If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’re likely to have come across the term ‘Digital Assets’ and might have wondered what it meant. Ordinary assets are anything that possesses value. Digital Assets are merely digital valuables. It is the assets that exist in a digital format. From email accounts, social media profiles, cloud storage services, and eBooks to online shopping and magazine subscriptions, Digital Assets are all around us.
In their simplest form, Digital Assets are files that contain information that exists in a digital format on your computer system. It’s a substitute for the ‘documents’ of old.
Going digital means we no longer have to rely on paper to store and retrieve information. Even if you set aside the environmental significance of a paperless future, the benefits of going digital are still quite evident. Easier storage, management, retrieving of information, faster transfer of assets, the possibilities are endless.
To get a clearer understanding of the picture, let’s take a look at how Digital Assets differ from their physical counterparts
Physical assets occupy a great amount of space in the form of cabinets and sometimes even buildings. As they possess mass and require physical space, storage of physical assets can become a troublesome affair. On the other hand, Digital Assets can be stored with relative ease on hard drives or your own PC. The growth of the internet, and in turn cloud storage, has opened up an even wider gateway for their storage possibilities.
When it comes to Digital Assets, the primary threats arise from external sources in the form of hacking. This can be done internally but is almost always considered an external threat. Being relatively new, the process of protecting them is still in the works when compared to the complex systems in place to protect physical assets.
Tying into security, the vulnerabilities that can be targeted also vary between digital and physical assets. While Digital Assets are usually attacked by unseen/unknown threats hiding behind multiple layers of protection such as proxies, the threats to physical assets are much more ‘visible’ (think the robbers you see on a daily basis in the news).
Something regarding Digital Assets that is rarely talked about is what happens to them once an individual dies or becomes incapacitated. This is primarily due to technology being relatively new to the common folk, meaning many of its active users are yet to pass away. Unlike physical assets, which can be passed on via a will, what happens to your Digital Assets is dependent on the terms and policies of the services used by an individual. As they are shared between the individual and the service provider, their inheritance can become a tricky procedure.
Simply put, the more information you store, the harder it is to manage. As we are yet to reach a stage where passing down our Digital Assets is as convenient as passing down our physical assets, (such as the ownership of a house) complications may arise. That is where Digital Estate Planning comes in. You can use these Digital Estate Planning services to decide what happens to your Digital Assets after you pass on.
Being a relatively new idea, there is a certain lack of legislation when it comes to Digital Assets. This makes it hard to ascertain how much control you have over them. We are yet to figure out where to draw the line when it comes to your privacy and how far a company can involve itself with your Digital Assets.
As the world is moving towards a digital future, everything is becoming digitized. Instead of going to a restaurant, you can now order food from the comfort of your home. And with this digitization of life, new questions and problems arise such as the fate of your Digital Assets following your lifetime. Only by looking towards the future and taking the appropriate steps will we as humans move forward together.
Now that you’ve learned what Digital Assets are, you can secure them with the help of an Online Will or Digital Estate Plan.
Sign up with Clocr to start the journey of safeguarding your Digital Assets.