In today’s geopolitical climate, it’s advisable for everyone to keep backups of all of their sensitive data. This includes scans of your birth certificate, your driver’s license, and even your passport information. If something happens where you need to replace these documents, having backups can make the process easier and faster. However, there are several considerations to think of when it comes to storing these documents. You want them quickly accessible, you want them portable, and you want to keep them secure. That’s why a secure flash drive is a great option.
Accessibility is important for any type of information. After all, if you can’t get at the information quickly, it doesn’t do you any good. While some people choose to use memory cards, not every system has the capability to read every type of card. There are compact flash, SD, micro-SD, and other proprietary formats that are used. On the other hand, flash drives are accessible on any system with a USB port, provided they are formatted correctly. That means that it doesn’t matter if you run iOS, Windows, or Linux, you will be able to access your data quickly. When you need to see your data, you have it on hand at the ready.
Portability is also extremely important for backup information. Having your information sitting on your computer at home won’t help if you need to get at it when you’re on vacation. And while uploading information to a secure online location is great as a secondary backup, what if you’re in a location that doesn’t have reliable internet access? Having a thumb drive safely in your pocket or in your backpack means that your information is there on hand when you need it.
Lastly, but possibly most important, is the security of your information. Things happen; pockets get picked, bags get stolen. If this happens, you don’t want your information somewhere that it can be used by the wrong people for nefarious reasons. While you could keep your stuff in your home and hire a great locksmith to make sure the doors and windows are secure, that sort of defeats the portability and accessibility factors. Your thumb drive should be encrypted well enough that you can be sure your information is safe.
When it comes to data, you want at least 256-bit encryption. In non-technical terms, this key length makes your data nearly impossible to decrypt using normal means. Of course, the NSA would still be able to crack the key and read your data given enough time. However, per the peer-reviewed cryptography board on Stack Exchange, it’s generally beyond someone who has picked your pocket or stolen your backpack.
Keep in mind that whether you’re using a PIN or a password, it shouldn’t be something that can be easily guessed. If you choose a PIN that’s your birthdate, or a password that is just, “password,” your data isn’t very secure. Taking these three things into consideration will help you ensure that your information is not only quickly accessible when you need it, it’s also secure against unwanted eyes.