From online banking, investment and credit card accounts, streaming TV and movie subscriptions, gaming platforms, mobile phone services and home security systems, our lives depend on our digital footprints. In fact, a recent study found that the average American manages 100 passwords.
When couples divorce, their digital footprint, along with every other aspect of their lives, must be unraveled. With so much personal information available in our digital footprint, it is vital that divorced couples ensure their digital lives remain secure and that they safely separate. To get a bit more insight into how to manage and keep secure one’s digital footprint during and after a divorce, I recently spoke with technology expert Cary Cloud of CRC Tech, LLC who helps many divorcing and divorced people separate and secure their digital accounts.
After you divorce, what kinds of actions should you take to keep your digital footprint secure?
The type of divorce – whether it is amicable or contentious - informs the action steps you take to protect the safety of your digital footprint. If safety is a concern, the first step to take is to change your passwords to all your online accounts. You will also have to separate joint accounts, decide who is maintaining ownership of them (or if you both need to each have separate access), and create new passwords. And it's not just online accounts but other accounts that require passwords such as streaming TV services, and those that connect to home security systems and cameras (i.e. Ring doorbells).
How do you organize and keep track of your accounts?
An online password manager is a great way to keep track of every password you have in one place. If you use one, this will make separating your married digital footprint a bit easier because all or most of all your online accounts are already in one place and organized.
Tracking down every account you've ever made online can be very difficult and overwhelming. It’s especially daunting when you don’t know where to start. Your email will be the home of most of your accounts and subscriptions. Taking a few hours to write down (pen to paper), or record the information into an Excel spreadsheet or digital password manager can ensure that your accounts are organized. If your email account doesn’t have everything, examining your bank account can also help you keep track of the subscriptions you may have forgotten about. These are good sources to start organizing your digital footprint. Just be patient because if you do not have an existing system whether it be a list or a password manager, it will take some time to get your digital accounts and their passwords.
How do you find someone trustworthy to help you organize your accounts?
It’s important not to go to just anyone who works in technology but someone who has experience helping people separate, organize, and protect their digital footprint during and after a divorce. This is a very personal experience and because your data will be exposed to them, you need to fully trust that this technology professional has your best interest at heart and will protect your information. The business should be able to furnish you and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to ensure that your data will be kept secured and private.
Looking to take stock of your digital footprint and ensure it is secure, organized, and easily accessible? Reach out to us at Post Divorce Force and let us help you kickstart the process and get it done as you transition into your post-divorce life.
Shari Herzberg, MBA
Post Divorce Force