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What is a cloud-based storage system — and is it safe?

By Trustworthy

January 6, 2022


As sensitive family information like bills, rent, important life documents, and your vaccine card increasingly live online, you may want a more safe and efficient way to organize it all. 

It’s important for both you and your family to have access to this information at a moment’s notice. If your partner or a close family member asked you where your marriage license or living trust were right now, would you know? Are they all in one place? Are they digitized? Most importantly, if they are digitized, are the files encrypted so that hackers cannot access them?

You might think that your paper-based filing system is just fine. While it’s imperative to keep original copies of many types of information — like your birth certificate, will, and your insurance policies — it’s also critical to have digital back-ups in case of a natural disaster, like a fire.

Related article: How to safely destroy sensitive documents 

In fact, Thomas Keenan, a professor in the environmental science department at the University of Calgary and author of the best-selling book, Technocreep, told CNBC “more is more” and suggests “having multiple copies of information to protect yourself against loss.”

What is a cloud-based storage system — and is it safe?

While there are several cloud-based storage systems — many of which are free — some may also lack the security your important documents need. Some popular cloud-based storage accounts include Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Everplans, and Dropbox

Whichever you use, password protection is necessary to make your cloud-based storage secure against hackers. 

You can also use a cloud storage service with built-in encryption, like Sync or pCloud. 

Many password managers have a zero-knowledge storage system. Put succinctly, a zero-knowledge storage system means you're the only one with an encryption key — the cloud storage service won’t even have it. That means even if hackers got access to your stored data, it would still be encrypted and inaccessible to them. 

This can be a potential disadvantage if you ever forget your password. Some encrypted systems also make it challenging to safely share encrypted files when needed (like with a family member or financial advisor).  

As popular as cloud-based storage systems are, many come with inherent flaws. These include:

  • Unencrypted storage, so if someone breaks into your email, they can access your cloud storage, too

  • Files with zero-knowledge encryption, which can be a downside if you forget your master password

  • Technology fragmentation across different platforms, from your computer to your phone

  • No built-in organization for different file categories

  • Lack of permissions to securely share files with others

  • Files in more than one digital place instead of in one designated system

Find an all-in-one solution

Most families keep their documents stored in multiple digital and physical locations, which makes it hard to quickly locate correct or current information when they need it. Ensuring your most critical details are accessible is one reason why it helps to have a well-organized cloud-based storage system.

This list summarizes some of the most important features for families who want secure, cloud-based organization.

Organization

Look for a solution that allows you to safely store and organize your family’s most essential information, such as:

IDs

  • Social Security card

  • Drivers license

  • Passport

  • Birth certificate

  • Marriage license

  • Vaccine card

Property

  • Mortgage

  • Home deed

  • Property taxes

Insurance

  • Health insurance cards

  • Medical

  • Dental

  • Vision

  • Life insurance

  • Auto insurance

  • Home insurance

  • Umbrella insurance

Taxes

  • Yearly tax returns

Estate documents

  • Family trust

  • Will and testament

  • Power of attorney

  • Medical directives

Emergency planning

  • Caregiver instructions

  • Housesitting information

  • Pet care needs

  • Babysitter instructions

  • Emergency contact list

  • Emergency equipment information

Family archives

  • Baby photos

  • Family tree

  • Wedding album

Security

Cloud storage systems can safely store your information with the proper information security procedures. 

Look for a solution that offers features such as:

  • AES 256-bit encryption

  • Two-factor authentication

  • Complex password combinations 

  • Hardware keys

  • Biometric authentication

  • Industry-leading safety compliance certifications (Such as BBB, Norton, and McAfee) 

Putting these features on your checklist will ensure that you’re doing everything possible to keep your family’s information safe.

Convenience

The best cloud storage solutions are a hybrid of convenience and security. Other tools and features that might be beneficial to your family:

  • Ease of use - Organize your family’s important information in an interface that goes beyond typical drag-and-drop folders

  • Collaboration - Securely add collaborators, from other family members and partners to trusted professionals, like your accountant or lawyer

  • Personalized reminders - Create reminders so you know when your passport will expire or specific documents need to be updated

  • Premium service - Look for a concierge service to walk you through any questions you may have.

  • Convenience - Access your information from anywhere, whether that’s on desktop or mobile

Trustworthy can help

Trustworthy is the Family Operating System®. We make it easy to securely organize and share your essential family information. Our-industry leading organizational and security features will ensure your family’s information is in good hands. Start a two-week free trial today.

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