FidSafe is a new online repository for storing digital copies of your important documents such as wills, bank statements, tax returns, etc., so that “the critical files you need are available to you and your family whenever and wherever you need them, even after you’re gone.” And by “gone” XTRAC LLC (a Fidelity Investments company), that offers FidSafe doesn’t mean that you’ve just popped out to get ice cream, they mean “gone” as in having joined the choir invisible.
When you sign up for an account you get 5GB of storage space and you can upload individual files of up to 200MB. All content is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption and the site, of course, uses SSL encryption for all connections.
Account access is controlled by two factor authentication and by recognizing authorized devices and if there are more than three failed login attempts there’s automatic account blocking and reauthorization.
XTRAC also claims “24/7 on-site security / Data centers are protected by round the clock security with strict access requirements, secured sensitive areas, and ID requirements” and “Encrypted data is backed up on multiple servers in multiple data centers, so there's no protection interruptions or data loss in the event of fire or power outages.”
You can share specific documents but only with other FidSafe users and, in the event of your demise, untimely or otherwise, if you have enrolled in the “Sharing after Death” service, “upon notification of your death, FidSafe verifies your death certificate and shares your FidSafe files and notes in the designee’s FidSafe account” (see FidSafe’s FAQ for more details).
The user interface is clean and functional and FidShare provides checklists and guidance on the documents you should protect. You can upload any kind of document included your own encrypted documents and there's also an iOS app so that you can access your documents "on the go."
All in all, this is a polished, slick service that has tremendous value for individuals and families and even small businesses and what really makes FidSafe stand out is the cost … it’s free and the company promises:
We don’t (and won’t) sell or use the limited personal data you provide to serve up targeted online ads.
There are no indications as to how the service will be monetized but I’d expect to see optional services and products in the future and, as it stands, the service is a great branding exercise and business lure for Fidelity Investments.
The strength of the service lies in being easy to understand and use. Sure, Google Drive does all of this and more but it’s more technical, its scope makes it daunting for noobs, and it’s “Apres Vie” feature isn’t as polished, all of which give FidSafe an edge with the majority of consumers. It will be interesting to see how FidSafe evolves.
“Wake up!” the good folks a Merriam-Webster just tweeted. “Sheeple is in the dictionary now.”
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