securing documents

Have you heard of “cloud computing?” This is a phrase that describes the concept of lots of computers connected through a real-time network. It gives you the ability to run a program or application on many computers at the same time.  It often provides storage space for data that can be accessed, with appropriate passwords, from several locations, keeping business co-workers or family members connected without having to share the same computer.

We all have important documents that we need for identification, like drivers licenses, social security cards, insurance, medical records, and property deeds as well as bank records. Many of these are in paper form. If a disaster occurs that destroys these documents, how do we prove who we are and what we owned?

Enter the cloud. There are a number of services available like Google Drive, Dropbox, and others that offer internet storage space. The beauty of using the cloud is not having to put the same information on a variety of computers. It can be stored on one that is accessible to many.

Let’s use Goggle Drive as an example. Many people already have Google email accounts. The drive can be associated with your email account as a access point. What can you store there? Anything from images of documents, word files, music and family videos and photographs. For emergency preparedness purposes, you can store the following items in digital format:

  • Drivers Licenses
  • Birth Certificates
  • Social Security Cards
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Health Insurance Cards
  • Car Loan Contract
  • Insurance Contracts
  • Recent Bank, Loan, and Credit Card statements
  • Mortgage Agreement
  • Property Deed
  • Life Insurance Policies


Only you and any people you choose to share access with can get to this information. When you set up this information in the cloud, it is a good idea to keep documents organized in folders. Give at least one other person access to the password.

Are you concerned with security and privacy? Of course, so use strong passwords and change them every three months. Make sure that the person you give access to uses strong passwords as well. Be sure to read and make sure you are comfortable with the privacy policy terms of whatever service you use. Often the service will have a strong password generator to help you create them.

Billie Nicholson 2014

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