Virtualization Technology News and Information
Digital Asset Management (DAM) vs Cloud Storage: 8 Important Differences to Note


Image source

Data is now one of the most valuable commodities we have. It informs business decisions, helps organizations keep track of customers' behaviors, and has many other uses in our day-to-day lives. The world creates a staggering amount of data every day, and that number continues to grow at a fantastic rate. Much like a business may look at free affiliate marketing tools, they should look carefully at any storage solutions.

The modern business faces many challenges, and questions. From considering what is hosted PBX to deciding what automated systems best meet their needs, decisions can often mean critical differences to any organization.

At the start of 2020, the amount of data was estimated (since pinning down an exact figure is impossible) to be 44 zettabytes (yes, I had to look it up too). A zettabyte has 21 zeros, or it could be expressed as 1,000 bytes to the seventh power. That's a LOT of data. It is further estimated that by 2025, 463 exabytes of data will be created daily (that's 1,000 bytes to the sixth power). To put into perspective, all words ever spoken by the human race would fit into five exabytes.

So, the fact that we are creating massive amounts of data every day is undeniable. Where on earth are we storing all that data? The obvious answer is the cloud, but things aren't quite as simple as that. Even within the idea of cloud storage, there are different ways of storing things; ‘traditional' cloud storage, and digital asset management (DAM). What's the difference? More importantly, which option should you be considering when it comes to your organization's data strategy

What is cloud storage?


Image source

Cloud storage is a simple way for organizations, and individuals to store their data securely online. It means they can access their data from anywhere at any time, and also share that data with others if they have been granted access. Cloud storage also allows people to back up their data so it can be recovered in the rare event that something happens.

More, and more businesses are turning to cloud-based solutions. The cloud is an excellent alternative to hardware or on-premise solutions, from SaaS solutions to PBX systems. Perhaps the most used of those alternatives is storage.

There are now many free cloud storage services such as AWS (Amazon Web Services), Dropbox, and Google Drive. Your data is sent to a remote data server though it is usually stored on more than one of these servers, so you can still access data if one server is down. Many businesses use cloud storage to keep data safe that they do not frequently access, such as some accounting files.

As well as storage, one of the significant advantages of cloud storage is that it allows for easy collaboration, no matter the geographical location of the team members needing to use the data. While the concept of cloud storage has existed since the 1960s, it wasn't until the mid-90s that AT&T launched the first genuine cloud-based service for both businesses, and individuals.

What is digital asset management?


Image source

DAM is essentially cloud storage plus. While it stores your digital assets or data in the same way on the cloud, there is a more organizational process involved; this allows any organization to store data, organize it, and find it quickly. It retrieves the data with ease, and shares it with anyone who needs access to it.

You could think of a DAM system as the digital equivalent of the old-fashioned filing cabinet. When used correctly, you can find the data you need quickly, and efficiently if it has been appropriately cataloged. Implementing a centralized DAM system allows team members, clients, and relevant stakeholders to access that data by granting permission.

While the principles of DAM are the same across the board, they can vary in size, and shape according to the business's needs. One organization may use DAM for storing financial records and transactions. In contrast, a referral marketing business may use it to store referral marketing tools, resources, and organize all the images it uses across its various platforms.

8 important differences between cloud storage and DAM


Image source

1.    Focus

The primary difference between the two is the focus of each. Cloud storage primarily focuses on the user, while a DAM system focuses more on the assets themselves. When a business utilizes a DAM system, the default setting is that the assets stored there are accessible by everyone in that business. Of course, particular sets of assets may be restricted to particular groups within that business, such as management.

With standard cloud storage, the data is usually accessible by one person; the user who set up the account, and uploaded the data. They must grant permission to share it with someone else, usually by sharing a link to the data or adding the second person's details to the permissions list. This means that cloud storage can be clunky to use when a business wants to share assets with multiple users.

2.    Metadata

Another critical difference, especially when large amounts of assets are being stored, is that a DAM system enables a user to look for a particular file using metadata. Metadata is unique contextual data that identifies each, and every file. For example, if you knew what date an image was created and uploaded, that date is a piece of metadata that would help you find it.

Most normal cloud storage services don't allow you to use metadata when looking for particular files or data. This means that finding a single file will be more difficult when you have a large amount of information stored in your account, thus reducing accessibility, and potentially wasting time finding that file.

