An estimated 80% of businesses are or already have begun digitization efforts, and most new businesses start out digitized. But, while digitization reduces costs and generates direct profit for 84% of involved organizations, it gives rise to new complications like digital asset management, security, servers, and technical issues like bandwidth. Creating digital resource management can be costly and time-consuming, but failing to do so will cost your business more.
If your organization is in the process of or on the verge of digitizing, already use digital resources and need improvement, or want to move digital resources to a point where you can scale, this 7-step checklist for managing your digital resources will help. Importantly, if your organization is large enough, you can likely afford to simply invest in digital asset management software, which functions to handle most of the non-technical aspects of digital resource management.
1) Integrate User Access Management
User access management allows you to define who can access which files and when. This is important for any organization with compliance or security issues.
The 2019 Global Data Risk Report from Varonis estimates that only 5% of business files and folders are access restricted. Most people only need access to files and folders relevant to their work.
Access management allows your organization to integrate better control and security, to automatically create change logs, and to link change logs to individual users.
What does user access management do? Every user in the system receives a unique user identification, linked to their name, employee number, and email. Their account is linked to permissions based on team, work, and level, which is, in turn, linked to access permissions for relevant files and folders.
The idea is that everyone has access to what they need but no more, which limits malicious and accidental sharing, but also limits accidental changes, limits hacker access in case passwords are stolen, and limits the damage a virus or malware program can do from a single device.
2) Implement Password Matrixes
It’s very common for organizations to utilize legacy tools with one user account with a single shared password. It’s also very common for everyone to create their own passwords, which can be less than secure. Implementing password matrixes using either custom tooling or existing tools like LastPass, Keeper, or 1Password allow you to implement secure, central control.
Here, all passwords are stored in an encrypted vault and delivered to individuals based on user access management. When someone wants to log into something, they use the tool, and never have to remember or forget a password.
This improves the security of digital resources while reducing waste time related to lost passwords and password resets. Plus, you can securely share legacy software across teams without creating a cybersecurity risk.
3) Optimize Servers, Networks, and Online Storage
Severs, networks, and online storage are often a major bottleneck for digitizing businesses. Existing networks may not have the capacity to keep up with new traffic, API requests from new digital and cloud tools, or new data load. It’s important to review your network including servers, network, and total storage capacity (including cloud) to:
- Streamline data transfers
- Prioritize traffic during peak usage
- Organize data
- Maintain quality
Here, some network reorganization or reprioritization may be necessary, but you will have to involve IT. What is changing, why, and how much? What can the network handle?
4) Automate Processes
Digital resources are cost-effective because they can be automated and streamlined. Most organizations run a considerable number of processes which can be automated, often to improve the quality of the process by reducing manual error. Some of these include:
- Daily server backups
- Traffic re-routing and optimization
- Document backups and copies
- Document filing
- Documentation (Change logs, comments, etc.)
- Activity monitoring
Automation means that manual and repetitive processes and workflows can simply manage themselves. This includes simple items like transferring documents to print, approving documents for print or shipment, creating backlogs, etc. Chances are, your tooling already supports automating these processes, which will greatly improve management.
5) Enforce Standards Across the Organization
It’s critical that everyone on your organization be on the same (digital) page. Everyone must use the same standards, processes, file types, and software where possible. Creating a uniform digital environment means that everything is easy to organize, catalog, and control. This is especially important for tagging, filing, organizing, and storing digital resources. Some processes which should be standardized across the organization include:
- Sharing/Sending Files
- Email protocol
- File formats for documents, images, graphic resources, etc.
If you can standardize formats and processes across the organization, everyone can easily interact with everyone else, and one person can easily manage digital files.
6) Consider Cybersecurity
Digital resources create new cybersecurity risks, but these change depending on your organization, your industry, and whether you’re using physical servers or the cloud. Any server, SaaS program, or API is vulnerable and it’s important to take steps to protect it.
This may mean leveraging cloud tooling with built-in encryption. It may mean sandboxing at-risk apps or files to keep them away from the rest of the server. It may mean implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity risk assessment and integrating new processes and standards to protect your organization.
At minimum you should run a network firewall, use automation to scan for malware, encrypt data transfers, and encrypt servers. It’s also critical to ensure that software and firmware stays up to date across every device on your network, including routers, servers, printers, and workstations, because any of them could become an entry point for a hacker, putting your digital resources at risk.
7) Train Employees to Use Digital Resources
The less familiar your employees are with a technology, the more critical it is to implement training as part of digitization or optimization efforts. Conduct an analysis to determine how proficient individuals and teams are with the technology they are using and implement digital or in-person training for remediation wherever necessary.
Some key points typically include:
- Organization-wide standards/processes
- Utilizing specific tooling such as Office, Adobe, etc.
- Using the VPN, sever, etc.
- Using new print setups
- How automation works and what it’s doing
Training heavily depends on which programs you’re using, how much automation you’re using, and how familiar employees are with digital.
Digital resource management is often about creating standards across the organization, ensuring that existing networks and tools can handle traffic, optimizing digital file management including backups, storage, and security, and processes. And, you have to ensure that everyone using digital resources knows how to use them, can access them securely, and that change and access management protocols are in place.