Technology offers us a lot of opportunities to store and access data in a variety of ways. Cloud-based storage is especially attractive because it allows you to access your data and important information no matter where you are. But the problem with these online cloud-based storage solutions is that your data is at at risk when the services shut down.
From the financial world, an example of this is the shutdown of Manilla as of July 1, 2014. Cloud-based services like Manilla are designed to help you manage your finances.
In the case of Manilla, you could also have documents stored using the service, and keep track of various financial accounts.
For those using Manilla the shutdown was devastating, since it meant figuring out how to take care of all that data.
In Manilla’s case, provisions have been made to allow you to access your data and back it up. While Manilla has been allowing you to link accounts, or to store new documents, the service is allowing you to back up your information. You can access the information in your account and download your important documents through September 30, 2014, at which point everything in Manilla’s database will be destroyed.
However, not all cloud-based services are so generous. While many of the larger cloud-based services offer similar procedures, the reality is that there is always the chance that the service will just disappear — taking your documents with them.
When you have cloud-based assets, it’s important to realize that the service storing them may not have an obligation to give you time to recover the information. That means you need to be careful with your most important assets.
Backing Up Your Important Digital Assets
It’s vital that you back up your important digital assets, no matter the cloud-based service involved. Whether it’s receipts for purchases of digital music and movies, or whether it’s financial information that you like to keep organized, the most important thing you can do is to back up your cloud-based assets.
One of the reasons I prefer desktop personal finance software is that I can keep track of my own information, and I don’t have to worry about losing it all if a cloud-based service shuts down. However, I do like some cloud-based services like Dropbox and iTunes when it comes to document transfer, storage, and retrieval, as well as for accessing my music anywhere. The key is to back things up in multiple places and to make sure you have good records.
You can back up important documents stored in the cloud to an external drive, or to your computer, in an encrypted file. Receipts for my iTunes purchases are sent to my email, where I can store them in a special folder, to be used as necessary.
A similar system is in place for my Kindle purchases. Of course, email is another issue, and I regularly save copies of these receipts to my own computer, which is backed up regularly to an external hard drive. That way, if something happens, I still have proof of purchase, and I still have access to important documents.
No matter where you keep your digital assets — including your investments — it’s important to have backups. As with all things, it’s all about redundancy, especially when you let someone else have control of access to your documents.