Friday, August 22, 2014

Disaster Preparedness Planning

Does your disaster preparedness plan include plans for vital family, medical and business records?  If not, you're missing a critical aspect of disaster preparedness.


We are a member of FEMA.gov's Disaster Preparedness Community.  We have found some great information in that community that helps the public be better prepared in the event of a disaster.

But one aspect of disaster preparedness planning that we constantly see missed is a plan for vital records.  Granted, if you have to evacuate your home or business quickly, grabbing records and files is not anywhere near the top of the priority list.  However, if your home or office is the place you're storing your records, and it gets destroyed, you'll regret not having a better plan for them. It's difficult and expensive to replace necessary legal, family and business records.

Tweet: If your #disasterpreparedness plans don't include a plan for vital records, it should! http://ctt.ec/CEbfR+


The Best Plan is One You Can Use Everyday As Well As In Emergencies 

 

The best way to ensure that you have a plan for your vital records in the event of a disaster, is to have a system in place that works for everyday.  In this way, you won't even have to think of what to grab at the last minute if something happens.

We provide free checklists to help you identify some of the personal records you need to have a plan for.  These checklists are invaluable as they not only help you think of records you need to keep safe and readily available but also serve as a record itself when you fill them out. In addition, our Document Retention Checklist includes recommendations on who you may want to share certain records with.   So first step, go and download the checklists to help you get started.

Secondly, once you've gathered the records together, ensure you put them in a secure, yet easily accessible place so you can grab them quickly if you have to evacuate your home or office. We do partner with Life-In-Case as they offer a good portable solution for paper records on a personal scale. Depending on the amount of records you have, it may not be possible to have a small portable solution. 

If you use SafelyFiled, the tool provides a way for you to not only store the digital copy of your records, but also provides a way for you to record the location of the original record or physical asset (like gold for example).  For the records that you don't need originals of, you can shred the paper after the digital copy has been uploaded. You can always download and print another copy if needed.   For records you need to keep originals of, upload a digital copy of them in your account and put the originals in a secure place, safe from a possible disaster, yet accessible if you need to take them with you. Or put originals in a safe deposit box or other secure offsite location.

Even if you don't use SafelyFiled for your records, it's a great idea to use some sort of secure cloud storage for records so that you have a copy of them accessible from anywhere. But be very sure the storage system you use is secure and encrypts your information for safe-guarding. 

What Records Should You Have A Plan For?

 

Here are some examples:
  • Birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees
  • Social Security cards of household members
  • Driver's license and other wallet cards
  • Will and/or trust documents; powers of attorney
  • Recent income tax return
  • Passports and/or other identity documents
  • Military discharge papers
  • A list of your prescriptions: name of medication, dosage, pharmacy (SafelyMD, which comes with SafelyFiled, provides a tool for this information as well).
Other important papers include:
  • Contacts for family members, employer, financial advisors, attorney, accountant, and banker
  • Insurance policy information
  • Bank, credit union, and credit card account list
  • Summary of personal, financial, property, and other vital information
Other items to consider including:
  • Safe deposit box keys and/or safe combination
  • Computer user names and passwords (we have a checklist that you can use for this and store in SafelyFiled---encrypted)
You may not be at the location where these records are kept when disaster strikes, so keep that in mind when making disaster preparedness plans for your records.


SafelyMD for Your Spouse

It's the middle of the night and something is wrong with your husband.  You call 911.   The paramedics arrive in minutes. They have important questions you need to answer but all you want to do is hold your husband's hand and tell him (and yourself) not to be so afraid.

The paramedics want to know about any medical conditions, medications, allergies, resuscitation orders and recent surgeries.  So you let go of his hand and run to the medicine chest.  You give the bottles to a paramedic.  And you try to remember what your husband told you about his last trip to the doctor.

You are in a nightmare, except it's real.  And his life could depend on how accurately you answer the questions.

How SafelyMD works

 

If you take five minutes now to open a SafelyMD account and fill out the online form, you'll be able to provide the answers to those questions easily, when you aren't in the middle of a crisis.  You can record information about medications, surgeries, medical conditions and allergies.  You can put in as much or as little information as you want.  You can upload documents too, like healthcare powers of attorney, do not resuscitate orders or medical insurance card information.

You can see how SafelyMD works in our 5-minute video here.



When the paramedics arrive, they have two easy ways to get the information.  You could hand them the form you completed earlier and printed and put on the refrigerator door.  Or, you could hand them the SafelyMD card with the QR code on it.  Using a scanner on their smartphones or tablets, the paramedics scan the QR code and can quickly view the SafelyMD information.  They'll see the form you already completed and if you put the healthcare power of attorney in the public folders, they'll have a copy of that too.

SafelyMD outside the home 

That little card with the QR code is the key to important medical information that emergency medical personnel use to help decide what particular treatment option to use.  If your husband has one in his wallet, then the information will be with him, along with a list of who to call in the event of a medical emergency.  And you can easily update the information without having to print a new card.

