Your business owns a lot of assets, and not all of those assets are visible. Digital assets can be just as valuable, and just as vulnerable as physical items like desks, chairs and computer terminals.
If your business does not have a formal digital asset management system in place, you could be putting your profits, and your very existence, in jeopardy. Just think about what would happen if you were unable to access those digital assets, from sales contracts and training manuals to bank accounts and tax records. These are all classified as digital assets, and they are critical to the success of your business.
Identify Your Digital Assets
It is easy to underestimate the number of digital assets your business owns. Most businesses own far more digital assets than they think they do, so making a comprehensive list of such assets is a vital first step.
Most businesses will have digital assets several different categories. Some examples of digital assets your business may already own include:
- Email accounts
- Social media accounts
- Files stored in the cloud
- Payment accounts
- Accounts at online retailers
- Frequent flier accounts for your business
- Business blogs
- Online bill pay
- Connected devices like tablets and smartphones
Creating a detailed inventory of all your digital accounts, including the nature of the account, how it relates to your business and who is responsible for it, is an essential first step to managing your digital life. If you have designated a member of your staff the social media expert, be sure to note that in your records. The more exhaustive the information is, the easier it will be to manage.
Once you have your digital asset inventory, you can look at the way you do things and look for ways to do them better. Think about who is responsible for updating your blog, who has access to the social media pages for your business and who can update your electronic payment accounts. Providing too much access could be a security risk for your company, leaving you open to embezzlement and other financial crimes. Giving your employees too little access could put your business in a tough spot if you were to become injured or disabled.
It is important to strike a right balance, one that protects your business and its digital assets while providing the right amount of access for your trusted employees. Some business owners designate a single person, or a small team, to manage digital assets, while others maintain tight controls. You will need to look at various factors, from the size of your business to the loyalty of your staff, to make a sound decision.
Your digital assets are precious, and you need to treat them with the care they deserve. You would never leave the doors to your business unlocked or sit your office chairs by the curb, and you should not leave your digital assets unprotected either. Taking steps to safeguard your digital assets can protect your business and give you one less worry.