As a professional, you work hard to keep your personal and business life in order. So, when it comes to safeguarding your business digital assets – social media profiles, blog, emails, domain name, hosting and more, you should take every precaution possible. It’s not enough for someone else to have the key, you need to hold on tight too!
Think of it this way, if you were robbed or lost all your belongings at home but had a spare set of keys hidden somewhere safe at work, wouldn’t that make you feel better? Think about how much worse it’d be if they found out where the real key was!
It’s worth taking 15 minutes right now to change these passwords so nobody can ever access them again.
Your business has many assets, both physical and digital. Owning physical assets is easy because they are in your possession and you know where they are. You generally have a key so that you can have exclusive or shared access.
Maintaining your business’ digital assets, website, hosting, social media and Google My Business etc., is equally important.
Why Do You Need to Control Your Business Digital Assets?
Your digital assets are important digital reflections of your business, your industry and you as an individual. They provide valuable digital marketing data used by search engines, social media sites and digital marketers to recommend your business or brand to potential customers and/or clients.
Even more importantly, digital assets can be the key to protecting your business reputation online which is so essential nowadays.
Oftentimes your business digital assets will be the first time someone is exposed to your company. If that digital asset isn’t up to your standards or is in any way misleading, it could prejudice their opinion of you and your business.
What Business Digital Assets Do You Control?
It may be difficult for you to answer who owns the digital assets related to your business, especially because digital assets can easily contain information from several parties such as webmasters, marketing agencies or employees.
Many digital assets don’t belong to your business, in fact often digital assets are considered the Intellectual Property of the webmaster. For example:
- Your website may be owned by a host company or domain name provider and you may only have permission to use that site.
- Social media pages like Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter may be maintained by a social media management company.
- Digital assets like your digital brochure may be created by a marketing agency and they may be entitled to ownership of that digital asset.
- Digital assets such as photos on Flickr or YouTube videos etc. can often belong to an individual, not the business who uses them.
- Digital assets such as Google Maps searches might fall under copyright laws.
Register Your Domain Name
Your domain name is a valuable digital asset, use it wisely and never lose it.
Buy a domain from a registrar. There are countless sites where you can purchase a legacy domain name from, two examples are GoDaddy and Namecheap. For an uncensorable and decentralised domain name on the blockchain, try Gateway.
It can cost as little as $10 p/a to reserve and register a domain name (SLD). The advantages of purchasing your domain name is that you will prevent others from owning your digital asset in the future by registering it first.
Note: Don’t lose your username and password! These are the keys to your site. Lose the keys and you lose control of your business’ website.
Maintain your digital assets. With digital assets you need to ensure they are being maintained and stored online or securely offline before they are lost.
It is like maintaining a house, if you don’t maintain it then the house will decay or become dilapidated. Examples of digital asset maintenance include digital asset backups and storage, website edits and annual web hosting renewals. Create a SOP and make the process a part of business maintenance program.
Hosting Your Website
So now you have your new domain name. What now? You need a company to host your domain name on the internet.
What is hosting? Hosting refers to where your website files are stored on the internet, which ultimately equates to the servers and the company that has your digital assets.
You could host your website where you purchased the domain name but it is preferable to host it on a dedicated hosting provider like Siteground or BlueHost.
Dedicated hosting ensures that your website or blog is completely independent of all other digital assets. Your digital asset is your digital asset and no one else’s digital asset should reside on the same server.
You’re now going to have another username and password associated with this account. Again, it’s extremely important you don’t lose these.
Once your domain is hosted you can now access your cPanel. Make sure you become familiar with this dashboard. The cPanel gives you access to file management, email addresses and other important administrative aspects of the website.
Your web developer is the one who will generally work inside the cPanel, however you need to know where the keys are in case something happens.
If you’re currently renting your digital assets such as hosting, website and email accounts from a third party, now is the time to ensure you have your username, email and passwords up to date.
It’s incredibly simple to have control over all aspects of your digital asset management (DAM). It is certainly worth spending 10 or fifteen minutes now to update and store your passwords in a secure place now.
Creating Your website
This is where the magic happens. You have two options for this depending on how tech savvy you are:
1) Coding – This is where the developer writes your website from scratch using well known coding and other tools no doubt. However it’s not as simple as DIY.
2) Do it yourself – there are plenty of site building tools in the marketplace that make this task both easy and fun. If using a DIY service you will most likely be able to use drag-and-drop methods of building your entire site. It can be that easy to get a basic site up! A couple of popular DIY services are WordPress and Wix.
Maintain the login for your website as well, otherwise you’ll have a site that can’t be accessed or updated.
Other Digital Assets that Your Business Should Have:
- Facebook business page
- Linkedin business page
- Google My Business (GMB)
- YouTube channel
- Business Citations (Yelp, Australia247 and Zipleaf etc.)
What are some of the problems that can cause you to lose control of your digital assets?
You may lose your digital assets if you don’t have a digital asset management system (DAM).
In order to take control, you need to set up a digital asset management system. This is not difficult and there are many systems that allow you to search for digital content using metadata such as title, date of creation and name
Likewise store all your email, usernames and passwords associated with all your accounts securely and never disclose to a third party.
If you don’t have your digital assets backed up somewhere off-site, then they could be at risk of being lost or deleted. This is especially true for cloud storage services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Have a Backup Plan
What happens if you or the person who manages your digital assets becomes sick or passes away? If you don’t have the keys yourself you are at risk.
What if the person who manages your digital assets becomes hostile towards you or your business. They can make things very difficult for you.
If you have the keys to the digital assets then you need to have a transition plan in case something happens to you.
The reason for this is if you are the sole holder and don’t have such a plan and you pass away or become seriously incapacitated, then your assets will die with you.
If you are a business owner, it is important to know that your digital assets may increase the net worth of your company. When it comes to selling your business, the new owners will want them as part of the deal.
This means that not only should you be thinking about securing and protecting all your login information for these accounts but also having an exit strategy in case you want to sell someday down the road.
Selling with confidence can be difficult when there’s no plan in place – which is why we’re here!
Nowadays, it’s not just your company that has digital assets. Almost everything you do on the Internet does too, whether it be an email account or a social media profile.
Keeping track of all these different accounts can be difficult and confusing (don’t fall into the trap of using the same password for everything!), but they are also extremely important because each one is worth something to somebody else.
If someone were able to access them without permission, they could do some serious damage to your business and even sell it for their own personal gain!
Having good password security practices in place will help protect your valuable business digital assets.
If you want peace of mind then contact Marc Phillips, South East Queensland’s most driven business broker about selling your business and digital assets with confidence.
Do You Have the Keys to Your Business Digital Assets?
Sydney born, having spent six years serving the community as a New South Wales Police Officer before deciding to relocate to the UK where he pursued his passion for sales, the financial markets and the real estate industry.
15 years as a licensed agent, ten of those years in fast-paced markets of the USA and the UK, Marc is an expert in business brokerage.
Business owners are invited to consider Marc when seeking a business to buy or sell in Queensland with local knowledge in the South East Queensland market including Brisbane, Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and the Darling Downs.
Local knowledge and surgical negotiation skills mean a keen eye on every detail. Marc has a profound knowledge of legal frameworks in all aspects of business acquisition and sales process.