I use it. It is great if you have more than one computer. You can work at a file at the office. upload it to the vault and then download it at home to continue working on the file. It is also fine for storage.
Have to agree with Tim. Vault is not only an excellent back-up (storage in OKC and Salt Lake City) but the convenience to have access to or work on a file from multiple locations (office, home, or mobile) is invaluable.
I understand your concern about AVMs and data. Believe me, I too share that paranoia. I will have to go back and read my User Agreement to absolutely verify the wording, but I believe there would almost have to be some major confidentiality clause. Dave Biggers selling our data from the appraisal reports would be a huge USPAP no no as Alamode never was nor would be a client with rights to the report. Dave is an appraiser himself, and I'm sure considers and understands all aspects of the business when offering services to the industry. I highly doubt the thought would even cross his mind, let alone do such an unethical (and probably illegal) deed.
This type of release of information would be similar to a micro fiche company disclosing personal banking records of the depositors of a bank client to an outside party. I'm sure there would have to be heavy fines and jail time involved with such a betrayal of confidential information. I feel very confident that type of breach of confidentiality would not happen with Alamode.
I recently opened a 'vault' account. I haven't had the opportunity to try and retrieve a file as of yet so I can't comment on that aspect. I like the idea of utilizing it sort of like an off site network though. Never thought of that. Pretty sharp there, Tim!
1. Our security on the Vault uses SSL plus the Blowfish encryption algorithm. Unless you give out your password, nobody's getting in. But more importantly, hackers don't want your appraisals. They have no value at all. To use a car thief analogy, appraisals in the Vault are like a locked Yugo on a steet full of Mercedes with the windows open and the keys in them. Crooks have no interest in the Yugo.
2. No matter who may buy my company, a la mode has no rights to the data in your files, and our license agreement for the Vault makes that clear. You can rest assured that your data is legally safe, regardless of who owns a la mode in the future (yes, I'll take a big pile of cash for the company, though I've turned down several).
Last year over 6.2 million appraisals went through our EDI servers and over a million Vault files were uploaded. The infrastructure is there and it works. It is indeed easier than CD's because it's transparent, and it adds the "work at home" element that others described above.