Protect Your Digital Assets

Digital estate plans are effective ways by which you can successfully protect yourself online. They can help you safeguard yourself against identity theft and the illegal reception of monetary information regarding your business finances as well as private files, like insurance paperwork.

When you run a business and your company has a digital footprint in even the smallest of ways, you will be placing your customer-related data, all financial information and various project files into digital forms. All these assets hold value for you as a business, too.

Digital assets do not have to be items that you own. They could instead simply be material that you have purchased, such as a song that you have bought online.

While you have purchased the song, you do not necessarily own the rights to the music. The song is a digital asset, but it is not a digital asset that you own. On the other hand, digital assets that your business does fully own might not be tangible.

While some digital assets might be found on your company’s servers, other digital assets may be stored as part of the cloud. But how will these digital assets be managed and then distributed in the event that you are either incapacitated or deceased?

Digital assets encompass bank accounts, gaming accounts and loyalty programs among an array of other internet-based accounts. In the modern day, even cryptocurrency falls into the category of digital accounts to an extent. For instance, an account through a crypto platform such as Coinbase would be considered a digital asset, but the actual asset itself would be part of the estate.

What are the best ways to preserve your information and assets online?

  • Blockchain.
    • Use blockchains to ensure that your digital assets cannot be compromised.
    • This type of technology can help you track your digital assets online.
  • Cloud asset management.
    • This provides security over digital assets uploaded to the cloud.
    • Cloud asset management can reduce the costs of digital asset protection as well.
  • Data encryption.
    • This is important for the sake of preserving your digital assets.
    • Data encryption ensures password protection for your digital assets.
  • Detailed plans and outlines.
    • Hire a digital executor to draft your digital estate plan.
    • Ensure that credentials are in place to establish legality of the document.
    • Mention the digital estate plan within your personal will.
    • Keep your digital estate plan as up to date and accurate as possible.
  • Digital asset management.
    • Create an organizational system to categorize your digital assets.
    • Keep your digital property as well preserved as possible.

When establishing digital preservation and asset protection, setting up the values of your assets must be done in cost-effective and accessible ways. In other words, think about the collaboration of corporate assets. You can establish permissions that make it possible for you to determine who can view, edit or download files regarding your digital assets.

Here are examples of digital assets:

  • Apps — All digital applications that have been developed for use by your business.
  • Customer databases — Information regarding your clients, ranging from email addresses to phone numbers and physical addresses.
  • Digital content — Company websites, domains, domain-related information and content posted on the site.
  • Imagery — Photographs, illustrations or videos that have been made for business-related purposes and with the intention of use by your company.
  • Proprietary processes — Company policies and procedures that could be sold to other businesses, such as workflows or internal invoice tracking systems.
  • Registered intellectual property — Material that is considered intellectual property and can be sold for profit, such as company logos.
  • Social media — Social media accounts across all platforms as well as every post and the information included in each post.

As you set out to protect your digital assets, you can start by creating a baseline standard for valuations of digital assets. Also, limit how many people have access to your valuation process.

Doing so will reduce the risk of theft or compromised plans. Furthermore, make use of employee agreements or team member contracts that state they will uphold confidentiality regarding business-related matters.

Last but not least, you can register many digital assets as a way of proving your ownership over them. Likewise, you can copyright the content posted to your business website. No matter what, it is vital to ensure that all your digital assets are covered and protected when dealing with any form of succession planning.

A comprehensive estate plan can ensure that your loved ones do not have to comb through years of online data from your business-related accounts. And while digital assets might not be physical items, they still retain their real-life value.

You do not ever want to risk the loss of your documents, sentimental belongings, money or other forms of physical items, so why put your digital property in harm’s way? While intangible, digital assets are still considered your property in the eyes of the law, so you might as well treat them as though they are no different from all other forms of tangible property.

Why not set up a digital vault that can hold your account numbers and passwords all in one place? From there, you can grant your executor and your attorney access to the master key so that your loved ones can retrieve this information if you pass away.

Reach out to Roz Carothers and her team at Triplett & Carothers to learn more.