Four Low-Cost Solutions for Your Divorce Document Vault

 

There is no doubt that with divorce comes paper – lots of paper.  Documenting everything from income to expenses to assets are essential to navigating both high-conflict and amicable divorces.  Much of these documents are sensitive and filled with personal information.  This can create some challenges when you need these documents stored together in an easily, accessible, secure format.  While there are some dedicated solutions for this purpose, they usually come with added price and complexity.  The good news is that there are several practical, low-cost or free solutions to meet this need.  In many cases, you may already be paying for one or more of these platforms and you already have secure personal document vault capability.  We have done the analysis for four of the top solutions so that you can make the right choice for your situation.

1. Microsoft One Drive Secures Your Document Vault

Users who are in the Microsoft ecosystem are likely familiar with One Drive, Microsoft’s cloud storage solution.  It is a top notch storage platform that you can access via a computer, the web or a mobile device.

Many users, however, do not know just how feature rich One Drive is.  As of 2019, One Drive includes a personal vault feature which significantly increases the security of your sensitive files and folders.  It is included with an Office 365 subscription; so, it is not free per se but since there is no additional cost, it is hugely cost effective. Not only is this feature cost effective, it is extremely simple to use.  You access it through a PIN, or use your fingerprint, face, or a code delivered by email or SMS, which eliminates the requirement for additional passwords.  Added features such as encryption, the ability to scan directly to your vault  and automatic locking after periods of inactivity add to the robustness of this option.

Benefits of Microsoft One Drive
  • Included in Office 365 subscription
  • Encryption
  • Shared authentication with other Office 365
  • Two-factor authentication
  • PC and mobile access

2. Easy Accessibility with Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud storage platform that many people are already using.  Like One Drive, Dropbox is accessible from a PC or mobile device, which means you have easy access to your documents.  Getting a free account is easy and it provides decent storage at no cost, but the free options lack added security.  There are premium options which range from $10 to $20 per month that offer much more functionality, including increased security and encryption.  While this does add cost, the benefit of familiarity with the platform means that it is well worth it.  Additionally, with each additional platform, you have the need to manage additional passwords, which can be a hassle.

Benefits of Dropbox
  • Familiar interface to Dropbox users
  • Encryption
  • PC and mobile access
  • Relative low cost

3. Most Cost Effective is Google Drive

Google Drive is great in many ways.  It is also the most cost effective option for document vault.  Unfortunately, it is also the least secure of all the options.   Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides documents do not have a dedicated option for individual password protection.  They are protected on Google’s servers, so unless you’ve shared them, outsiders cannot see your files without your Google Account username and password.  For many, this is sufficiently secure.  You can maximize this security through the use of unique strong password.  Additionally, you can enable two-factor authentication to further protect your documents, which should provide sufficient protection.  Considering that it is free, this is not a bad compromise.

Benefits of Google Drive
  • Low cost
  • Interconnected with other Google applications
  • Shared authentication with other Google applications
  • Two-factor authentication
  • PC and mobile access

4. iCloud Has Custom Sized Storage for Your Document Vault

If you are an Apple user, you already have iCloud.  The design of the iPhone with the lack of expandable memory likely means that you already use it for pictures at the very least.  Like Google Drive, however, it is not specifically created to use as a document vault; and therefore, it lacks the security of One Drive or Dropbox.  That is not to say it is completely unsecured and that it cannot meet your needs.

General recommendations for security on iCloud are based in good internet and technology practices.  If a document is sensitive, you should encrypt it.  This provides security regardless of where the document is stored.  Additionally, use of two-factor authentication makes accessing any files or folders very difficult to hackers or outsiders.  Like Google Drive, this may be enough security for you when considering that you likely have surplus storage available with no added cost.  The only drawback is the degree of steps required to get the aforementioned security.

Benefits of iCloud
  • Low cost
  • Interconnected with other Apple applications
  • Shared authentication with other Apple application
  • Two-factor authentication
  • PC and mobile access

In the end, you need a low cost solution for a document vault that is easy to use and provides enough security to protect you sensitive information.  Everyone’s budget, risk sensitivity and familiarity with different platforms and technologies varies.  The good news is that whether you are an Apple die-hard, a Microsoft use, or a Google purist there is a solution for you that does not require much if any additional cost or training.

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