We all know that we should safeguard our critical data and documents in case of a disaster. Yet way too few of us follow the best practices of having these items backed up and kept in multiple locations. As a Florida resident conscious of the threat of hurricanes and wildfires, I know I should be better at doing this. But I hadn’t found a really good way to do so until I was given the chance to try out Orggit.
Some Monsanto executives learned the value of safeguarding their data the hard way when they couldn’t access key information they needed during the chaos after 9/11. So in 2003 they founded Morgan Street Document Services to help individuals and businesses protect their important documents from disasters. Orggit was launched recently to bring this service to a wider consumer audience through a user-friendly interface.
After logging in, users are greeted by four tabs across the top of their Orggit home page:
Wallet: This section stores information about all the cards you might carry in your wallet. It is organized using tabs down the left size for various types of cards, and each tab’s contents appear in the main area of the screen when selected. Each card type’s fields are customized to hold standard data types for those cards, including customer service numbers. Images of the cards can even be added. A “wallet report” can be printed containing details of all of the stored cards to use as an offline back-up or for reference in filing a police report or canceling stolen cards. This section of Orggit is similar to a Palm (s palm) app that I used to have that is now available for a variety of mobile phones called SplashID. However, SplashID syncs only between a desktop and mobile device with no cloud backup of data; that redundancy is a key feature of Orggit.
Medical: This section contains a service I’ve never seen offered by any other back-up or storage service: 24/7/365 ICE (in case of emergency) medical record forwarding. It allows a user to create and store a complete medical history for themselves, including scanned documents. This history can then be downloaded in a nicely formatted PDF (s adbe) form for sharing with healthcare providers. Orggit will also fax or email it 24/7 to healthcare providers that request it in an emergency if they provide Orggit the member ID number found on the ICE wallet card that is mailed to every Orggit member. The card provides instructions on how to call and retrieve the records, or report a lost wallet.
As someone with a complicated medical history involving several chronic conditions, I love the idea of healthcare providers being able to access a comprehensive healthcare record for me if I have a problem away from home. My one complaint about this section is that the date fields for items require complete MM/DD/YY date entries and it can be hard to be that specific about things that were a long time ago. It would be helpful to be able to enter an incomplete date, such as just the year, or just month/year. What I’d like to see added would be more fields for recording routine doctors’ visits, and events such as routine illnesses or symptoms. Perhaps a calendar or journal function in this section could serve for those purposes.
Accounts & Codes: Designed to store logins, this is the least robust of all the service’s sections. It keeps a single alphabetized list of your logins. Clicking on the item will take you to an entered URL but won’t log you in. For day-to-day password retrieval, this can’t compete with applications like 1Password for Mac or even Firefox’s built-in password manager. But it has some advantages those sorts of programs don’t, such as the cloud storage of the data and being able to make it visible to other family members in case of emergency.
Filing Cabinet: The filing cabinet is designed to store scanned copies of important documents, similar to Dropbox and other storage services. However, unlike Dropbox, it doesn’t sync files with edits in another location. This lack of file syncing to an offline source in Orggit’s filing cabinet is not as big a deal as it might seem. Most of the files that Orggit is intended to store are scans or PDF’s of static files such as legal documents that would require creation of a whole new file if they were changed. They also aren’t documents that are typically updated that often.
Using the filing cabinet is simple. There are buttons for its drawers across the top of the page. Six drawers are already named and come configured with pre-named folders to suggest contents for them. Users can add a seventh drawer or tailor the existing ones to meet their needs. Basically, the drawers and folders are just a user-friendly way of representing a file storage structure to users.
The iPhone app (s aapl) is a nice addition to the service but not a key component of it. It has the ability to trigger the faxing or mailing of medical reports from its emergency section. The iPhone app also gives you the ability to use your phone’s camera to take pictures of your ID cards rather than having to scan them or use your camera. The camera can also be used to update family members’ profile pictures. You can also create a custom home screen for your phone using one of your pictures that includes a banner with instructions for accessing the Orggit ICE service.
The app is very limited in function beyond those nice features, however. Information cannot be added or edited (besides adding the photos), only read. And there is no access at all to the filing cabinet.
Orggit has the capability of holding virtually the entire identity of a user if they use the service to its full potential. The site obviously requires a high level of security. So before I commit a large volume of my data to the site, I wanted to know what security measures are in place to protect my data — and me.
The Orggit’s representatives that I contacted say that the site uses the same standards of security as the National Security Agency to secure customers’ data. They have servers in multiple locations, and those servers are behind a firewall and use the highest-grade Extended Validation SSL Certificates from VeriSign (s vrsn). Orggit also says it encrypts all member passwords, security questions and phishing images with AES 256 bit encryption, “rendering brute force attacks unfeasible.” They also use the VeriSign Extended Validation green address bar to signify to users that they are connected to a legal web site.
Although at first glance Orggit may seem oriented towards personal use, it can have several important business applications. The wallet tab and the ICE service can provide extra security for road warriors. One of the filing cabinet drawers can be configured to hold work documents (an especially critical mission if you are self-employed and have documents like tax returns and articles of incorporation to protect).
Orggit costs $49.99 for an annual subscription. The subscription includes the company’s free iPhone app ; the addition of up to nine family members on the account; auto-reminder service for expiration dates of credit cards, drivers license and passport; 24/7/365 ICE medical records forwarding service; and 5GB of storage space. Added family members must have an email address and get their own “wallet,” medical and accounts/codes section; the filing cabinet is shared between all users. The primary member controls whether family members can see each other’s data or not, and whether they can see the shared file cabinet.
It does take time to enter all of your critical data into an application like Orggit. But in an emergency, having access to that data via Orggit will make the investment of that time seem like a tiny price to have paid.
Do you keep important documents safe with off-site backups?