3 Ways to Protect Your Important Documents

111Everyone has documents that are extremely important. Of course birth certificates are of great value, but so are many financial documents, medical records and business documents. Keeping them safe from prying eyes as well as from the ravages of nature is sometimes a difficult task. The following are some suggestions you might consider if you’re serious about keeping them safe.

1. Preserving Digital Documents

Not all important papers can be saved in digital format, although digital copies may still have value. Nevertheless, there are many important documents that come in digital form and are saved in that format.  Whether your digital records are important business documents or medical records that need to be HIPAA compliant, they should always be encrypted. That will greatly enhance the security of your records.

Once you’ve encrypted your documents, save them on several servers in different locations. One thing about documents — be they paper or digital — they’re always subject to natural forces. If a fire destroys your house, your paper documents and the digital files on your computer will be lost. So keep copies in more than one location where you can easily retrieve them.

2. Safe Deposit Box

Bank safety deposit boxes offer very good security. For example, before you can view your box’s contents, the bank always verifies your signature against the copy you left when you rented the box. Once inside the vault, a person is never left unattended, and as an extra precaution, it requires 2 keys to open your box – yours and the bank’s. What’s more, the vault is made of steel and/or concrete, and secured by alarms, motion sensors, heat detectors and video cameras.

There’s no guarantee, of course, that your bank won’t suffer a natural disaster. Fortunately, the companies that build the vaults and the safe deposit boxes designed them to be resistant to fire, flood, explosions, earthquakes and severe heat.

3. Storing Documents at Your Business

There are several options you can employ in keeping your documents safe at your place of business. If you’re only concerned about keeping your employees out of them, the easiest and cheapest method is to simply put a lock on the drawer or filing cabinet where you’ve stored your documents.

If you’re also concerned about accidents and natural disasters, then you’ll want to buy a large fire-resistant box, cabinet or safe. And ensure that whatever you buy that’s supposed to be “fire resistant” has a rating from Underwriters Laboratories stating how long the contents of the box will remain protected during a fire.

If water is a concern, you should purchase a box that’s both fire resistant and water-proof. Should theft also be a concern, you should look into getting a floor or wall safe. They can be easily concealed and bolted down making them difficult to remove.

It will take a bit of planning to keep your documents safe from others, the elements and even time, but with the right planning and a bit of an investment, you can rest easy knowing your documents are as safe as you can make them.

Abigail Clark is an upcoming freelance writer. She graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products. If you would like her to do a review for you look her up on twitter @downtownabby17.
Image courtesy Jeremy Keith

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