Simple precautions will protect your personal and
corporate information if natural disaster strikes.
The fires in Alberta show how quickly natural catastrophes
can totally disrupt personal and business life.
Technology is now available to protect you from losing
important information when disaster strikes.
On a Personal Level
Financial institutions need tangible evidence of your
existence. Even if the originals of documents are
destroyed, you can reassert your identity with photographs.
Take pictures of the front and back of all
credit cards, debit cards, health cards, social insurance
cards, driver’s licences, vehicle insurance cards, etc.
Keep all original birth certificates, passports, changeof-
name documents, adoption papers, copies of power
of attorney, living wills or other caregiver instructions
as well as appraisals of jewellery, artwork, collectible
or other valuable insured items in a fireproof safe or
safety deposit box.
Scan and add to the safe all documents that record
RRSPs, RRIFs, investment and your Notices of Reassessment
for the last six years to establish your income
Take pictures of all household furnishings. Not only
will these be beneficial for insurance purposes, but
they will also provide you with images to use when
rebuilding your new home.
Use the highest resolution on your camera or smartphone
so all names and numbers can be read when
Take pictures of assets and serial numbers.
On a Business Level
Take pictures of all movable assets along with their
serial numbers. Re-establishing ownership is easier
if you can prove the asset belonged to your business.
Scan or take pictures of both sides of all credit and
Scan at least one Goods and Services report or Corporate
Notice of Assessment to provide the business
Scan all important business documents:
- loan agreements
- insurance policies
- lease agreements
- articles of incorporation and resolutions that
establish shareholders, directors and officers of
- bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc.,
together with passwords
- invoices for capital asset purchases
If your business is destroyed the history of your success
may disappear. Your accountant and lawyer may
have copies of financial statements, tax returns and
contracts, but what if their business suffers the same
calamity as yours? Ensure your future is supported by
the success of your past. Scan all financial statements
and tax returns and back them up to USB drives,
external hard drives or your cloud storage. If you
cannot find your past data your accountant or lawyer
should be able to PDF it to your computer for transfer
to your remote storage facility.
Maximize Loss Recovery
Purchase an encrypted USB drive and an encrypted
external hard drive and copy all data onto them. Store
the USB in your safe and keep the hard drive at some
other secure location such as a fireproof safety deposit
box at your bank.
Perhaps the safest storage site of all is on the cloud.
There are hundreds of cloud storage services available
and thus the only question is how much storage do you
need and how much will it cost. Companies such as
Google, I Drive, and Microsoft offer a range from five
GB to 15 GB for free and expanded storage services
for a fee. Dropbox Pro offers a Terabyte of storage for
about $10 per month.
Use one of the many web-offered password managers
to store your passwords. For about $20 a year, they are
a good long-term strategy. Make sure you store the
password to log on to the password manager itself
in a safe place.
Physical Security of Data
Important articles stored in the basement are more
likely to survive because the basement does not usually
get as hot as the burning structure above. If you are
going to use a fireproof safe, ensure the ratings are
at least in the 1750 F (955C) ranges. The best place to
store the safe is in a corner. However, any extreme heat
over an extended time will eventually erode even the
most fireproof safe.
Precautions Reduce Anxiety
Recording personal and business data will not eliminate
the heartbreak and stress that accompany such
unfathomable tragedies. The use of multiple means to
back up important personal and business data, however,
will go a long way to reducing the anxiety and
frustration that will accompany the long process of
rebuilding your personal and business lives.
The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.