A situation at my job today made me realize just how electronic-dependent my financial information is. Our intranet system was down due to a router problem that won’t be fixed for a few days, debilitating and limiting many daily wireless functions we rely on to do business. An entire service department is down because they can’t use their computers.
This will not only affect our productivity and sales, but ultimately our profit. And with no backup plan, this is quite a hard blow to our bottom line.
While situations like this cannot be anticipated, and the amazing world of digital and wireless technology normally functions with no major complications, there are times our dependence on electronic devices in every aspect of our daily lives becomes all too clear. Servers crash, wireless signals fail, computers freeze up and lose our information, and virtual data gets lost in cyberspace.
Making good use of technology to run a business, or handle your personal finances isn’t a bad thing. The problem arises when we don’t have a backup plan. Since it’s difficult to think outside the realm of available technology, a backup plan for your finances can be hard to imagine or formulate.
1. Use Multiple Devices
A great place to start, is with a backup plans for storing and retrieving financial data using other electronic devices. So, when you get your financial statements, update your budget, or set up a new online savings account, it’s wise to backup any vital information such as account numbers, balances, loan terms, and passwords on a separate device. You don’t want everything on a single device that’s subject to the whims of technology.
A backup device could be your home computer, tablet, or a portable hard drive or jump drive. Storing your information on a separate drive is always a good idea in case something happens to your computer or files. Depending on the importance of the files, storing them on one or two other devices is likely not being excessive.
2. Save Your Info Online
But even electronic devices can fail you, because they contain components that break, are susceptible to viruses, or may otherwise become corrupted. This is why it’s also a good idea to backup financial information on the Internet.
Of course, you don’t want to save your sensitive information on your blog site or any place without high security. Fortunately, there are many options for online storage as the need becomes more apparent.
- Dropbox offers a limited amount of free storage, with fee-based upgrades if you need more space.
- Google Docs also allows you to store documents, images and videos online.
- Online storage systems like Carbonite or IDrive offer a higher level of protection for important information.
The design of these storage mediums makes it easy to share information across multiple devices and email accounts, in the event that you can’t access one single account. Not only is your information safe; it’s easily retrievable simply by logging into the site from any browser.
Of course, you’ll want to ensure the security of the browser. Using the public library to view your financial files on Dropbox or Google Docs is not a smart idea. If you’re trying to decide which backup service is the best for your needs, do a quick search online to compare the best online storage services.
3. Safely Store Paper Copies
Backing up technology with technology is great, but you still need to have tangible copies stored elsewhere, in the event that one or more of these options will fail.
Remember how people used to store information before the age of technology? They used hard (paper) copies. Make copies of important financial information and store it in a safe place in your home (or even in two locations). Buy a firebox or safebox to protect your files from snooping eyes, fires, floods and other natural disasters. Then regularly weed out and shred files you no longer need to keep secure.
Do you still keep a physical checkbook register? With most banks offering online statements and instant account access, many people have discarded this “stone age” means of keeping track of account balances. Keeping a register is one of the best ways to avoid the embarrassment and frustration of not knowing your balances if the bank’s site goes down.
Employing as many different means of financial data backup as possible is the best way to ensure your data isn’t lost, and that you are always able to access your information. If you haven’t utilized one or more of these methods, now is a good time to start!
How do you protect your information in this age of technology? What’s one thing you do to create a solid backup plan?