Our hearts go out to our friends and family who were impacted by the devastating Northern California fires weeks ago. We’ve heard from many survivors in recent weeks about how painful it is to have family memories destroyed (and the perspective it brings into focus). In the weeks to come, we expect to hear much more about the hassles of piecing one’s life back together when little or nothing remains.
Emergency response personnel emphasize how critical preparation is for minimizing the impact of an unforeseen disaster. Since Keepsafe’s expertise is securely storing people’s private photos and documents; and in light of increasingly devastating seasons of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires, we created these tips for protecting your precious documents and family keepsakes.
- Archive and backup your pictures and documents
When you scan documents and digitize photos and videos, you create a digital archive that you can rely on in the event that hard copies are damaged or ruined. Backing up your archive to a cloud service allows you to access photos and documents with a personal account even if your device is stolen, lost or damaged.
Make sure that you update your account details if they change and verify your email address with the service you use so that you can always get into your account.
2. Make a digital archive on your phone
- Prioritize scheduling time to get your affairs in order. Your mobile device is a pocket-sized computer that can organize and archive your life. Put it to work!
- Digitize meaningful photos, videos and documents you don’t want to lose (wedding pictures, baby pictures, letters, children’s artwork special events and family milestones, etc…)
- Save photos of valuables, keepsakes and important documents (passports, SSN cards, licenses, personal and pet medical records, etc.)
- Keep digital copies of important receipts and insurance policies (in email or take pictures of written documentation).
- Back up photos and important documents to the cloud in case you lose your device.
- Confirm you have enough cloud storage space to protect all your essential items so you can rest easy knowing that everything is covered and accessible.
3. Keep photos and documents private on your phone
If you are keeping personal photos and documents on your phone, your first step protecting your privacy should be using a password, fingerprint, or touch ID to lock your phone.
Next, consider using a photo vault app on your phone (like Keepsafe on iOS and Android) for an added layer security to keep sensitive photos, documents and videos safe. Your phone (and photo vault app) should encrypt data on your device so that if your your device is lost or stolen, it can’t be retrieved by anyone other than you.
To confirm that your devices are encrypted:
- On iOS: go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode, scroll to the bottom of the screen and make sure “Data protection is enabled”
- On Android: Open Settings > select Security > Encrypt phone
4. Verify that cloud backups are secure and your privacy is protected
Thanks to the thoughtful survivors who inspired this post and generously shared what they’ve learned from living through the unthinkable.