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Real estate or land might come to mind first when thinking of assets, but the term is no longer limited to the physical realm. For example, companies make millions through the strength of their logos & marketing campaigns. Similarly, your favorite artist might only have an online portfolio.
Such digital assets are much more vulnerable than physical ones. Which tools and strategies should you use to protect them? This article holds the answers.
What Are Digital Assets?
A digital asset is any intangible material you or your company own that holds value. Think logos, social media accounts, and media files used to form a brand identity. Sensitive databases, patents, marketing strategies, or intellectual property are also crucial digital assets that need safeguarding.
Companies aren’t the only ones with digital assets to guard. For example, freelancers handle sensitive information or do design work for companies, so they need to be as mindful as the clients they work with.
Which Cybersecurity Solutions Should You Use?
Disregarding digital asset safety is a recipe for disaster. Especially since cyberattack threats grow and evolve. Luckily, creating a comprehensive cybersecurity toolkit is straightforward and not overly expensive for individuals and companies alike.
Run the latest versions of your OS and software
Let’s start with the simplest recommendation, keeping everything up to date. Holding on to old versions of programs you use is never a good idea. The older they are, the greater the chance a hacker can use known exploits to help them gain access to your system. It’s often enough to tick a box for automatic updates to run.
The latest versions come with security patches and new features. Vigilant developers will discover vulnerabilities even before a criminal does and can roll out hotfixes in record time to address them.
Use firewalls and antivirus / anti-malware
A firewall represents your network’s first line of defense. It monitors and filters incoming data, making sure that as few threats as possible make it onto your system(s). Firewalls aren’t all-powerful, though.
Viruses, Trojans, Ransomware, and other harmful code can sometimes circumvent even the most advanced firewalls. Antivirus and anti-malware programs won’t stop such threats from infiltrating your computer. However, they can identify, quarantine, and delete millions of them before they have a chance to cause harm.
Having a single copy of your digital assets isn’t enough. Ransomware might get onto your system and lock it up, forcing you to pay to resume normal operations. There’s also the matter of power outages, natural disasters, and other physical threats.
Keeping backups mitigates these disasters since you always have a failsafe. Following the 3-2-1 rule will give you the most peace of mind.
The rule states that you should create at least three copies of your digital assets. Two need to be in different formats, e.g., one copy can be on a local disk drive while the other is in cloud storage. Lastly, one copy should always be off-site.
How frequently to back up depends on the volume of data your activities generate. Regardless of frequency, backups are most useful if they’re regular.
Use a VPN
Maintaining secure connections has become challenging in the post-COVID, WFH world. Negligent behavior like connecting to the company network from public Wi-Fi can expose company secrets, payment information, and any digital assets accessed during such a session.
VPNs markedly improve security when dealing with outside access. They encrypt the entire connection, establishing a tunnel where information can travel securely from and to company servers. That gives employees the freedom to do their jobs from elsewhere while maintaining high cybersecurity standards.
Moreover, some providers can offer additional protection with other security tools to help you safeguard your online data and privacy. You can take NordVPN bundle deals as an example. Make sure to use all benefits each VPN-providing company might be offering to the fullest.
The tips we shared so far cover outside threats and human negligence, but what about malicious insiders? Anyone from disgruntled ex-employees to immoral individuals with insider access could do much damage.
Establishing an access hierarchy and logging reduces insider threats and helps identify tampering sooner. No one should be able to alter or view digital assets unless it’s part of their duties. Even then, it’s best to grant temporary access and automatically revoke all privileges once they are no longer part of the team.
Educate others on cybersecurity basics
Every measure we discussed so far aims to reduce human error. Yet, you can’t combat cyber threats effectively if people aren’t aware of their bad behavior. Instilling good habits like updating and using strong passwords or recognizing how not to fall for a phishing scam takes little to no investment but is highly effective.