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How to Ensure Your Asset Security as a Designer

How to Ensure Your Asset Security as a Designer

Designers bridge the gap between art and commerce. They enrich our lives by creatively making the digital and physical world more accessible and aesthetically pleasing. It requires talent, knowledge, and perseverance to create memorable designs. Sadly, stealing and devaluing their creative work also takes little effort.

As a designer interested in protecting their intellectual property, the first thing to do is familiarise yourself with associated laws and regulations. The second is to start using the tools we suggest below during all stages of the creative process. That way, you'll have all bases covered. 

Encrypted Cloud Storage

What Is Cloud Enablement Solutions

Moving your assets to the cloud might seem daunting, but the advantages outweigh the challenges. Keeping files exclusively on physical drives is limiting. It makes them inaccessible if your computer is off, and there's no automatic version syncing.

More importantly, an asset that exists only in this way is vulnerable. A physical malfunction, natural disaster, or theft can instantly wipe out years of your work or a vital ongoing project. Secure cloud storage tackles all these risks and more. 

For example, ransomware and phishing scams cause irreparable financial harm and reputation loss to companies and individuals. You may lose access to vital files, or hackers might steal them if your machine gets infected. Not keeping anything of value locally will soften the blow. Plus, you can still work on the files from elsewhere.

Encryption is essential for handling and protecting sensitive files like design prototypes and other trade secrets. It covers storing and transferring such files, ensuring that only you and the recipient can make sense of their contents.

Backing up all your work is another way cloud storage can help. It's only a proper backup if multiple copies exist at different physical locations. The cloud eliminates the need to invest in server hardware elsewhere. Storing assets in the cloud automatically creates numerous backups. This protects them from degradation while guaranteeing unlimited access if one of the provider's servers has issues. 

Digital Asset Management Platforms

Digital Asset Management or DAM tools address one of the most persistent dangers to your assets – lack of organisation. With a DAM, you can more easily keep track of projects and save them at different stages of development for later use.

They also make collaboration with others more streamlined since everyone has access to the same file version. Conversely, you can set the DAM's permissions so that only colleagues working on a particular project can access the files assigned to them. 

Watermarking Software

Your creations might be your property, but that will not deter thieves from stealing your IP. Powerful watermarking software may.

Watermarking is an essential protective measure that allows others to appreciate your work without exploiting it. The best tools won't just overlay your assets with watermarks. They'll generate signatures, metadata, QR codes, and other means of authenticity. These are invaluable in establishing ownership and pursuing legal rights should plagiarism occur.

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A Password Manager

Best Password Manager For Mac Computers

Productive designers use software suites, online services, and collaboration tools. All of these require accounts. Add email and social media; you have more passwords than anyone can handle. People reuse or use easy-to-guess passwords to cope, which is one of the worst things you could do for your cybersecurity.

You might be using 123RF to source or sell stock images. Did you know a data breach hit the site a few years ago? The hackers exposed over 8 million user entries, including account names, passwords, and email addresses. Many more accounts could be at risk if you used similar credentials elsewhere.

Password managers take the tedium from login creation to securing your passwords. They'll replace each password with a long and unique string of characters. It would take ages to brute force. Meanwhile, you only need to remember a master password to apply, manage, and replace the rest.

A Protected Portfolio

Your portfolio is your greatest asset. It showcases your skills and competencies to prospective clients and gives them an idea of what to expect if they hire you.

Maintaining a public portion of your portfolio is great for exposure and connecting with your audience and colleagues. However, you'll want to protect your best work from plagiarism by controlling who can view it and when.

Protecting your portfolio is the way to go. After setting the portfolio up on a separate website, it's straightforward to cordon it or parts of it off with passwords. Given that you do product design but also dabble in architectural visualisation. Depending on the opportunity, you'll want to steer prospective clients to one or the other.

Doing so is as simple as generating a link. The great thing about these is that you can restrict them to a single client. If a prospect doesn't pan out, you may also have the links expire after a set time to refuse access.

Two-Factor Authentication

Wp 2Fa Two Factor Authentication

Password managers improve account security considerably. But they can't protect you from human error. Someone might look over your shoulder and copy it or create a sophisticated scam email to coax the password out of you.

That's why password managers and 2FA go hand in hand. The former provides strong account protection, while the other serves as an additional barrier to entry.

Authenticators ask that you provide another means on top of the password. These are usually one-time codes sent to your smartphone or authenticator app. If both are active, nothing short of an unlikely simultaneous password and smartphone theft can compromise your accounts.

Wrapping up on Asset Security

Designers must protect their creative assets in today's digital world. The keys are being proactive, using available legal protections, establishing clear contracts, carefully selecting clients, and maintaining good records. While asset theft is unfortunate, designers can minimise risks by registering copyrights, trademarks and patents, using watermarks, avoiding speculative work, clearly delineating asset ownership, and pursuing legal action if needed. 

With smart practices, designers can feel confident sharing their work while safeguarding their livelihood. In an ideal world, business ethics would make theft obsolete, but until then, creatives must take precautions to secure what is rightfully theirs. By taking the proper steps in asset security, designers can flourish while fully owning the fruits of their talents and insights.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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