I don’t want to alarm you, but your company is under threat. If you want to nip these threats in the bud, you need to understand the scope of the company’s digital information. From banking records to spreadsheets to customer credit card information to domain names, everything needs to be meticulously organised and managed to make sure it’s well protected. Is all your important data on your physical servers, on an employee’s tablet, or simply drifting around in the cloud somewhere? If you’re concerned about your digital assets, here are some of the steps towards protecting it.

your digital information 1

Image: Wikimedia

First of all, get help. If you’re old enough, you may remember buying some of the first personal desktops in the seventies and eighties. Back then, you were your own installer, your own customer service assistant, and your own technical support guy. Fortunately we’ve moved past this dark time, and you’ve got all kinds of support available to you. Do a little research, and you’ll find all kinds of human and computerised resources which can help you with protecting your digital assets. You may not like the price tags attached to many of these services, but take a step back and assess just how important your assets are. If your premises were destroyed by a fire, you would call in experts to draft a disaster recovery plan. By the same token, a chaotic digital asset plan calls for a specialist.

Next up, create an inventory for all your important data. If you needed to right now, could you identify all your digital information, both personal and business-wise? Even if you could do that easily, would you then know where it was all stored? Is it on the premises, on a personal mobile device, or the cloud? These days, it’s becoming more and more common for CEOs to introduce a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy at their offices. If you have one of these policies at your company, it’s massively important to keep tabs on the kinds of devices your staff are using, as well as the information that’s being stored on those devices. Part of the inventory should also cover how this information is backed up, and where the reserve files are being kept. Perhaps most importantly, you need to have a record of how this kind of information can be accessed. When it really matters, I’m sure you don’t want to be locked out of all your important files. Ensure all your usernames and passwords are recorded somewhere that’s both accessible and secure.

your digital information

Image: Flickr

It’s also very important to go through the relevant legalese, and to make sure you’re operating within those parameters. It’s frighteningly common for CEOs to end up as accidental felons by using some other person’s username and password. Obviously, this isn’t always a big deal. However, getting some kind of written permission is always better than having no documentation at all. Depending on the platform you’re using, there may be some way of specifying the disposition of a digital account, within the provider’s instructions. Google, for example, has its inactive account manager feature. This allows its users to control what happens to photos, emails, and other potentially sensitive files which are stored on certain Google sites. The laws surrounding digital assets are fairly complex, so sit down with your legal team and figure out some ways to protect them. You may be able to specify an agent who can access the digital assets, or place them all in a trust.

Finally, make sure that everyone who’s involved in your new asset management system is held accountable. You probably know by now that introducing a new software solution at a company isn’t always easy. A lot of your staff are going to be used to the old way of running things. Fortunately, bringing completed assets into a new management system is fairly easy, provided you choose a good, reputable software. However, when it comes to people who are simply looking for assets, rather than creating them, you’ll need to set out some guidelines for accountability. Let’s say you have a stakeholder who often emails a web designer about animations and banner sizes. You would need to make the ins and outs of the new DAM system crystal clear to them. Once they see how much easier it is to find information through the new management system, you’ll be able to relax about any potential breaches.

Follow these steps, and worrying about the security of your digital assets will be a thing of the past!