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By Chester Avey
Fri | Sep 15, 2023 | 11:50 AM PDT

Businesses need to demonstrate more flexibility and agility than ever, especially when it comes to protecting their reputation, finances, and—the topic of this article—assets.

Business media assets have become exceptionally valuable intellectual property for brands in recent years. With cyberattacks and data breaches on the rise, it's become especially important for brands to ensure their assets are sufficiently safeguarded, particularly as more of their infrastructure migrates to support remote systems to cloud-based platforms and their services become more reliant on the internet.

Data breaches that compromise proprietary media content can be financially frustrating at best, and completely shatter an organization's reputation at worst.

Looking at the disastrous Colonial Pipeline hack as a glaring example of the importance of stringent safeguards—not to mention the growth in ransomware attacks on enterprises—implementing robust security measures is a must. Furthermore, considering that threats exist from both external malicious actors like cybercriminals and also within a company's infrastructure, the need to adopt a multi-layered cybersecurity defense strategy has become all the more imperative.

Fortunately, there are some basic, fundamental practices that businesses can implement straight away to bolster their cybersecurity posture, which have been outlined in this guide. But first, let's look at what constitutes a digital media asset, what threats brands with them face, and the immediate steps they can take to safeguard them and, by extension, their reputations and finances.

What are digital media assets?

Digital media assets encompass various types of proprietary files and content, including:

  • Graphics, photos, and videos used in marketing campaigns, corporate communications, and training and sales materials. These can be trademarked and copyrighted by the business or simply be original material created by someone within the company, even if the camera or video gear belongs to them. MPB's security advice is to remove any personal data from SD cards or storage media if you acquire any used camera and video gear.

  • Audio files like recorded meetings, quarterly earnings calls, podcasts, commercial radio advertisements, and so on

  • Presentation decks, infographics, charts, and other visual assets used in internal or external communications

  • Confidential documentation like prototypes, product warranties, design schematics, patents, and legal agreements

  • Software code bases, databases, and other internally-curated intellectual property

These assets may be stored physically on company media servers and devices, as well as in cloud repositories. Regardless of how a company's assets are accessed and used, it’s the security protocols they establish that prevent these assets from falling into the wrong hands.

What threats do digital media assets face?

Cyberattacks can take many forms and have evolved exponentially with the emergence of accessible tools and unrestricted internet access. If a business is too lax about safeguarding its assets, that sensitive data could be seized quickly and easily, and it could prove very difficult to get that information back.

Here are just some of the types of cybercrime that could jeopardize the safety of digital media assets:

  • External attacks: Cybercriminals may attempt to breach company networks or systems to steal sensitive assets through phishing emails, brute force, or DDoS attacks. Furthermore, these malicious actors could possibly lock the company's end-users from accessing their devices and assets until a ransom is paid.

  • Insider threats: Disgruntled or negligent employees may improperly access, share, or leak confidential media assets without authorization. Companies may fail to revoke access to shared systems once an employee leaves, thus giving them impetus to evoke some sort of "revenge."

  • Device theft or loss: Media assets stored locally on company devices could be compromised if the equipment is lost or stolen. Should these devices be instantly accessible, the new user may wish to use these devices for malicious purposes.

  • Cloud threats: Assets stored in cloud repositories could be exposed in the event of misconfigured security settings, vulnerabilities that have not been patched in software updates, or if the cloud provider suffers a large-scale breach.

  • Transmission interception: Media files shared across the internet or company intranets may be intercepted or copied during transmission, particularly if the networks are not encrypted with sufficient protocols.

If proprietary media content is compromised, it can have severe financial, competitive, and reputational damage given that this intellectual property is often closely guarded. Companies may face high ransom demands, a loss of competitive advantage if assets are leaked, and brand damage if sensitive materials become public. For eCommerce businesses and all companies that rely on developing a strong consumer reputation built on trust, vigilance and security are key.

How to secure your digital media assets effectively

Given the sensitivities around digital media security, robust cyber defense strategies are required. Here are some expanded best practices which are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to instilling wider security measures.

Access controls

  • Leverage identity verification and access management solutions to tie access to central user accounts and enforce minimum privileges. This ensures that only approved, authorized staff with file-level permissions can access sensitive media.

  • Institute stringent password policies across all media management platforms, including mandated password complexity, frequent rotation, and multi-factor authentication (MFA).

  • Maintain detailed audit logs of all access requests, file views, modifications, and administrative actions on media platforms. Logs should be monitored regularly by appointed IT professionals for anomalies.


  • Implement network encryption through VPNs and protocols like SSL/TLS for any media files in transit across internal company networks and the internet.

  • Deploy at-rest encryption solutions for local media storage repositories, as well as cloud encryption for assets stored in SaaS applications.

  • Restrict and closely manage encryption keys, separating duties between IT teams managing keys or encryption systems and marketing or PR teams with file access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

  • Evaluate DRM systems that allow setting detailed restrictions on media usage, such as limiting views, restricting copying and distribution, enabling watermarking, and setting content expiration time limits.

  • For highly-confidential assets, request dual authorization from designated administrators to unlock files protected by DRM.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

  • Configure network DLP to detect attempts to improperly upload or transmit media outside of the organization, triggering real-time alerts and automatic blocks until anomalies are either approved or denied.

  • Institute endpoint protection on media editing workstations to prevent writing media onto unauthorized external drives or burning to disks.

Policies and training

  • Maintain clear security policies for media asset management covering access reviews, cryptographic controls, transmission guidelines, and incident response.

  • Mandate cybersecurity and data privacy awareness training for all IT and marketing personnel to reinforce best practices.

  • Conduct periodic simulated phishing tests and network penetration tests to gauge staff resilience to realistic attempts at breaches and theft.

Secure infrastructure

  • Store media on hardened servers with restricted network connectivity, intrusion detection, and regular patching and updates to patch vulnerabilities and prevent compromise.

  • Issue media teams corporate devices provisioned with endpoint security tools, instead of BYOD devices. Restrict the ability to access unauthorized apps without administrator approval.

  • Maintain segmented backup copies of media repositories to facilitate recovery while still preserving access control.

  • Utilize secure, real-time collaboration platforms with version histories and permissions to enable seamless, controlled ‌file sharing internally and externally.

With a multi-layered approach that covers people, processes, and technology, companies can lock down their digital media assets comprehensively against evolving threats. Ongoing auditing, objective assessments, and actionable data-driven improvements are crucial to being even more agile and adaptive to the changing risk landscape.