Please, take advantage of this


We are offering SafelyMD as a free service until Sep 2014.  If you sign up for an account before Sep, you will keep SafelyMD for free for as long as you remain a member.  After Sep 2014, it will still be a great value at $9.95 a year per person.  If you have multiple family members that you'd like cards for, sign up for SafelyFiled or upgrade from a single SafelyMD account to a SafelyFiled membership.  You get unlimited SafelyMD cards in our premium service.

Don't wait, sign up now

 




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Helping Technophobic Mom With Her Finances From Across The Country

My husband is working with his mother to get her financial affairs in order.  She lives several states away and is very technophobic.  He is having a good time with it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Another Massive Security Breach

It's in the headlines again!  Another massive security breach where possibly more than a billion internet credentials were stolen.  Read the entire article here


The particulars of this latest breach have not yet been made public.  The initial reports are that the majority of the information stolen is related to email accounts for possible use to send spam and possible malware.  But it could be much more sinister.

 

What should you do?

 

The first thing you should do is change the passwords on your online accounts.  This is a good practice to do every 6 months or so anyway. Yes, it's a pain.  But much less painful than having your identify or assets stolen. 

 

DO NOT use the same password on all accounts!  That cannot be overstated.


There are password management tools such as LastPass.com that can definitely make the management of your passwords easier.  There is a learning curve on that tool, like most tools, but it's pretty intuitive and once you've learned it, you'll love the ease of changing passwords often yet not having to remember all of those different passwords.  It's well worth the premium price of $12 a year. 

Secondly, for all the online accounts you have that offer a two-factor authentication, which is the ability to require an access code in addition to a login and password, turn it on!  Most banks and other financial institutions, along with companies like Google, Facebook and even SafelyFiled, offer this extra level of security.  In our case, you can turn this on to be "always" required, meaning every time you log into your account you will also need an access code, or "only from public computer" which means if you log in from a computer or smart phone different than one you've identified as a private one, you will then need the access code.

The New York Times just released a good article regarding what you need to know about keeping your data out of the hands of the hacker. > Read more.....
Tweet: Passwords alone aren't enough to keep your info secure. Read more:  http://ctt.ec/yg6PW+
Tweet this to inform your followers!

"Passwords alone aren't enough to keep your info secure."

 

What is SafelyFiled doing?

 

We are doing the same thing you should be doing.  We are reviewing our online vulnerabilities.  Our main infrastructure does not allow access with only a password.  We are in the process of reviewing the subsidiary services that we rely on and updating passwords and enabling two-factor authentication where available and not yet enabled.

Share this blog with your loved ones and use social media to get this information out.   Taking proactive measures now can save a lot of heartache later.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Medical Care Alert - Are You Prepared?


We work with some wonderful companies who share a passion for helping others like we do.  One such company is Medical Care Alert.  They have written the following blog for us. 

 

 Article  provided  by  MedicalCareAlert.com 


Who is your first call after a fall?
There are many reasons for falling down, whether it’s clutter in the walkway, a slippery floor in the bathroom, or a bad drug interaction.   Most falls are preventable, but that doesn’t eliminate the need to know what to do when you do fall.    When a fall happens, are you prepared? Here are some things to do when you’ve been injured in a fall.

1.    Assess the  damage


Before you press the button on your medical alert bracelet, give yourself a quick once-­‐over.  Is there anything actively hurting?  Do you see blood? Did you hit yourself on anything? Remember that things can be replaced, but you can’t.

2.  If you’re not hurt, try to get up


Try getting up.   There might be a chair or something which you can balance yourself on, or maybe you’re in the tub and can use the side of the tub or a grab bar to raise yourself.    Getting into a chair will let you better assess the situation.

3.  If you’re not able to get up, wait a few minutes


Medical alert systems are excellent in any emergency.   You might be a little stunned from falling in the first place, so give it a few minutes.  Take deep breaths and try to think calmly in the situation.

4.  If you’re hurt, activate your medical alert bracelet immediately


If you find that you’re significantly hurt, don’t hesitate on pressing the button for the medical alert systems.   That’s what they’re there for, and someone will be able to help you in the situation.  They’ll be able to send help to you.   They have an ‘emergency’ list of information on file for you.

5.  If EMTs are called, wait patiently

Stay where you are and don’t try to move.   The EMTs are trained in emergency situations and they will be able to safely and effectively move you.  It might seem like a little thing to you, but wait until the trained professionals get there to assess the situation.   Once you’ve activated your medical alert bracelet, you’re in good hands.

SafelyFiled's SafelyMD Card
If you are taken to the hospital, the EMTs and all of the personnel are going to need more information than what the people who run the medical alert systems have.   They will need to know more about your advance directives and your medical history.   Instead of keeping a huge file with you that the emergency personnel have to sort through, safelyfiled.com offers an easy way to make that information instantly available when needed via the SafelyMD emergency data card.

When the paramedics come to pick you up and rescue you, you can present the emergency data card to them with a code they can scan.  That code will take them to the medical form that you've filled out in your SafelyMD or SafelyFiled  (multiple cards for family) account where they will be able to get more detailed information than the medical alert systems people will be able to give.  In other words, the addition of SafelyFiled supercharges your medical alert bracelet.




