Every business has its assets: things that are of value. They can be land, cash, equipment, vehicles, buildings; but also they can be digital, such as applications, business processes, software, trademarks, up-to-date customer or client list on CRM software, copyrighted material, business websites, business blogs and so on.
As in today’s world importance of data keeps only growing, the online assets of your business is as valuable as physical ones –if not more. You can generate revenue on your digital assets by selling or licensing them. You can grow your business or improve the efficiency with the help of your online assets, or even attract new investors.
That is why you must protect your company’s online assets just like you protect the physical ones. In this article, we will discuss some key steps.
Before anything else, you must locate and list your online assets. Everything stored on the server of your business, a cloud account, on a network that are of value (something that you paid for and/or something that someone would pay for) is an online asset. Domain, e-mail accounts, advertising and social media accounts, login credentials of software and/or website, customer database, business-related images (pictures, diagrams, charts…), blogs, applications, software and source code developed over the years are some of the most important online assets that a business can have.
Establish and register ownership
When you listed all the assets, you must check the ownership and make sure that they are the property of the company. At this point you might need the help of an attorney for making your assets copyrighted such as names and content of the websites, social media accounts and blogs.
Designs, logos and such assets can be protected under a trademark whereas processes specific to your business can be patented.
Set and follow a security baseline policy that fits nature and needs of your business. Security baseline policy usually covers access rights, password policies and server hardening.
For online assets such as websites, social media accounts, advertising accounts and e-mail marketing software, review all users who have access, remove anyone that is not responsible with that asset or not working with you anymore. Review the e-mail addresses associated with your company and remove unused ones.
For advertising and social media accounts and everything else that has a similar nature, use a strong password and share it only with the authorized staff.
Keep track of the authorized users who can access the website and review their access levels regularly.
Back-up every online and digital asset your business has to protect all of them. Create and preserve a golden copy and a silver copy back-up sets. You might also need to consider sending a copy of data to another secure location. This practice is known as off-site back-up.
VTL (virtual type library) is another technology utilized for back-up and recovery. It allows storing the data as tape libraries or tape drives. Faster read performed media types such as optical media are commonly preferred over magnetic media.
In addition to the methods and technologies mentioned above, you should also consider cloud backup via supported tools.
Plan and organize
Don’t forget to include digital assets of your business in the agreements you sign. What will happen to your assets during and after a partnership? Which party will have what kind of access? Who will have the assets that are born under the partnership?
While considering the future of your online assets, don’t neglect to set up specific dates for backups and updates.