Getting your digital preparations done over the holidays

With the holidays just around the corner, most of us will be sitting down with family, enjoying a big meal and some good conversation. Someone might bring up the recent election, the football game, or (hopefully) the new Star Wars movie. LifeSite recommends one more important topic – digital preparations.

Digital preparations mean making sure you have digital backups of your life’s most important information. The last thing you want to do when disaster strikes is have to hunt around for your files and documents.

Unfortunately, while most families understand the importance of digital preparations, it’s also something that’s easy to ignore until it’s too late. Here are some suggestions on how to get the ball rolling.

  1. What information would you want backed up?

    We’re not talking about a lot. Let’s face it, not everything needs to be saved. Most people think you need to hold onto everything from your college medieval art essay to that funny GIF your mom sent you. Instead, focus on the things that you’d really need in order to get your life back together after a natural disaster.

    • Insurance Policies
    • Medical history
    • Passport
    • Contact information for loved ones
    • Pet Information
    • Will
    • Investments & Benefits
    • Credit Cards, Bills and Loans
    • Valuables and their locations
    • Passwords
  2. Where and how is all this information stored?

    Backups, backups, backups. The answer should be threefold – digital, central, and backed up. That is, all your information should be scanned or typed in, it should all be centrally located, and everything should be backed up.

    If not, you’re asking for trouble. You might think there’s no chance you’ll ever lose your data, but here’s one statistic that should scare you. Nearly 1 in 2 people lose data every year. That means between you and your spouse, one of you will lose data this year due to being hacked, viruses, natural disasters, or simply just accidental deletion.

    The solution is a secure online vault service. It needs to have the highest level of security and always be accessible to you and anyone you choose to share your information with.

  3. Who would you share this information with?

    Family, loved ones, and trusted advisors. We’re not talking about your co-worker who wants the photo you took at the company picnic. Ask yourself, who would really need access to your will? Your medical history? Your online bank account?

    Here’s a few examples of how LifeSite users are sharing their data.

    Role Shares with…
    Head of household Spouse, adult children, financial advisor
    Caregiver for aging parents Parents, adult siblings
    Professional advisor Client, client spouse, client children

    Don’t forget to let your family and advisors know where to find your information! Unless you’ve shared and more importantly given access to the location, all your preparation will have been for nothing.

  4. How would you share your sensitive information?

    Security is important (duh). You’d be surprised, but here’s why the answer should never be “I send it via email.” Being unable to automatically encrypt attachments, its allure and vulnerability to hackers, and the very unlikely chance that the recipient practices good online security makes sending sensitive information over email a scary game of chance.

    At the end of the day, it’s just not worth taking chances with your online security.

    Instead, you want a system that uses the best possible encryption every time you send, receive or store your information, all within an intuitive interface. Remember, thinking “it won’t happen to me” is the worst kind of protection!

  5. Would you like to eventually share your information with your children or the following generation?

    Leave a life legacy. Digital preparations are more than just your “in case of emergency” information. They should also be important memories and wishes you’d like to pass along to future generations.

    Imagine the comfort of leaving behind a video for each of your loved ones, to be shared after you’re gone. Or relieving the burden of your funeral by noting the arrangements you’ve made. Or simply passing along all the family recipes for your children and their families.

We hope we’ve given you some ideas on how to approach this conversation with your family. Regardless, the most important thing is to begin the conversation. From all of us here at LifeSite, we wish you a happy and joyful holidays!

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