As we scan across the nation, today we’ll focus on Montana. Brokers in Montana are required to hold their records for five (5) years for trust accounts and proprty management transactions according to The Montana Board of Realty Regulation. This is similar to several states in the U.S. The norm seems to be anywhere from 3 to 5 years, with the odd state coming in with regulations at 6 or 7 years.

In the regulations, it states ”all required trust account records may be maintained electronically but must be maintained in a manner to permit auditing”. This is good news if you’re a Filetwin user. Why? Because we present you with your files in a file tree similar to that which you’re already accustomed to if you use Windows Explorer.

Exploring Backed Up Files using Filetwin

Additionally, since Montana requires five (5) years, it’s prudent to keep in mind that Google even has proven that the average life expentancy of a hard drive is five (5) years. The proof can be found if you read this article from Google. We also recommend you watch our YouTube video snippet regarding the use of traditional storage media versus online backup. Basically, using online backup is the most reliable backup alternative if you’re required by regulations or laws to retain your records for such and extended period of time.

Remember this, it’s always easy to do nothing and just continue with current procedures, however, what’s important to keep in mind is that when something goes wrong and data is lost the cost of reproducing those records is way more expensive than if you made a small investment when you still had a chance. Yes, we did say investment because the overwhelming obstacles is normally a financial justification. We prefer to look at safeguarding your digital records as an investment because we’ve seen the horror stories surrounding data loss.

If you’d like to continue this conversation in person, please feel free to contact one of our U.S. based customer service representatives at 1 877 310-2884 and they’ll be glad to speak with you.

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Online Backup in Seven Steps

We try to develop marketing materials that really makes it easy for the customer to understand exactly what our service does. We’re pretty proud of this piece below because we think it clearly spells out what we do.

It’s our version of a 7-step program to securing your digital assets using online backup.

Here's what we do for your business

Step #5 is an important step that using cardboard boxes, CD or hard drives is something you just don’t get – re-assurance. Step #6 is really the major benefit – hassle free storage of your digital assets. It’s probably the most efficient way to store your records and that leads us to Step #7, the ability to restore files anytime and from anywhere. Let’s see you do that with files on a hard drive in an office or CDs stored in a drawer. In essence, online storage is like having a virtual filing cabinet that provides the utmost security. We’ve said this a few times before but it’s worth repeating – your files are probably more secure if stored with Filetwin then if they were stored in your own office. Since Filetwin is a great application for “cloud computing” here’s a good analogy. If any type of disaster happened on the ground, all your files are safely secured above the mess below. When you need those files, you simply call them down from the “cloud” and – viola – you’re back in action, or in this case, back in business.

If you like to continue this discussion in person with one of our Backup Specialists located here in the U.S., please feel free to contact us at 1 877-310-2884.

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Today’s topic is real estate record retention in Washington State. All real estate transactions must be retained by the respective broker for a period of three (3) years after a transaction is complete. We obtained our information from the Washington State Department of Licensing. The actual law can be found if you click this link http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/realestate/docs/relawbook.pdf and scroll to page 11 and look at paragraph (17).

Well, now that we know what the retention period is for Washington State, it’s customary to review the documents that fall under this law.

The records required to be kept include:

  • Copies of all records, showing that at least quarterly a reconciliation has been made of the checkbook balance, the bank statement balance and the client trust ledger sheet balances;
  • Copies of all offers, contracts of sale and sale or rental listing agreements
  • Copies of all statements to owners, sellers, purchasers and tenants showing the disbursement of funds to them or on their behalf, which statements shall identify the property and unit, if applicable, for which the disbursement was made and the reason for the disbursement;
  • Copies of all records showing payments to persons licensed with the paying broker and to cooperating brokers
  • Copies of all receipts issued for all security deposits accepted from tenants, and of checks for and letters accompanying the release of such funds, and/or the duplicate deposit slips evidencing the deposit of such funds by the broker
  • Copies of all fully executed leases, contracts of sale, property management and listing agreements;
  • Copies of bills for brokerage services rendered in such transactions
  • Copies of all bank statements, canceled checks and duplicate deposit slips pertaining to the broker‘s general business account.

Given that files need to be held for that length of time, it’s prudent to use an effective, user-friendly service so electronic records are properly backed up for any type of future reference.

Our focus groups have shown that there are basically three (3) major issues that small businesses consider obstacles to adoption:

1.Price.

2. Longevity of the product or service.

3. User friendliness.

So let’s deal with these one at a time:

1. With our pricing, we aren’t the cheapest service out there – and we aren’t afraid to admit that. We’ve done our due diligence and you’d have to wonder about such low pricing that’s offered out there. Prices are stripped down to remove and type of customer service that customers DO NEED when they’re in a crisis which normally accompanies any major data loss.

2. Regarding longevity, our service and product are built to last for an extremely long time. With the constant monitoring our storage ecosystem has, there’s no reason why our Data Centers can’t continue to store data.

3. With respect to user friendliness, we crafted the software so that it runs automatically after you’ve configured your storage account Profile settings. Initially, you need to tell the software what you want backed up and when you want it backed up. After that, it’s really just a set it and forget it type of thing. If anything goes wrong, we’ll notify you via email and if the matter appears serious from our vantage point, our Backup Specialists or Account Managers will contact you directly.

If you’d like to continue this discussion in person, you can reach us at 1 877 310-2884 and we’d be glad to answer any regulatory or compliance questions you might have.

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