Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
Documents are going digital, and there are gaggles of cloud storage services out there to help you manage your files. However, few of them are built to handle weighty matters like estate planning, insurance claims and how to pass important documents to family members in the event of an emergency.
SafelyFiled is a new startup that has just launched a digital locker service for long-term storage of important files. At $48 per year or $4.50 per month for 1,000 documents with a single-file size limit of 20MB, this isn’t a service for everyday storage and file transfers. Family plans are available, and users can also sponsor memberships for others.
Interestingly, the company was founded by two 60-year-olds, Mark Snow and John Dore. In contrast to today’s younger entrepreneur generation where some kids start companies in their teens, SafelyFiled’s founders bring a wealth of experience to the project. Snow has a background in law and was a founding executive of five startups, while Dore was a CEO of two insurance holding companies.
The duo’s backgrounds are evident in the focus of SafelyFiled, as their product is built with important legal documents or insurance papers in mind. The service, which is Web based but also includes an iPhone scanning app, is also designed to help users without much computer know-how learn to store their files online. For instance, the company’s help section has several extensive training videos to help customers get the most out of the service.
Once users sign up for SafelyFiled, they can begin uploading files or they can delegate the task to an insurance agent, accountant or tax preparer. As with other cloud services, the documents are then encrypted and stored online. The company touts its easy organizing features, but from what I can tell this just consists of folders and descriptions.
One nice feature for organization is a field that lets you mark where the physical location of a file is. So, if I uploaded a digital version of my will, I could also note where I put the actual copy. You can also upload receipts for big purchases and setup reminders for when warranties are about to expire.
SafelyFiled isn’t the sexiest cloud service – you’re probably not going to be sharing last night’s party photos with you friends, and the overall design feels behind the times. But it’s important to remember that the Internet can improve the lives of people of all ages.
Trust is going to be an issue for this service though. Frankly, it’s an issue for all cloud storage providers, but the fact that SafelyFiled is set up for us to upload our most important documents makes issues of security and longevity a primary concern.
Given that the company is an angel-backed startup, can I trust that it will still be here years from now when I need it? Has the company put the proper security and encryption measures in place to guarantee that vital documents don’t end up in the wrong hands and end up getting my identity stolen? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but they definitely weighed on my mind as I signed up for a trial.
Still, whether we like it or not, we’re going to have to eventually deal with the question of what to do with our files when we’re gone, and SafelyFiled’s founders have taken it upon themselves to provide an answer. Even if this service isn’t for you, it’s worth considering for your parents or grandparents.
Image credit: iStockphotos
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