A digital asset management (DAM) system makes it easy to organise and retrieve your company’s files and assets. Documents, videos, images, presentations and so much more can be stored in this centralised repository, allowing users to access different files and assets as and when they are needed.

The first challenge is getting your head around what exactly files and assets are – and how they differ. Read on for our handy guide to the difference between files and assets.

Terminology difference

First things first, before understanding the usability difference between files and assets, we need to define both terms. In truth, a number of people use ‘files’ and ‘assets’ interchangeably, as the difference between the two is so slight.


The term ‘assets’ refers to something of value to a company. This can be something your business owns, benefits from, has use of or generates income or profit from. Examples of assets may include brand guides, logos, promotional videos or advertisements.


Unlike an asset, a file may not add value to your business. But most files are essential for a successful business. They include anything that helps your company perform well without necessarily adding monetary value. Examples of files may include employee and customer contracts, schedules or meeting agendas.

How to use files and assets

Despite the fundamental difference in files and assets, there are some similarities in terms of the way they should be used…


Assets typically hold more monetary value than files, as they are used directly to generate income. For every asset you lose, your company will also lose money. If your business is constantly losing or misplacing images, videos or other digital assets, you’ll be wasting both time and money replacing them.

That said, you shouldn’t cut back on protection for your files. Files are hugely important for the success of your business, particularly those holding private or sensitive data, such as contracts or privacy agreements. If these files were to be lost or stolen, you are at risk of a serious security breach, potentially costing your company thousands.

With that in mind, it’s essential that your asset management system provides maximum security for both assets and files.

User access

Files and assets should only be accessed and viewed by those who need to use them. That’s why it’s important to choose a DAM system with the ability to limit access depending on the user’s needs. This way, you can control who can view and access each file or asset type or even specific items, protecting sensitive information and preventing any mishandling of personal data.

At iBase, our cloud-based DAM platform allows users to control access for various users, letting them see only what they’re meant to see. With unlimited metadata tags, you can even limit which users can view certain categories of file, making it much easier to stay in control of your files and assets, especially if you have a large company.

For more information about our DAM system, get in touch with our team today.

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