over time there will be a cost or it will be tied to Fidelity accounts, or both.

In the past I’ve recommended that digital documents and data be stored on an external disk or a thumb drive and kept somewhere such as a fireproof safe. The cloud storage services offered by these firms are a good alternative, provided you make sure your executor and other key people know about it and have the access information and permission. My main concern is that using such services ties you and your heirs to a particular firm. Before committing to one of these services, consider one of the cloud services for backing up your computer or other devices. These include CrashPlan, SOS Online Backup, Carbonite, and Backblaze, among others. Each of these costs less than $100 annually and will keep current copies of everything on your device, plus prior copies.

You also could use regular cloud storage services, such as DropBox. The other services listed have higher levels of security and back up your files automatically instead of requiring you to remember to back up each update, as DropBox-like services do.



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