what happens to data when you die

What happens to data when you die?

From digital assets to social media accounts, what happens to all those bytes of data once you’re gone? It’s a question we’ve all asked at some point. So let’s go ahead and clear up some common misconceptions.

The digital age brings new challenges and considerations

Before the dawn of the internet, when someone passed away, their physical items were sorted, kept, and/or donated. This was a fairly straightforward process. However, the digital age has created some unique challenges, including the location and accessibility of digital content and potential assets.

While most people create a will to distribute their physical assets, very few have bothered with the data they own online. This is where issues arise, as many assume that accessing this type of data is relatively simple — especially under such circumstances.

The truth is, once you’re deceased, your login credentials and even your social media platforms are kept on a rather tight leash. Even those related to you will often struggle to retrieve this information. If you do not plan ahead, your digital footprint can be rather challenging to access. This is particularly true for mobile data, as well as Apple and Google accounts.

What happens to your data will depend on what it is

With so many platforms and devices used in our day-to-day lives, it can be overwhelming for loved ones to effectively manage and access your data. Each platform presents unique challenges and security procedures. After all, many policies prioritize privacy.

If you pass away and no one has your personal login details, many platforms assume that you would like your data to remain private, even after death. This is certainly an evolving field, as more and more loved ones encounter this predicament. Due to these evolving issues, many web services and technology providers are coming up with solutions.

Facebook, for instance, will now allow an account to either be closed or memorialized after someone’s passing. This requires a valid death certificate. When dealing with Microsoft or Apple, the process is much more comprehensive. From Twitter to Dropbox, many are now providing their loved ones with a password manager.

Based on one password, loved ones can then access your online world. Although this can support loved ones after your passing, a password manager is also beneficial in terms of your current data loss plan. Whether you plan to leave your family a password-protected hard drive or a detailed plan to access your data backup solution.

Just as you create security and recovery plans during your current business affairs, it is important to discuss your options in terms of passing on your digital content. If there is important data that you would like protected and then released under specific circumstances (in this case, death), it is important to take a proactive approach. You can keep your business (and personal) data alive