5 Ways to Protect your Company’s Digital Assets
Most times, companies overlook digital assets while assessing their overall value. It’s relevant to know and understand:
• What are digital assets
• How to identify digital assets
• How to protect and secure critical digital assets
According to Gartner, a digital asset is anything stored digitally and uniquely identifiable that organizations can use to realize value. Examples of digital assets include documents, audio, videos, logos, slide presentations, spreadsheets, and websites. The main difference between digital assets and physical assets is that physical assets are tangible while digital assets are not, although fully owned and controlled by the company.
As a company, you need to understand what qualifies as a digital asset both internally and externally. These can include imagery, customer database, applications, digital content, and social media among others. Let me break them down further;
These include photos, videos, and illustrations that your company owns and/or through its processes such as marketing images, product-related photos, illustrated workflows documentation, Registered Company Intellectual Property, and others.
A customer database is a collection of information that includes lead contact details like a person’s first and last names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. If you have an email database, it’s a digital asset.
Company applications that have been developed by your company, whether for customer or internal use, are valuable digital assets.
Your company’s website, including its domain name, articles or blog posts within the website are all digital assets. It’s important to license all-important digital assets owned by your company such that third-party use will require consent for full ownership of your content.
These include your company’s social media accounts, pages, posts, and the content therein the posts. We are talking about Facebook updates, tweets, Instagram posts, and even LinkedIn presence are all under the social media category of a digital asset.
Registered Company Intellectual Property
Any intellectual property your company has developed that exists in a digital format is considered an asset that can be sold. Examples of this include company logos, any copyrighted material or trademarked digital material such as photographs or imagery, and any existing company patents for digital processes or other innovations.
How to protect your company’s digital assets
The protection of digital assets starts with understanding what your company’s digital assets are. Ensure that you undertake a survey of your business with a view to identifying what your digital assets are – don’t potentially overlook something that may actually be a valuable asset.
Here are 5 ways to protect your company’s digital assets:
1. Have a full and complete understanding of all of your company’s assets.
As a reminder, digital assets include your company’s website, social media presence, appropriate customer information and client lists (with email addresses and contact information), plus proprietary digital business processes, apps, photos, videos and imagery, and any intellectual property (material that is under copyright, trademarks, and patents). Begin by listing all of your company’s possible digital assets, including those we described above, so that you have a comprehensive picture of your complete digital asset inventory.
2. Limit Access and Follow Best Practices
A fundamental step in how to protect digital assets is restricting access to digital assets and systems to reduce the risk of loss or theft. Make sure to limit access to digital assets and systems to only those employees that actually need to use them. Authorized users of these systems should be employing data security best practices including password protection and authentication, and being careful when using personal devices and other risk factors. You can also reduce your company’s susceptibility to cybersecurity threats by taking steps to prevent data breaches.
3. Use Protective Agreements
Protect your digital assets through your employee and team member agreements, and those with third parties who may need to access your information. Companies should have employees, freelancers, clients, and consultants sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to protect their digital assets. Asking partners and team members to commit to confidentiality also functions as a helpful reminder about the importance of the digital data that they have access. The agreement underscores for people that digital assets are important and must be handled with care!
4. Keep Data Secure
Having strong information security is essential for keeping digital assets protected. Hackers exploit security loopholes and weaknesses, and one way to prevent this is for companies to make sure that their operating systems and any other licensed and cloud-based applications are up to date. Team training about online hackers and scammers to deter social engineering like phishing is just as important for keeping confidential data secure. Take advantage of the security features of enterprise-level applications including two-factor authentication, which provides an extra layer of protection for your company and employees against hackers. Google, Slack, and Salesforce are all examples of large companies that offer clients and users two-factor authentication.
Using secure Wi-Fi is also important for keeping digital assets safe. Make sure your company follows Wi-Fi data security best practices. Routers should be stored in a physically secure location. Regularly change your Wi-Fi network name, enable the firewall, and regularly update the firmware and software. Some routers also provide options for encrypting data, and you should take advantage of that if it’s a feature that your service provider offers.
5. Back It Up
Having a solid redundancy plan in place for your digital assets is critical. Protect digital assets with a reliable backup plan, and perhaps even a backup for the backup!
Companies need to manage and maintain their digital assets safely and securely. You need to build a proper system to protect your company’s digital assets. Knowing how to protect digital assets for the short- and long-term is important for your company’s complete valuation and overall bottom line.