If your company is fairly large, then you probably have a lot of assets which need managing and protection. From your office building to the equipment you use to keep your business running, there are all kinds of physical assets which need taking care of. In 2016 though, the issue will extend far past these things. You’re likely to have a range of digital assets which also need to be managed properly. If the term “digital asset” is alien to you, then this post is for you! Here’s a guide to managing your company’s digital assets.
First of all, what is a digital asset. Unfortunately, I can’t paste in a universal definition here. This kind of property is so young that even lawyers are hesitant to tell you what it means. In the most basic terms possible, a digital asset is something intangible and electronic in nature, owned by your company. This includes photos, videos, documents, sound files, and anything else which you can’t touch. They might be stored on your hard drives, on the cloud, or be part of a third-party service. The definition also extends to your company’s social media profiles, website and so on.
Now you know what a digital asset is. However, you may be a little unsure about which of yours you actually own. Many business owners go along thinking they own a certain web page or account, when in reality it’s property of the host. Worse still, there are others who don’t think their digital property is actually theirs! Domain names are one of the major things you need to understand. After paying for a domain name, it’s normal to assume that you own the website. If only digital assets were that simple! A lot of online marketing companies will take your money for the domain, but register it in their own name. If you were in a rush to click the “I agree” button, then this is certainly a risk you should be thinking of. Fortunately, finding out whether or not you own a domain name is fairly easy. Simply go to a site like this, enter the URL, and it will show you exactly who owns the website you’re operating under. Some people see domain names as a trivial part of branding. If this includes you, then you’re gravely mistaken! If you bought the name Apple.com when the internet first launched, you’d be extremely wealthy after selling it in the noughties!
Hopefully, the importance of digital asset management is becoming a little more clear to you. So, how do you go about it? This is a pretty big question, that can’t be answered in full here. This is partly why so many companies choose to outsource their digital asset management to other entities. However, it’s completely possible to manage your own digital assets. Setting up a system for this varies from company to company. For the most part though, it can be broken down into a few separate categories.
You need to consider how your assets will be stored. Where will the primary files be located, and how will you protect yourself against a potential IT disaster? Back-up is included in a lot of business software these days, but it’s not something you can afford to neglect. Cataloguing your digital assets is another important phase of management. Which kind of terms and descriptive tags will be applied to your files? How will you organise the ones containing sensitive information? When setting out a DAM system, it’s very important to have a strict policy about who uses it and how they use it. If you have any partners or suppliers who need access to your media, then this is another important thing to consider. When it comes to this, you should focus on keeping your assets secure, yet accessible enough to give other entities a positive experience. One of the most important things to consider is how the assets are actually used. Working this one out may call for a long and boring meeting with your legal team. You need to have systems in place for tracking the use of assets, and protecting them against any kind of copyright infringement. Digital asset management isn’t exactly easy. However, it’s essential for any business in this day and age.
I hope this guide has made the whole subject of digital asset management a little simpler. Get a good handle on it, and it will all become easier further down the line. All your company’s files are important, so don’t just let them sit there!