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Friday, December 30, 2016

Our Patent

In late 2016 the United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded SafelyFiled patent # 9,497,173 with the very catchy title of "System for the Unified Organization, Secure Storage and Secure Retrieval of Digital and Paper Documents."

We filed the patent application in July 2012.  It took over 4 years for it to issue.  But we think it was worth the wait.

What Do We Do?

Not just a box, but a whole vault
For those of you not familiar with SafelyFiled, it is a very secure, cloud-based document organization, sharing, storage and retrieval system designed to function not just as a virtual safe deposit box, but as an entire safe deposit vault.  You can put documents into one or more boxes and give keys to people you want.  You have complete control to move documents, give keys to the boxes, or take away keys.  Not only that, you can easily organize and find any document, and if the documents are in paper form (like a car title) you can set a reminder as to where the original is.

We are Unique

There are 4 functions that combined make SafelyFiled unique and, in our opinion, very useful and easy to use for a small business or a family.

First, we have the most sophisticated sharing functions in the industry.  You can share all your documents, share just one document, share all the documents in a folder (you create your own folders) or share all the documents in a folder, but cut out those you don't want to share.  And, if someone doesn't have access to a document, he or she can't even see that it's there.  To go back to the safe deposit vault analogy, if you gave your spouse access to all your files, he or she would walk into a vault with thousands of boxes in it.  But if you gave your brother access only to your mother's healthcare power of attorney, he would walk into a vault with only one box in it.

Second, your can set reminders.  Say you buy a hot water heater with a 6 year warranty.  You can scan in (or take a picture of and upload) the receipt and the warranty and set a text and/or an email reminder for 5 years and 10 months from now to check the heater.  And in 5 years and 10 months, your phone will buzz that morning or you'll get an mail saying, "Check that water heater.  The warranty is about to expire!"  Even better, you won't have to search for both the receipt and written warranty.  You'll have a copy right in your SafelyFiled account or a note as to where you stashed that paper warranty almost 6 years ago.

Third, the view in our user interface was designed to present all the information you need about a document on one page.  So, if you want to know on what day you uploaded something, or who else can see it, no need to click and change screens.  The info is right there, on the right side of the screen.  If you recorded where you filed the paper original or if you made some notes about the document, no need to search for the location or the notes; they will be on the screen, on the right side, along with any reminders you set or want to set.

Fourth, you can see all the activity on your account, down to the document level.  A couple of years ago my accountant called me to tell me that he had finished my taxes.  We had shared all my financial information securely through SafelyFiled.  When I went into the tax folder in my SafelyFiled account I noticed that he did not open up the spreadsheet that had my business deductions.  He freaked out slightly when I told him how I knew so quickly that he missed something, but in the end he was glad that I caught the oversight.  

No IT Experience Required

Another nice thing about SafelyFiled is that you don't need an IT expert to set it up and maintain it.  We have small business clients who use it for important legal and tax documents that they don't want their IT guy to have access to.  Some families use it for medical records, recipes or home videos.  And for those of you in the "sandwiched generation," coordinating care for an elderly parent with siblings around the world is a lot easier with SafelyFiled.

Please check us out.  If you would like a live demonstration, just click the button on the top right of this blog or send us an email and we'll schedule one.

Photo:  Copyright: ismagilov / 123RF Stock Photo

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Want To Revoke My "Do Not Resuscitate" Directive

This past week, I learned about the other side of "Do Not Resuscitate" directives.

The Background

An elderly relative of mine is 81 years old and not in good health.  Her bad health seems unfair because although she smoked when she was younger, she has always watched what she ate, was a very active and talented athlete and had (and still has) a positive outlook on life.  She's had some close encounters with death in the past few years, but 2016 has been particularly tough.  The main artery to her digestive system was blocked and when she ate, she often had very severe pains in her abdomen.  She had to be hospitalized.

Even with all the medication at the hospital, things got bad enough that she decided she could not live with the pain and agreed to angioplasty in her superior mesenteric artery.  Full anesthesia was not an option given her other medical conditions, so she opted for a local and twilight. Even with that precaution, she was aware that she might not survive the surgery.  But she wasn't ready to give up just yet.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Two Ways Tax Scammers Might Target You

It’s that time of year — tax time. It’s also a great time to get up to speed on tax-related scams. Here are two ways tax scammers might target you and what you can do about it:

The following information is provided by the IRS.gov website in an effort to get the word out regarding tax identity theft which is drastically increasing every year. 

Tax identity theft

This kind of identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund. Tax identity theft also happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job. You find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS saying:

·      more than one tax return was filed in your name, or
·      IRS records show wages from an employer you don’t know

If you get a letter like this, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. You can find more about tax identity theft at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and irs.gov/identitytheft.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Worst Passwords for 2015

SplashData just released its annual list of the most popular passwords of  2015. They took a look at the more than 2 million passwords that were leaked last year and analyzed the most commonly leaked passwords and those that were least secure. If you're curious to see if your password(s) made the list check out the list here: worst passwords for 2015.  

It appears that folks still are not using good passwords.  The most common
are still "123456" and "password". (Anyone want to admit they are in this group?) The report shows how common choices for passwords remain consistently risky. And if that were not bad enough, there is a high number of repeat userid and passwords for multiple sites.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Still Have A Dream

Monday January 18th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Wikipedia describes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. 

We celebrate this day in memory of his efforts for freedom and equal rights for all people. In his now famous speech "I have a dream"  Dr. King spoke of Abraham Lincoln, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence.  He follows that with a list of his dreams, dreams for equality, brotherhood and freedom.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cyberterrorism - You Are A Soft Target

Last month, it was reported that an Iranian hactavist group, SOBH Cyber Jihad, accessed the controls of a dam in upstate New York in 2013.

This cyber attack was supposedly in response to the "Stuxnet" virus used by the US and the Israelis to destroy the Iranian centrifuges that enrich uranium.  This Cyber Jihad attack was a shot across the bow, announcing that anyone, not just US or Israeli computer experts, can play this game.

This Is Serious

Cyber warfare is real and is being waged every day.  It's serious.  And it's not just government facilities that are being attacked.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Call of Digital Duty: Key Questions and Actions for Securing Your Own Files

Have you ever wondered about the value of a single document or digital asset to your work, your livelihood or even life? Maybe the file contains a contract or evidence to support a claim, a deed or last will and testament, an insurance policy, years of research, or a business plan. Perhaps interview notes from anonymous sources for an investigative article. Is the file worth protecting? Is it worth keeping confidential?

Stop Taking Security for Granted Because of Tech Convenience 
The marvels of technology make nearly every digital action we take more convenient. Yet, when it comes to security, “easier” can often mean lazier and an open door for attacks that could threaten your business. The same level of effort that went into creating your document or digital asset should also apply to how files are protected when they are stored, accessed and shared. And it’s not only a technical job. Time spent training users, changing behavior or bad habits, managing the process and monitoring compliance can fall on your shoulders.

A few years ago, TechRepublic ran a great article called “Chasing the elusive approval for an IT-security budget.” The piece talked about inherent and residual risks and how IT managers can make a business case to help non-tech management understand associated costs. The article also shed light on: “When is the cost of reducing risk more than the cost of having the risk occur?”

That reminds us about how digital risks, consequences and occurrences apply not only to enterprise IT but also more granularly to files and to every file creator or collaborator. While tech security is vast and complex, the answer regarding costs for reducing risk at the file level should never exceed costs of having the risk occur. Part of the solution is finding a security-equipped application to protect your files. And some of those costs equate to seeing how that application can complement work flow and get used regularly.