We live in the digital age, where businesses in multiple industries are increasingly shifting their attentions online.
This has gradually changed the nature of commercial assets over the course of the last 20 years, from those that are typically corporeal (think of buildings, equipment and vehicles, for example) to others that exist solely online. Known colloquially as digital assets, they’re becoming increasingly valuable to businesses and include examples such as online content, operational processes, native apps and any intellectual property (IP).
In this post, we’ll ask how you can protect your digital assets and safeguard the future of your business’s future. Here are some ideas to keep in mind:
1. Locate and List your Assets
Ultimately, this process starts when you begin to locate and list your assets, and this is important as it enables you to take a comprehensive approach towards managing and protecting these efficiently.
This list should include anything of value that exists online and pertains to your brand, from your website to the logo that sits at the top of the homepage.
Pay particular attention to assets that are proprietary and exclusive to your brand, as these hold innate value and may also be targeted by rival firms who want to steal a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
2. Establish Ownership and Value
By prioritising your digital assets in this way, you can begin to identify ownership and take the necessary steps to protect the ones that belong to your business.
Let’s say that you own a proprietary technology that’s crucial to your business’s success, with this having been developed in-house by a team of designers or engineers. It’s your duty to patent this where possible and prevent your rivals from adopting it unfairly, or at least create a scenario where you can pursue legal action in the worst-case scenario.
You’ll need some expert assistance with this, with firms such as Withers extremely knowledgeable in the field of IP.
As a result, they can advise whether you have something that can be successfully patented in the first place, before taking practical steps to safeguard this asset for real.
3. Create Fixed and Protective Agreements
One of the best ways to secure your assets and your business as a whole is to create viable legal agreements, which are protective in nature and written in tremendous depth.
The level of detail featured in these agreements is critical; as vague or poorly worded contracts create loopholes, misunderstandings and the potential for litigation in the future.
These documents should include non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for the employees, clients and consultants who are involved in your venture, as this helps to keep your assets secure and puts individuals on notice that theft of digital assets will result in legal action.