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Creative Operations
August 24, 2021
February 2, 2024

7 Best Practices for Secure Artwork File Sharing | Tips & Solutions

Contributing Author

7 Best Practices for Secure Artwork File Sharing | Tips & Solutions

August 24, 2021
February 2, 2024
Contributing Author


According to the 2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, 60% of businesses have experienced losses due to sensitive data theft. 2021 Global Data Risk Report says that 33% of business data is publicly available.

When it comes to artwork development, you must collaborate with people both inside and outside the company. You need to share sensitive data with external entities such as printers and design agencies. In these cases, there is a fair risk of theft of intellectual property.

Furthermore, the efficiency of your workflow also depends on how to store and organize your files. Does your storage system come with versioning and backups? What are your recovery plans in case of any data loss? Can you revoke access after you have shared files with someone?

Here are some of the best practices when it comes to working with sensitive data during artwork development.

1. Use a Secured File Storage

While there are no fool-proof solutions, you can take steps to ensure that a simple password theft or data breach does not compromise your files. Here are some things that you can do to ensure that.

  • Pick a storage service that takes security seriously. Ensure that they encrypt user files when they store them. Ensure that they use proper security standards and enforce the use of secured network connections.
  • Read the privacy policy of the storage service provider. Talk to your vendor to know about their backup policies and incident response plans. Not every detail is present on the website.
  • As a user, you can use a password manager to generate strong passwords. Password managers are not integrated into most popular browsers to make authentication easier. If possible, make use of two-factor authentication.

2. Encrypt Files Before You Share Them

When working with sensitive files, it is a good practice to encrypt them before sharing them. There are simple ways of password-protecting files, providing you with an extra layer of security.

Microsoft Office documents and PDF files have support for passwords. You can add a password to documents using Office programs or Adobe Acrobat.

This password protection provides you an extra layer of security that protects you from data breaches.

3. Make Use Of Role-based Access

While sharing files, you have the option to give your collaborators read and write permissions. Some platforms provide more granular permissions, such as view, comment, and edit.

Providing permissions requires careful thought. Does the legal department need the write control of the file? Should the printing agency be able to comment on the documents?

These requirements vary from company to company. As a manager, you should not give any individual or group any more access than they need.

4. Make Use Of Version Control To Preserve Old Files

Make sure that your storage service supports file versioning. File versioning is a crucial part of digital asset management.

As designers develop the artwork file, multiple versions of the file will be created. Now, they can manually keep different versions of the file, but file organization and change tracking become chaotic. With file versioning,

  • All the versions of the same file are stored as one element, where you can switch between the versions seamlessly.
  • You can easily go back to an older version whenever needed.
  • Version tracking allows you to track changes across versions.
  • Version control also acts as a systematic backup for old files, preventing accidental overwrites.

5. Track Changes With Audit Trails

Your storage system will be used by multiple collaborators. With multiple projects running, people will be working on different files at a time. This makes it difficult to see who made what changes. With audit trails, you can bring accountability to your projects. Audit trails allow you to:

  • Track changes for every artwork asset.
  • See who made what change and when.
  • Find accidental deletions and overwrites.

With version control and audit trails, you will no longer have to worry about accidental data loss.

6. Use Secured Network Connections

Most browsers now enforce the use of HTTPS. Ensure that your storage service also uses secured connections. If you are using file transfer protocol to manage files on the cloud, use the secured version or SFTP. SFTP also supports encryption, data integrity, and authenticity checks.

7. Use A Proper Digital Asset Management Platform

There are software services dedicated to storing and managing artwork assets. These come with secured cloud storage for all your assets. A proper digital asset management platform, which also functions as a Workflow management software tool, comes with collaborative tools

  • Collaborative tools that allow multiple people to work on a single project.
  • File versioning and audit trails to track and log changes across multiple versions of the same file.
  • Easy onboarding of collaborators and role-based access to digital assets
  • Online proofing tools allow reviewers to view and comment on artworks right from their browsers without having to download a single file.
  • Workflow management for projects of any scale.

Do You Need Digital Asset Management For Artwork Approval?

Here are a few questions that can help you decide if you really need a digital asset management platform for artwork development and approval.

  1. Do you share digital assets using emails or via messaging platforms such as Teams or Slack?
  2. Do you have a way to restrict your collaborators from further sharing content?
  3. Do you have any means of versioning digital assets?
  4. Do you have any means of tracking how a digital asset is being used by collaborators?
  5. Can you revoke access from a collaborator when needed?
  6. Do you or your organization use file encryption for data storage?
  7. Do the security of your digital assets solely rely on passwords?

If the answer to any three or more questions is an “yes”, then you should seriously consider a digital asset management platform for artwork approval. 

Wrapping Up

When it comes to security, nothing beats awareness and common sense. However, some tools can simplify security for digital assets and ensures effective brand asset management. How do you secure digital assets for your artwork projects? Let us know in the comments below.  

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