At Black Fin, we’re all about digital marketing. We work alongside a variety of clients to advance their branding online. We spend a lot of time advising the do’s and don’ts of SEO, content marketing, web design, and social media branding.
In the midst of all the web design best practices, latest SEO trends, content strategies, and social media updates, it’s easy to forget to protect your digital properties. No, it might not be as pressing as developing best SEO practices to increase your site’s ranking or strictly abiding by your content calendar to keep your site fresh, but managing and protecting your digital properties is crucial, nevertheless.
Because, without protecting your business’s digital property, you’re more susceptible to loss, theft, and much more.
As we’ll discuss in this post, it’s important to establish both strong management and protection systems for the digital property your company owns. That way, you can avoid the risk of property losses, which jeopardizes the health of your digital marketing brand.
What Are Digital Properties?
Before we get into the specifics of how to manage and protect your firm’s digital properties, let’s first establish what they are.
Digital property (sometimes called digital assets) is any information about your company or information that you have created, which is in digital (i.e., online or electronic) format. The aggregate of these properties is your digital estate.
Of course, there are many different categories of digital property, which usually fall into two main groups: Personal and business digital property.
Digital Business Property
Sure, digital property is anything about (or created by) your firm that’s available online. But, let’s get more specific.
Your company’s digital property can include (but is not limited to) the following:
- Your company’s website, web pages, blog posts, and other content;
- Social media accounts registered to your business;
- All other registered accounts that help your business operate;
- Any client data, including email lists, subscription lists, etc.;
- Any business data, including client transaction histories.
How to Manage Digital Properties
Now that you have a clearer idea of what digital properties are, it’s obvious that managing them properly is important – and, proper management becomes all the more important as your business grows and more assets are acquired.
Managing your digital properties involves, for example, establishing a database (and corresponding access) for storing and retrieving content, images, data lists, and more. But, the more assets you have, the more convoluted this becomes.
Here’s what we recommend for managing your digital property:
1. Choose a Workflow System
The first step toward comprehensively managing your firm’s digital property is to develop some system of workflow, whether using an internal server, the Cloud, specific software, or a local server.
Each has their advantages and disadvantages, but it’s necessary to have a centralized location for organizing and storing your digital property.
2. Develop the Workflow System
Once you’ve chosen a system for digital property management, it’s time to develop and organize all aspects of the interface. Here are the most important ones:
Determine Access Permissions
As you work out the details of your company’s new workflow system, you’ll need to determine which accesses should be given to certain members of your team. You’ll likely have several access choices, which could include some combination of the following:
- Full Approval Required – This level requires that users obtain approval before viewing, accessing, uploading, or downloading the content available.
- No Approval Required – Conversely, this level allows users to access and upload without approval.
- No Upload Permission – While users can view content, they are unable to upload anything onto the system.
Determine User Levels
In addition to access permissions, you can also designate specific user levels in accordance with access needs. User levels fall into the following categories:
- Basic Users – This level allows viewing (which can be restricted) but no upload access.
- General Users – These users can access content, as well as upload it to the system, with approval requirements.
- Advanced Users – This level gives full access to content, with no requirement for upload approval.
Similar to the keywords we use for SEO and content optimization, keywords are an essential part in helping to organize all content available on the management system.
Creating keyword lists that are intuitive and accurate can help save users time when they search the management system for what they’re looking for.
Use Categories to Organize Assets More Effectively
While determining access levels for firm members and deciding on the most effective keywords to use to retrieve content from your management system, also consider using categories to further organize your content. As your property grows, categories can become particularly useful.
Consider using categories such as the following:
- General Categories – These may include content that can be used across a variety of areas in your digital marketing plan, such as logos, images, and more.
- Project-Specific Categories – Categorizing your content based on projects can help ensure the right members have access to what they need, without having to sift through content that isn’t relevant to what they’re working on.
- Client Data Categories – Since this data is perhaps both the most important and sensitive, it may be wise to categorize it apart from other content for faster and more secure access.
3. Stay Ahead with Training and System Updates
Once your digital management system is set up, be sure to stay ahead of the game so that your system can experience optimal effectiveness.
As your company team grows, it’s important to remember that these systems – while incredibly helpful – aren’t necessarily intuitive. As such, don’t forget to implement a system training plan for new hires as well as periodic retraining for current personnel, to ensure that best system practices are always maintained.
Depending on the system you’ve chosen for your property management system, updates may happen automatically (e.g., the Cloud) or manually.
Make sure that your system is being updated regularly so that you can effectively employ all it has to offer.
How to Protect Your Digital Properties
Apart from just managing your digital property, you should have tools in place to protect your assets.
Digital property protection can help prevent many terrible things from happening to your company’s valuable digital data, including theft, infringement, and loss.
Here’s how you can better protect your digital property, once you’re managing it well:
1. Protect Intellectual Property
Since everything you publish online is widely and readily available to almost anyone, it’s wise to protect the intellectual property that your company has shared on its website and blog posts.
Securing trademarks is an effective way to guarantee that your company logo and any designs are protected against others using your material and pretending it’s their own.
Much of your website could be protected under copyright, such as images and the content from your web pages and blog posts. This can help prevent the unlawful use of your company’s photos, slogans, and content property.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not having personnel sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) is necessary; but, when in doubt, it’s probably a smart precaution.
In order for NDAs to be an effective “signal” to others that theft of company information is legally punishable, you’ll first have to establish ownership of the information you wish to protect.
2. Think into the Future
So, you’ve taken precautions to protect your digital property today, but what about in the future?
Depending on the size and structure of your business, it’s a good idea to factor digital property into any existing partnership agreements that you may have. This can help ensure the peaceful transition of digital property possession or ownership, should the structure of your company ever change.
If you’re a small, independent business-owner, include your digital property into any succession plans you have so that you can be confident your assets will remain protected.
3. Don’t Forget to Backup Your Property
It may seem unnecessary to say it, but you’d be surprised how many businesses have no backup in place for retrieving their digital information, should anything happen.
Having a backup – even a double backup – in place guarantees that the accumulation of your digital property won’t ever be lost.
Backing up is made much easier by having a digital management system. But, also consider an external hard-drive backup source as well as an online backup system.
Not Sure Whether Your Digital Properties Are Managed and Protected Properly?
Whether or not you realize it before jumping into the digital marketing sphere, your company’s digital properties are valuable assets that your business needs in order to thrive.
For this reason, extreme care should be taken to securely store and organize this information – not only for the sake of your company, but also for that of your personnel and your clients.
At Black Fin, we work with clients exclusively on all things digital marketing, which includes helping to manage and protect your digital properties.
Whether you’re seeking services in SEO, web design, content marketing, social media management, pay-per-click ads, or you’re simply interested in learning more about how to safely store the content that’s created for all these aspects of your digital marketing plan, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more.