Last week, I wrote about protecting your passwords and other sensitive financial data, like account numbers. Today I want to go a step further and talk about protecting electronic documents – tax returns, Quicken files, bank or brokerage statements, etc. – that you may be storing on your computer.
I’ve been gradually transitioning over to a paperless financial system. A big part of this transition has involved scanning in various financial documents for future reference. This has worked well, and has greatly reduced the stacks of paper that used to accumulate around the house.
But what about securing and backing up the resulting files? What would if my hard drive crashed? Or worse, if someone stole my computer? Clearly, I need to take additional steps to protect my data.
As far as backups go, I’m currently using an online backup service known as Backblaze. That’s been great for creating a comprehensive backup of everything on my hard drive, and serves as a good baseline of protection – but it doesn’t secure my data locally.
Note: While Evernote seems like it would be an ideal solution for storing and accessing your data, they don’t offer server-side encryption of your file attachments. There’s also not an option for encrypting your local copies once you put them in Evernote.
Securing your files
For security, I’ve recently discovered TrueCrypt, which allows you to create a password-protected, “virtual encrypted disk” where you can stash stuff that you don’t want anyone to access.
And just to round things out…
Try storing your TrueCrypt archive in your DropBox. In case you missed it the last time I mentioned it, DropBox is an online file storage and synchronization service that allows you to share an entire folder (and its contents) across multiple computers, your smartphone, etc.
By placing your TrueCrypt archive in your DropBox folder, you’re making it accessible from any computer you’ve hooked up to your account while still keeping your data secure. So, for example, my wife can immediately access an files that I put in there from her computer. Very slick.
Oh, and a quick tip… If your archives take too long to synchronize, try splitting them up into multiple, smaller archives. For example, one for taxes, one for financial statements, and so on. By doing this, there will be less data to transfer when you make a change.