How to Securely Manage Your Legal Documents
By Katherine Crowell
June 1, 2021
Let's face it. All individuals and families have a document storage need. From backups of your passports and IDs to safeguarding deeds, stock certificates and insurance policy information, there's a lot to keep track of -- yet most of us don't really think about our documents until we need one and can't locate it.
Beyond that, misplacing an important document can be a security concern. If a document found its way into the hands of rogue actors or those that may wish you harm — you’ve got a problem. Don’t forget that it’s a hassle to replace the document. There are numerous hoops you'll have to jump through to replace the document and ensure that everything's in order
That's where legal document management software comes into play. Let's take a look at why.
Most people choose to keep their documents locally in some kind of filing cabinet or safe. No one else has access to the documents — the reasoning goes — so they're secure. But if your documents are only in one place, you're opening yourself up to considerable risk. After all, a flood, fire or other natural disaster can ruin all those carefully curated and stored documents in just a few minutes. This could mean days or weeks of tracking everything down and ordering replacements.
Aside from the time that it'll take, it will also likely cost you a pretty penny for each lost document, and that's if you can even manage to remember them all. Years later, you could go to reach for that one crucial document and not have a backup copy at all.
With legal document management software, you'll have your own document management system that is backed up in the cloud so you won't ever have to worry about losing a document. You can still keep that filing cabinet or safe on hand, but you can rest assured that your documents are always accessible from home or when you're on the go.
Be Responsible With Internet Backups
Some people may elect to simply email their files to themselves or store them with a third-party storage solution such as Dropbox or another provider.However, email accounts get hacked all the time, and third-party file hosting solutions are more about sharing files publicly than keeping them private, which is exactly the opposite of what you're looking for.
With an online legal document management software system, you’ll get the benefit of off-site backups in an interface that's explicitly designed for the storage and management of your documents. Instead of a file-based system where each document is treated just like the next, your product experience will be guided and specific to the needs of legal document management. This means more responsible stewardship of your paper-based life.
The Importance of Security
While just about anything can work as a document storage system, security should be your top priority. Rather than a document sharing platform, you need a secure system that helps you scan and upload your important documents. Furthermore, if you want to delete a document, you don't want a copy to persist on a server somewhere, opening you up to identity theft or fraud.
The best document management software is protected with the same kind of encryption that you'd expect from your bank —256-bit encryption—so that you don't have to worry about the wrong people gaining access. Likewise, you'll also want easy access to your account and documents, because otherwise what's the point. A box buried in the backyard could be ultra-secure, but it doesn't make managing your documents any easier, so the security level you opt for has to be balanced with ease of use.
The Value of Redundancy
The reason that local document storage doesn't work is that a document is never safe until it exists in two places. If a document only exists in one place, it can be destroyed or lost, but redundancy can protect you from that. Physical documents should be scanned and stored elsewhere so that you have a backup that isn't as exposed as the original, and that means an offsite backup.
With legal document management software, you'll get the redundancy and backups that you need to truly secure your important documents. That makes cloud-based systems better than other types because they've often built redundancy of their data right into the product itself, meaning that data loss can be easily remedied by restoring a secure backup.
What Is the Best Document Management Software?
Here at Trustworthy, we believe we’ve created the world's best legal document management software platform. We call it the Family Operating System®. Rather than searching endlessly for important documents in file cabinets or random folders on your computer or online, Trustworthy allows you to curate, manage and securely share your important information. Download our app or register for an account to get started.