Introduction

The digital world is changing at a tremendous speed. New communication technologies open up new possibilities, but by using them you can also expose yourself, and others, to risks. Many people have trouble assessing these risks especially with regard to the subject of safe digital data storage. With other things, keeping personal information at bay from unauthorized users is becoming an important aspect of life. With all devices connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices are rapidly becoming ubiquitous while IoT services are becoming pervasive.

In this digital age where mobile devices and other internet connected devices are normally shared temporarily. Even with PIN-protected devices, users can readily unblock their phones and hand them to other users, keeping personal information could be really challenging. Traditional data protection and data security solutions are not readily applicable to new age users. Absolute security is no more possible in computer systems than it is in bank vaults. The goal is providing new solutions to these new challenges. A security measure that would keep the user’s private information private until their end of life and after that only disclose selected information to added beneficiaries. This information is encrypted and stored in the cloud so that it could be accessible from different devices.

Client Idea

The client had a unique idea of keeping information (images and text) private only until the user is alive. As the project development begin requirements changed rapidly. Many new requirements were added to the initial project. Information like a bucket list, private messages, videos, assets, burial & memorial preparations etc. were also added to the list of items that can be stored. Multiple beneficiaries were also added to users list as the project evolved. These new changes were implemented only after all involved stakeholders agreed upon. Project requirement evolution benefitted the client significantly as their target audience also stretched.

Project Challenges

From the start of the project, data security was one of the biggest challenges, various data security compliance had to be considered while developing this project.
Rapid project requirement changes were also challenging, as consistently reprioritizing and finding technology and platform to accommodate new database changes wasn’t very easy.An effective solution to ascertain the user’s demise and considering a certain amount of period before notifying next of kin added as the benefactor.

Adding multiple beneficiaries and controlling their access over the vault content was also a challenging task added at the later stage of the project.

Solutions

All the above mention challenges required creative and up-to-date solutions for project success.

Data security being the main concern, was dealt with keeping all precautions in mind. There are four kinds of data safeguards, each related to but distinct from the others. Access controls regulate which users may enter the system and subsequently which data sets an active user may read or write. Flow controls regulate the dissemination of values among the data sets accessible to a user. Inference controls protect statistical databases by preventing questioners from deducing confidential information by posing carefully designed sequences of statistical queries and correlating the responses. Data encryption attempts to prevent unauthorized disclosure of confidential information in transit or in storage.

To accommodate all the requirements changes and to deliver the project on time Agile SCRUM methodology was adopted. This methodology allowed us to easily prioritize our tasks and deliver project in iterations keeping all stakeholders happy.

Various notification methods were used to verify if user is alive, if there is not response from client side after certain amount of days’ beneficiaries are notified. Access to deceased account is only given when proof of death is presented to the website administrator.

A second layer of access control is used to limit beneficiaries access. A user can add multiple beneficiaries and can control their access.

Project Benefits

All the involved stakeholders benefitted from this project.

Client was happy because their target audience increased and many new users were happy to pay for the services.

Developers had a challenging experience but this project broadened their area of expertise as they had to learn many new things and got chance to fiddle with new development technologies.

Clients were happy as they could now store all their private stuff in one place without any worries about security and data loss.