A few years ago, I started using a really nice scanner to copy and upload my NON-SENSITIVE rental property documents to the cloud (online).
The types of files that I am storing online include leases, rental forms, property details, tenant phone numbers, email addresses, and emergency contacts.
For the purpose of this article, I’m defining “non-sensitive information” as anything that is not personally identifiable information (PII).
The main purpose of “going to the cloud” was so that I could access my documents from any location and any device.
It was one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made. It’s helped me become a “mobile landlord”, and I’m in great shape if the zombie apocalypse ever happens.
Besides being incredibly practical, it’s just plain smart. The US Federal Government is required to have “Continuity of Operations” plan, and I believe a good landlord should too.
The primary reasons for storing your NON-SENSITIVE files online are:
- You can be Anywhere – Access your files from any computer and mobile device
- Everything is Synced – no rebellious versions or duplicate copies (hooray)
- It’s Inexpensive – usually free (or really inexpensive)
- Always Safe – Files are safe and secure, even if you spill coffee on your laptop (yes, I’m one of those people)
Options for Online Storage:
1. Google Drive
I also store copies of my files in my Google Drive account, which is linked from my gmail account. Google gives you 5GB of space for free and has an intuitive mobile app.
Dropbox has Free and Paid versions, but the free version only gives you 2GB. They have some really great mobile apps to keep you connected and allow you to share with other team members.
Box has personal and business versions and offer 5GB for free. The integration with Microsoft Office is pretty sweet too.
What about Sensitive Information?
I don’t upload anything “sensitive” to the cloud. In my opinion, it’s too risky. Identity theft is the #1 crime in America and I don’t want to be indirectly liable if anything happened to one of my tenants.
For sensitive information, I keep the paper documents locked in a fireproof safe – which is behind 2 locked doors and bolted to the floor. I also make a scanned copy of the files and save them to a IronKey USB drive. This particular USB drive is crazy expensive, but provides the highest level of security. I don’t really trust the cloud yet for the storage of Social Security numbers and other forms of personally identifiable information (PII).