Brooks Duncan is the man to go to to learn about going paperless. I highly recommend his Paperless Document Organization Guides which start at $47, but before you buy, do try his FREE 7-part email course on going paperless (sign up for it on his homepage).

Now here’s Brooks’ tip:

What a crazy week here in North America. First we had an earthquake here in British Columbia about 450 miles from Vancouver which caused a minor tsunami as far away as Hawaii sorry about that, and then of course Sandy on the other coast.

If you have physical paper, a natural disaster can be a real problem: the paper documents can become damaged, and even if they are not, you may not be able to get physical access to them if you need to evacuate the area.

This is one area where going paperless really shines, but only if we have a way to get at our files from outside of our home or office. Here are some ideas:

  1. Keep your most important records copied on a USB key, and keep that with your emergency kit. That way, if you need to evacuate and don’t have Internet access, you still have something.
  2. It should go without saying that you need to have your documents backed up, but you want to have at least one of your backups offsite. I prefer online backups so that my data is in a completely different geographic location. I use CrashPlan because my data is encrypted locally, but there are other good ones.
  3. Keep your documents on a file synchronization service like Dropbox, SugarSync, or others. That way they are always local but accessible online and on mobile devices too. If need be, encrypt your sensitive documents.

To be honest, I have not done #1 but I think that will be my weekend project.Do you have other ideas for keeping your electronic documents safe and secure in a natural disaster? I’d love to hear about them. Just hit reply and let me know.

Stay safe everyone.