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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.

My mother-in-law has boxes of paper documents that my husband needs to see.  If this was a single exchange, she could just take the box to the local copy shop and then ship the copies to my husband.  However, that takes time and money, and it is unlikely that this is the only box of papers that will need to be shared between my husband and his mother.  Plus those documents will eventually need to be in digital form, and my husband's brothers and financial professionals will need access to these documents.  They needed a better solution.

After many hours on the phone with his mother, my husband went online and bought her the same Epson Workforce 3540 all-in-one printer/scanner/copier that we have.  This is a relatively inexpensive device. And since we have an identical version, doing technical support remotely will be easier.

Initially, my husband had his mother scan to a USB thumb drive plugged into the Epson.  This is good because she only needed to plug in the Epson but she didn't need to get it on the network or connected to a computer.  However, it was bad because it required her to hand off the thumb drive to someone else to get it emailed to my husband adding delay back into the equation.

Finally, he figured out Epson's "Scan to cloud" feature. Most modern scanners have a feature like this. Once you register your Epson all-in-one with Epson Connect, you can configure a list of cloud targets.  The printer has access to this list, so when you scan you can select a registered cloud target.  In our case, the cloud target we created was for our SafelyFiled family account.  We entered the SafelyFiled email address associated with our account.  Then from our Epson all-in-one, we selected "SafelyFiled" as the scanning target.  When we scanned the document it was sent to the Epson Connect server which then emailed it into our family SafelyFiled account (removing it from the Epson Connect server). When my husband scans documents, he waits until the scan has finished and walks down the hall to the computer in his office.  By the time he has the SafelyFiled documents screen up, the scanned document is in the "To be filed" folder.

It took me about 15 minutes to get our scanner registered and the SafelyFiled target setup.  My husband was able to talk his brother through the setup process, and this morning trained his mother over the phone on the scan to SafelyFiled steps.

  1. Place document in scanner input
  2. Select "Scan to cloud"
  3. Select "Brothers"
  4. Press the start button
If only my husband and his mother needed to coordinate, he could have set up the Epson to just email to him.  But these documents will need to be shared with his brothers and eventually lawyers and financial professionals.  Playing "forward the email" is confusing, insecure, and you never find the right version of the document when you need it.  My husband has given his brothers access to the family account, so regardless of where they are they can securely review their mother's information.  They can even ask their mother to scan in additional documents.

While the initial step of emailing documents via the Epson cloud into SafelyFiled is not secure, it was the best trade off for my husband's scenario for the bulk of the documents.  While his mother can remember the three step scan and upload, she was not going to handle moving files to a computer and uploading them securely.  When they do need to get a very sensitive document into SafelyFiled, my husband's brother will help get it uploaded securely.

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