Digital Asset Management (D.A.M. for short) – big yawn!!  It’s not exactly the most exciting topic of conversation.  In fact many of you may not even know what D.A.M. is!  However, whether or not you know what it is, D.A.M. is something that all of us deal with every day, whether in our business or personal lives.  It’s just that some of us deal with it better than others.

The term “Digital Asset Management” refers to how we organise, categorise and archive/back-up our digital assets and information.  You will most commonly hear the term when people talk about “Digital Asset Management software” or “D.A.M. software”.  The “digital assets” I’m talking about might be (as in my case) digital photos, but they could just as well be music/MP3 files, Word and Excel documents, emails, or a combination of all of the above.  Most of us deal with these digital assets every day and our work lives would be very difficult indeed if suddenly we couldn’t access this information.

As an example, recently my Dad (who is an accountant) had a big scare of the Digital Asset Management variety.  The other day he went to access his own personal accounts in Quickbooks (one of the many accounting software packages he uses) and he discovered that the file that contained them was corrupt and could not be opened.

He tried everything to fix it.  He even sent the file to the NZ Quickbook suppliers to see if they could work their magic and recover the vital information.  But no dice.

“No problem!” he thought to himself, “I”ve got all my data backed up”.  But when he went to access the information on his back-up hard drives he discovered that the new back-up system that my brother (an IT expert) had set up for him had not been working.  Fortunately for my Dad the old back-up system he had been using previously to this had worked so he had back-ups of all his data up until January 2011.  But this still meant he had to go back and re-enter all the information (GST receipts, cheques, bills paid and payment received, tax paid etc) from January 2011 until the present.

He was very lucky.  It was only one account (his own) out of the hundreds of customer’s accounts he deals with that was corrupt and he had back-ups of the information up until January 2011.  What would have happened if he had no functional back-ups of his accounts?  He would have had to re-enter up to seven years worth of accounts.  What would have happened if all his customer’s accounts were corrupt and there were no back-ups at all?  It doesn’t bare thinking about!!

So now is a good time to ask yourself this question: how secure is your vital information?  What would happen if you lost all your data right now and you couldn’t access it?

The reason I’m writing this post is because recently I have been reading a book called “The D.A.M. book” by Peter Krogh/O’Reilly press.  I thought I had a pretty secure set-up to organise and back-up my image library and other digital assets.  But reading this book I have realised there is much I could do to improve my D.A.M. workflow.

If you’re not sure how secure your data is, here is a simple rule to help you figure it out.  It’s called “the 3, 2, 1 rule” and it goes something like this;

(3) You should always keep THREE copies of all your data.

(2) These copies should be on at least TWO different types of media (for example two copies on hard drives, one on Bluray disc).

(1) ONE copy of all your data should be kept off-site.

D.A.M. – it’s a boring topic but one that we should all pay more attention to so that we don’t end up losing all/some of our valuable data!  I cannot recommend “The D.A.M. book” (by Peter Krogh) enough if you wish to learn more about this topic.

Right, after all that techno-geekery waffle I think we could all do with a spot of humour…here’s a link to some great British humour taking a rather humorous look at our love of technology.  Click here if you want a laugh…

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