Protecting your digital and print assets

Do You Have Access To Your Website And Artwork?

By: Nick Harrison
Last Updated: February 20, 2020

Having been a web developer and designer over the last decade and change, you can say that I’ve seen a thing or two, like State Farm.

More often than not, I am working with existing companies versus brand new ones, which often means that as a designer and developer I’ll need things like artwork assets (logos, graphics) and access to databases as well as various other digital asset files.

You would be surprised at how many times the client didn’t have access or the files that were needed. There was one time when a client didn’t have access to their own website and there was a catastrophic problem that led to their site needing to be re-developed and their database unusable, which cost them a lot of time and money. 

Things happen.

  • Your website might not be properly backed-up and it’s hacked or crashes.
  • Your digital agency went out of business.
  • Your files were lost by your agency.
  • Maybe your designer died.
  • Maybe you had a falling out with your agency and they became non-responsive.

There are several ways how your assets that might be needed in the future can become unobtainable, costing you a significant amount of time and money.

The best way to combat this risk, is to make sure that you always have the most access possible to them. 

Here are a few things you want to do. 

Ask for the vector or source files of artwork

A vector image or source file (it’s normally .PSD or .AI) is the original image or artwork that was created. Having this will allow for future edits and changes. For instance, if I have the vector file of a logo, I should be able to change colors, resize it and more. Often times, however, people will just have the .JPG or .PNG format. This doesn’t allow for those types of changes and if a .JPG format, it won’t allow for a transparent background which might very well be needed. 

There might be other times where you have something like a flyer or PDF that you want to change and having that source file could make it so that it doesn’t have to be fully re-created. 

Whenever you have a logo or anything designed for you whether print or digital, ask your designer or agency for copies of the source files. 

Have full-access to your hosting

This is imperative. Not only should you have ownership of the hosting account and full-access to billing, you should also have full-access (often called CPANEL access) to your website(s)). This includes full access to all code and databases. As stated above, I had a client who didn’t have access to their site and it became a nightmare to correct, which was costly.

Make sure you have a recent copy of the code and whatever databases that you have. 

If your hosting company denies you access to your files and/or database, get a new one…

Make sure you have ownership of all of your social media accounts

With social media accounts, we often have them managed by other people or agencies. It’s important that you have the actual ownership and access to them. There is nothing worse than having a public account of your company that you have no control over. I’ve unfortunately seen this happen. Getting access to your own business Facebook page or other accounts aren’t that easy if your agency or person who created the account are no longer accessible. 

Keep copies on the cloud

Things happen. Computers crash, can get stolen or you might not have access to that computer at the time you need it or perhaps you deleted the files by accident. Depending on what it is, I will normally keep copies on my computer, the cloud (either Dropbox, Box or Apple) and sometimes a thumb drive. Always have a secondary location. 


Sadly, over my career, I’ve seen this happen too often where source files, code and databases were lost which caused clients both thousands to recover, but also thousands in lost revenue. Also, make sure that you have backups of all files that are created for you.

Even if assets were created a long time ago, make sure you have the source files and access that you need today.