A significant number of your digital assets, whether personal or professional, are now digital in this current age. The transfer of business practices, records, and even storefronts from a mostly physical world to a digital plain has developed rapidly over the last couple decades. Because of this, we are increasingly concerned about the security of our digital assets. After all, digital threats are different than physical threats.
This means a new world of digital asset protection, primarily in terms of data privacy and security. While we often define data security and privacy differently — privacy involves storing and using data safely. In contrast, security involves fighting and protecting against malware and cyber attacks. Most of the practices used apply to both on some level. Of course, both are extremely important, and many of the practices you use for one will affect the other.
A huge part of digital asset management is simply being aware. If you can keep your ear to the ground about what is going on in digital asset management and protection, as well as cybersecurity in general, you will already be a step ahead of both someone who does not, and those with ill intent.
Software and Tools
It is important that you enlist security measures when it comes to protecting your information. Indeed, this means using the proper malware prevention software, storage tools, and secure servers when storing your info. Additionally, having a backup of your data is essential in case something should happen.
You’re probably aware of the cloud by now, which is changing digital asset management as we know it. In fact, some companies are even adopting “bring your own device” policies (more on that below) because of the popularization of mobile devices and being able to access cloud storage from anywhere.
Outside of the cloud, new measures are always being developed to help you protect your server. Some of the current ones are SSH keys, virtual private networks, encryption, and firewalls. Notably, these are always evolving and changing. It seems like the most commonly used firewall right now is Fortinet Fortigate, which offers anti-malware and a firewall, as well as other standard security options for a business server.
Additionally, it is important to make sure your security and privacy software and tools are updated to their most secure and recent updates. Updating your malware software and other security software is cybersecurity 101. However, despite a significant amount of progress in terms of data security and privacy, much of the newest technology goes untested and unused. This is unfortunate because it leaves businesses using outdated privacy tools and gives hackers a hand up on them.
Trust in the Digital Age
Though personal management systems are incredibly valuable in terms of data organization, they do leave you open for some new risks. Rutgers University writers explain this in their overview of personal information management:
There are many ways in which personal information can be criminally accessed or compromised.For example, a disgruntled employee may use network privileges to covertly steal important files (75 percent of inside employees stole material they were authorized to access). Additionally, on e can exploit security flaws in a network remotely to steal important digital assets. Because of this, information scientists should routinely review their firm’s information security policies. This will ensure that firewalls and network authorization protocols are will prevent unacceptable behavior.
You have to be aware of who you trust with your most treasured and potentially compromising information. Therefore, do not give your employees private access to financial information or personal data belonging to other employees. Additionally, do not give them any passwords they do not need.
Furthermore, before you enlist any third-party help in digital asset management or security, do your research on them. After all, just because a company boasts their own prowess and has a decent website does not mean their product works well. Look for reviews online and read the write-ups that sites like PC Mag publish fairly regularly about the software or service in question. Spending this little bit of extra time could save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Prepare for the Mobile Landscape
Data security concerns have risen due to the growth of mobile internet use in recent years. We now live in a world where smartphone internet usage exceeds desktop usage. This means that employees’ smartphones could be security risks while connected to your network. Fortunately, there are several ways that businesses are addressing this that you may be able to learn from.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham recently published a piece on this matter and addressed mobile security issues: “Businesses, government offices, and even educational institutions are vulnerable to security breaches through mobile devices. Hackers access sensitive digital assets any way they can, so keeping mobile devices secure is of vital importance at all times.” It is worth noting that many companies have been giving their employees mobile devices equipped with software to help track security measures and employee activity. Additionally, some companies are training employees in mobile security practices, as they may not know about potential security risks.
Unsecured Wi-Fi, no password protection, and malicious mobile apps are dangers to your cybersecurity. You have to be aware that your smartphone may be easier to hack than you think.
Use the Cloud
One of the best protective measures afforded to us by the digital age is the cloud. Now, it is important to understand that the security provided by the cloud isn’t foolproof by any means, and that this new technology — while improving all the time — has its own set of threats to address. For instance, remember the iCloud leak of celebrity photos in 2014? Many people saw ICloud as very secure at the time. However, the incident was a wake-up call to many cloud users to take extra preventive measures.
Cloud companies have had to step up their game. There are several ways that cloud companies are increasing their security measures, including protection measures against DDoS and constantly updating their infrastructures. The nice thing about using a third-party cloud system is that cloud computers are always updating their practices and becoming stronger.
However, you still have to be reasonable, and it is okay to be selective with the information you store on the cloud. For instance, it may be wise to organize and keep your photos on cloud systems you can trust, such as Google Drive. It is also not a bad idea to ensure that your medical records are stored in a more secure cloud service, and that those physical records you’ve digitized are shredded.
Understand the Value of Information
Lastly, but maybe most importantly, securing your information starts with truly understanding how important it is. While practically anyone will agree that having losing data is bad, it doesn’t seem to resonate with people enough for them to take the proper actions to protect it. But in a digital age, your data is everything.
In a 2017 study of 1,500 Americans, less than half of the sample group were changing their passwords regularly. Additionally, most don’t read terms and conditions when using a new app, product, or service. While many people are “concerned” about their data information, it begs the question how concerned they really are if they won’t actually take the easy measures required to protect themselves. A general understanding is not enough — it needs to be real to them.
What are Your Digital Assets Worth?
It is possible that an in-depth understanding of an individual’s internet worth may put the need to protect their digital assets into a different context. In fact, within the black market, an individual’s name, credit card information, e-mail address, phone number, social security number, and so on can fetch quite a price. These are the most important digital assets to protect online. As a business owner, if any of that is compromised, your whole company could suffer — and everything you’ve worked could be taken away from you.
So there are a lot of options for protecting your data, but it all starts with a proper understanding of the threat. Once the threat is identified, you can start to enlist the proper safety measures. Just make sure you know who you can trust, you’re constantly updating your software and tools, and you have your ear to the ground about new threats and security practices.
What has worked for you in protecting your digital assets? Feel free to drop your advice in the comments below!