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

SafelyFiled Uses You May Not Have Thought Of - Part 1

The main purpose of SafelyFiled is for families to be able to store, organize and share very sensitive family documents and records.  For that reason, we designed the service to be extremely secure.

 

But it has so many other uses and is so affordable, that we thought we'd put together a list of other things we've heard our members do with it and some things we personally use it for.  This is just the first part as there are so many uses we didn't want to overwhelm you in one blog.

Even if you don't use SafelyFiled, we hope this list of things helps you to organize some paperwork you may not have thought of.

Automobile maintenance & tire replacement records 

 

For those of us who keep the maintenance records and purchase receipts for our vehicles in the glove box, that paperwork can become damaged and require a lot of sorting through to find exactly what we need.  You can use your smart phone to photograph those documents and use our App to upload them into your account for quick access anytime. For these types of records, you can even email them into your SafelyFiled account as the info contained on these records isn't sensitive (usually). Now you can destroy the papers and have room to put gloves in the glove compartment! If you need paper copies when you sell or trade the car, just print them off for the new owner.

Annual farm equipment reminders 

 

We have a user who owns a farm.  She has equipment that needs annual maintenance and safety checks.  She uploads her documentation from the previous year's service and adds a reminder to them for next year so she doesn't have to worry about missing a required inspection.

Special order items

 

Have you ever needed to order some special equipment or replacement parts?  I shop online often to order specialty pool replacement items like my pool light bulb.  I don't need to replace it often, maybe every 5 years or so, so when I need to reorder, it's very handy to have the old order form so I have the correct part number and record of where I ordered it from. 


Yes, we realize you can save a lot of this information in other like services and even on your computer because they aren't necessarily sensitive in nature.  But why have your information in different places? SafelyFiled gives you enough storage space to store everything in one place and it is very affordable.  


Check out this blog to help organize things you may not think of  Tweet: Check out this blog to help organize things you may not think of http://ctt.ec/Ymq4I+



 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Helpful Tips - A La Carte

We aren't just writers of blogs, we are also readers of blogs. As we come across good information that we think is share-worthy, we share.  This blog is just that.  A list of links to some other helpful and worthwhile blogs that we thought our readers could benefit from.


We certainly aren't the only bloggers out there with great information regarding securing your data. There are many tools and practices that will help you ensure your data is kept safe in cyber space.  In reality, your data's security is really up to you.  Yes, the companies you do business with have a responsibility, but they can only do so much. You as the user of technology have a big role to play in keeping your data secure.

How do you know the website you're dealing with is safe? 

 

That is the first step.  Before you do business with an online service or business, you'll want to ensure they have a good website reputation.  First, click this link and type in the web address of the business you want to use to see what their online reputation is:  Webutations Info

Tip:  You can download a browser add-on from this site that you can use to check the reputation of websites automatically.                                           


Good password practices are THE most important thing you can do to help keep your information secure.
Tweet: Password Practices are THE most important thing you can do to help keep your information secure.


Good Password Practices are Key!


Many instructive password guides only cover the basics to cater to non-technical users. This results in moderately strong passwords, which is good for someone who was about to use “password123” as their password.  But read this for more information on great passwords Read more >


If you're anything like me, you get very frustrated that you need to have so many different passwords at various online sites to keep your information secure. This blog is one we wrote last year that many found helpful.   Read more >


Tip:  Did you know that you should use short phrases as passwords?  If you include the name of the website in that phrase it will help you keep them straight. For example, if you use the online shopping site for Walmart.  You can make your password MyWalmart0414!.  If you use a similar phrase (not exact) on every website, using a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers and/or symbols, that makes your passwords very strong AND easier to remember. If you add the month and year as in this example, you'll know the last time you changed that password :-)

Tweet: Did you know that you can use short phrases as passwords? Easier to remember too.Did you know that you should use short phrases as passwords? Easier to remember too.

There are some myths out there regarding safe-keeping of data.  Here is one on that topic:

     
Traditionally, we think the closer we hold something, the more secure it is. If we invest in precious metals, or own treasured items of high monetary value, chances are we place it in a safe in the bedroom or the office. If we carry cash, we keep it safely in a wallet on our person: the closer, the better. Too often, this conventional wisdom carries over to our thinking about IT. We assume if we have data stored on in-house servers, for example, then it will be more secure.  Read more >


What Happens to Your Online Presence When You Die? 

 

Depending on the social media site, it could live on forever.  This is a very important topic as more than 300,000 Facebook users alone die every month!  Read More >
   
Tip:  You can download our free Managing Your Digital Assets checklist and get started on putting together your plan to ensure your accounts are all closed out when the time comes.



Secure Those Mobile Devices!

 

A recent study revealed that while 67 percent of smartphone users and 64 percent of tablet users protect their mobile devices using a password or passcode, nearly half of the smartphone users and 56 percent of tablet users actually shared their device passcode with at least one other person, placing the security of their device and the data on the device at risk!  Read More > 


We hope you found these different articles and tips helpful.  If you did, please pass this blog on.


Tweet: I learned something new on this blog. Check it out!  I learned something new on this blog. Check it out!