why should you care your digital legacy

why should you care your digital legacy
Photo by Mo from Pexels

I am sure that I am not unique. I am the de facto technology support person of the family. I am the one who set up the family sharing in iCloud, I set up the family sharing vault in 1Password. I configured the Synology NAS for family use.

By nature, most of the readers could be in similar position as they tend to be more tech savvy. The issue is that we accrued a lot of digital knowledge; not just for ourselves but for our families and friends who. We help , support and provide a service. Where are they going to get the information and service if we are not there, not for a short time but forever. I called this the digital legacy.

Just like the physical legacy we pass to our family when we pass away, the digital legacy has to be properly managed. Maybe it is even more important for us to take a proactive role in the management as digital legacy is more intangible and requires technical knowledge.

Imagine what would happen to the family photos, the scanned files and passwords that we organised. They may not even know where to find them, let alone updating them. The broadband Internet or home network may have an outage and the router and switches may need to be reset in a certain order but no one knows what needs to be done. It is a matter of time that something is going to fail and the family tech support is not there.

This is what I am in the middle of doing. I consider this a project for myself that would easily take a year to complete. First, I signed up Everplans. This provides an online documentation of my important information , about my will, my assets, my financial details , etc. More importantly, I saved my 1password emergency kit there. It is worth to note that this is not a set-and-forget arrangement. I make a point of reviewing and updating the details every 6 months.

The next most important part of the digital legacy preparation plan is to create and maintain an up-to-date documentation of the digital assets of the family. For me this includes

  • my email accounts, which account is for what purpose
  • my passwords (this is managed under 1password. I created a family shared vault for password they need to use. For my own vault, I printed out the emergency kit in pdf file and hand filled the master password on to the printed copy which is also laminated)
  • description of my hardware (desktop computers, portable devices, storage, scanner, etc). All configuration files are updated to an iCloud folder
  • details of the home network infrastructure, including router, switch, network diagram, their settings, etc.
  • details of the software and apps including how and what I use them for.
  • details of my storage structure, iCloud and Synology NAS
  • details of iCloud content. There are more details on iCloud access, please refer to the reference at the bottom of the article

There are many ways to create this document. This document can be text file, pdf and any other format one prefers. Mine is like a small book with table of content and have around 40 pages with diagrams, links to manufactures and companies, etc. The important part is to print out the hard copy. I am printing out the whole document every 6 months and store them in a fire and water proof document bag (such as this one). I then make sure my family knows what it is and when and where to find it.

There are also a lot of good references on the Internet, such as

I hope this stimulates my readers to start preparing a digital legacy plan, regardless of the age and stage in life.