It used to mean a deadbolt, exercising some street smarts when out and about at night, or an alarm system in your home. Now, there is an all encompassing world of CYBER security. SO MUCH of our personal data is online. What’s the best way to manage it? How do you control it so things don’t get into the wrong hands? And, specifically related to the work that I do: how do you keep your information as secure as you can while ALSO making sure that others can access it if/when they need to?
First: it matters what vendors you use to store your information. You need to look at the company itself. Do they give an option for two-factor authentication? (Where you receive a text message with a code to access your account, so you not only need to have access to the account password, but also the cell phone number associated with the account.) Do they use encryption? (Where information is encrypted in every stage of server transfer.) Can their employees access your information? (Information should be encrypted, with employees NOT being able to see anything in your account.
The great news: the software I use that gives you, the client, options of how much or little you’d like to keep online, covers all of these bases. Of course, there is never a foolproof method, so certain online protocols should become standard operating procedures for you and your family. (E.g. having a complex password, perhaps via a Password Manager, and changing that password after a certain amount of time.)
Also, so much comes down to personal comfort level. Comfort in what you DO put online, what information people can easily find, and what might take more effort. For example: clients using the software I license have the option to allow me to see into specific areas that they would like my input, or my help. Or, they can keep me completely out of the loop, and just connect with me if/when they have an issue. The great news? Either option TOTALLY WORKS. I work at whatever your comfort level is. What I think is most important is to have all the information to live somewhere—which might look like someone using information you have online to find the hard copies you have either in your home, or with your trusted advisors. Important thing? They know where to look, and aren’t guessing.
Another benefit of the software that I use is that you do not HAVE to upload ALL of the information (or even, any of it). For example, you can just list the banks you have, and the types of accounts that live there—and not include any account numbers. The same goes for retirement and investment accounts. You might choose to include your utility information, account numbers, if there is an auto pay feature, and where that pays out. Or, your online account might be a literal roadmap, so that a trusted friend or advisor could easily find the information they need in your home in case they needed it. (Look back at my last post on Emergency Preparedness for more info and why I think fire safes are great.)
What do you do to protect your information online? Share your comments below!