Technology has become a vital part of our lives in the past couple of decades. And its importance is only going to continue to grow as time progresses. This means that your digital assets will continue to grow in size and number, and their significance in your life will also continue to increase. Hence, it is essential to consider the security of these assets and take whatever steps are necessary to keep them safe, much as you do with your physical property. So here are a few things to consider when it comes to safeguarding your digital assets.
Make a digital estate plan
Previously, estate planning was limited to your physical assets, bank accounts, and cash. You would hire a lawyer and dictate what goes to whom in the event of your passing. However, you also have your digital data and online accounts to think about these days. A failure to create your digital estate plan could lead to many problems for your family members after you pass. They will find it very hard to access your online accounts and might lose them with time. They might even lose any money you have put in online bank accounts. Hence, you should consider making your digital estate plan sooner rather than later. Many resources are available to help you in the process, like the 1Password digital estate planning guide. Primarily, you need to understand what comprises your digital estate and who the best person to inherit it is. Then all you have to do is put a plan that gives your chosen person access to your assets after you pass.
Make sure everything is legally secure
Digital estate planning is relatively new, and the rules can be tricky. Hence, you should work with legal representation to ensure that all your plans are legally binding so that your executor and other beneficiaries will have no problems accessing anything. Add as many details to your plan as you can. This avoids ambiguity and leaves less room for problems to be taken to court. If your state is one where digital estate plans are not recognized, make sure to add a note on your formal will referencing your digital estate plan to make it formal.
Document all your digital assets
To keep all your digital assets secure, you must know what falls in this category. The inclusion of email and social media accounts and your online bank accounts is probably already known. However, your online shopping accounts and subscription services are also digital assets. Most of your digital music, photos, and videos may not have much monetary value, but they hold a lot of sentimental value. Any cloud storage accounts and websites you own will also need to be considered. Cryptocurrency, if you have bought any, will constitute a significant part of your digital assets. When you have completed your inventory, make a list and keep it in a secure location. Keep updating it regularly to include any new assets you acquire.
Data backup is making copies of your files and storing them in a second location. Backups can be made locally on hard disks or remotely in cloud storage. This way, if you lose all your data due to an accident, you have a backup of your digital assets so that everything can be recovered. However, data backups must be made regularly and often for a successful recovery. If you forget to back up your data for months, you risk losing all the digital assets acquired since your last backup. Hence, it is best to automate the process and select a suitable time interval after which your data is automatically backed up to your cloud storage. If you prefer to back up your data on a local disk, it is in your best interest to stay vigilant about it.
Employ two-factor authentication
Passwords are how you protect your multiple online accounts from being used by any unauthorized person. However, they are vulnerable to hacks, database exploits, and phishing emails. This is where two-factor authentication, or 2FA, comes in. 2FA adds a second layer of protection to your accounts by adding another method to verify your identity when you try to access an account. This can be your fingerprint or a one-time password sent to your phone or email account. You will only be allowed to log into your account if you give the correct password, and successfully pass the second authentication. This way, even if a hacker somehow got their hands on your password, they will be unable to access your account.
Review user agreements
The terms of service given by online providers are an often-overlooked part of signing up to any website. Since they are so long and tedious, filled with technical terms that are hard to understand, most people agree to them without reading them properly. However, they are critical as they state your rights pertaining to the digital asset in question. The privacy section is the most important, as it prevents anyone except the owner from accessing the account. If you want to share your access or want your loved ones to be able to log in after you pass, you should specify this in the agreement.
Previously, you only had your physical assets to manage. Now, you also have a trove of digital assets, including social media accounts, online bank accounts, cryptocurrency, and various subscriptions. Keeping all of these asset secure can be a difficult task, but with a little bit of planning and some thoughtful management, you can protect your digital assets from falling into the wrong hands or being lost. First, take an inventory of your digital assets to know what you have. Keep updating this list as you acquire new assets. Build backups for all your data, and schedule routine backups to ensure everything is up to date. Next, make a digital estate plan outlining what will happen to your digital assets after you are gone. You can choose to destroy some while giving others to your loved ones. Ensure your digital estate plan is legally binding, so your loved ones do not encounter any problems. Secure all accounts with two-factor authentication to prevent hacks. Make sure to read user agreements to be aware of your rights.