3.    Utility


Image source

If you are using a DAM system, then it offers more utility and flexibility. Imagine this scenario; you have a potential client who could sign a massive contract. You want to show them exactly what your business is capable of. With DAM, you can create a fantastic presentation that shows your chosen video files as if the client was watching a streaming video service such as Amazon Prime.

Now imagine that same scenario if you use a basic cloud storage service. If you want that potential client to see a particular video file, you need to send a link or grant permission, and then the client has to access or download the video, and ensure they have the right software program to watch the video. It's an overly convoluted process that may put the client off using your company.

4.    Choice

Most DAM systems are extremely user, and media-friendly. Your creative teams, such as content creators and graphic designers, may use multiple media formats in this digital era. DAM allows access to customizable and compatible media players that would enable users to view the chosen file directly in their browser without looking for a particular media player.

While standard cloud-based storage will allow you to store files in any format, it will not allow direct viewing of those files in many circumstances. That means you can't preview files to check if it's the one you want but instead have to download the file, then find a compatible media player before viewing it. When dealing with large media libraries, this can be time-consuming, and frustrating.

5.    Security and compliance


Image source

Much of the data you want to store may be of a sensitive nature. That can include customer details, financial transactions, and so on. Most DAM systems include robust security features to protect that data and comply with any relevant legislation such as the EU's GDPR regulations or those covering healthcare services. That means you can store sensitive data knowing it will be safe from cyber-attacks.

With the majority of cloud storage systems, their purpose is to store rather than to protect. While some may offer some security features, it is not common, which means that determined cybercriminals could access any data you store in these simpler systems. So although cloud storage may be a good choice for non-sensitive info, it is risky if that data is confidential in any way.

6.    Groups vs. individuals

With cloud storage, you have solutions tailored toward use by individuals, for example, someone wanting to store family photographs or a DJ wanting to store recorded sets. While it is simple enough to share permissions so that others can access those files, it does not allow you to set up groups or categories to share with multiple, and relevant people.

DAM systems allow administrators to set up specific categories which can access that data. That can be internal or external (for example, sharing pertinent info with a marketing agency you are partnered with). By having group-based permissions, you can choose who to share data with when you want that data only shared with or accessed by particular groups. This is not only useful for clients; it can also be a great way to motivate your employees.

7.    Automation and analytics


Image source

Cloud storage is just that; storage. In most cases, it is little more than a digital shed where you can store things until you need them. It rarely comes with added features that can benefit companies, so it does not offer much flexibility for a thriving business. Just as a software developer has to consider stackoverflow vs stackexchange, all companies need to think about cloud storage vs. DAM.

With DAM, you have tech that focuses on the needs of modern organizations. Many solutions will include analytics, and automation that can tangibly help that organization. For example, you may have a series of training webinars, and videos hosted in your DAM solution. Analytics can keep track of how many of your staff have watched or completed the course, and automated emails can be sent to those who have yet to complete the training successfully.

8.    Versions

People rarely get things right the first time, which means there can be multiple versions of the same file floating about in cyberspace. Let's say that your graphic designer is working on a marketing campaign; they will probably create several versions of an image from concept to finish. With cloud storage, those are just stored as multiple files with no differentiation.

With DAM, the administrators (or the creators) can assign different versions to their ongoing work. That means that any relevant stakeholder can access the most up-to-date version or add their own edits or changes, and create a new version. This means that the most appropriate file is not changed, and any edits can quickly be reviewed, and then changes accepted or rejected.

The takeaway


Image source

Deciding on the best use cases is essential for any business. How much use will a predictive dialler be to your business? What sort of data do you need to store? No decision should be rushed into without careful consideration.

Businesses are looking for ways to work better as we recover from the pandemic. It might be something easy to use, like SIP calling. But working better includes not only how you store data but how you protect and access it. DAM offers the ease of access, and shareability that is lacking in basic cloud storage.

Different teams, and departments have different needs. DAM allows you to recognize, and meet those needs whether you are an MLOps company or an e-commerce organization. Cloud storage may still meet some of your basic storage needs but lacks the flexibility, and security offered by a DAM system.



Richard Conn - Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8

Richard Conn 

Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading cloud based phone system platform with integrated contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Richard Conn also published articles for domains such as MaxBounty and Krisp. Check out his LinkedIn.

Published Thursday, May 26, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
Filed under: ,
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<May 2022>