Cloud-Based Digital Asset Management: What It Is & What Features Are Most Important

filing cabinet in computer

Searching through a disorganized filing system for the right content pieces feels a bit like digging through a messy bookbag. It’s frustrating, and it slows down progress — not to mention the risks of errors and version control issues. As digital media and available channels grow, this problem has become more significant. Marketers simply don’t have the time for outdated digital asset management processes. That’s why a great digital asset management platform is so important.

Fortunately, with growth in digital marketing comes growth in the platforms that support it. Modern cloud-based digital asset management platforms bring all the assets you need right to your fingertips.

If your organization still uses an on-premise system for file sharing and content operations, you might be curious about the advantages of a cloud-based solution. Read on to learn more about cloud-based digital asset management, including:
What is cloud-based digital asset management?

  • How does cloud-based digital asset management differ from traditional on-premise storage?
  • What are the benefits of migrating to a cloud-based digital asset management system?
  • What features should you consider when moving to cloud-based digital asset management?

What Is a Digital Asset Management System?

Before diving into the benefits and features of a cloud-based digital asset management system, let’s start with the basics. What is digital asset management?

DAM, or digital asset management, is both a process and a system. Traditionally, it refers to the process of managing digital assets — branded content, images, video, logos, formal documents, and so on — through on-premise storage, email, content management systems, and other platforms. Storing digital content across a variety of platforms can get messy and risky. That’s where DAM solutions come in.

DAM systems can be either cloud-based or set up locally (on-premise). With the help of a DAM provider, your system provides a secure centralized library to store, organize, retrieve, and collaborate on all media types. The goals of optimized DAM are fewer roadblocks and miscommunications, leading to a more efficient, productive workflow. Enterprise DAM systems are primarily used by marketing teams but can support companywide operations.

What Is Cloud-Based Digital Asset Management?

Now that you understand the digital asset management definition, let’s get into the specifics of cloud DAM. A cloud DAM (CDAM) system is a set of SaaS solutions that enable organizations to store, manage, search for, and share assets of all types without on-premise hardware. CDAM systems allow users all over the world to access an organization’s digital asset library.

With a modern, cloud-native DAM system, users move beyond just storing digital files. The centralized repository allows you to search for the files you need using metadata and contextual search functionality. It also supports easier collaboration and helps team members track progress — expediting your content operations.

Cloud-based solutions are perfect for remote teams or organizations that collaborate with external stakeholders. They can also support growing businesses with limited resources for on-premise digital asset management.

To sum it up, a great CDAM solution is:

  • Cloud-based
  • Designed to optimize your digital asset management strategy
  • Used to make content ops more efficient
  • Secure
  • User-friendly
  • Remotely accessible to internal and external team members

How Is Cloud DAM Different From On-Premise?

On-premise DAM solutions require dedicated servers and infrastructure for storing files. This becomes wasteful and inefficient as an organization’s content ops grows. A cloud DAM system, on the other hand, provides a secure, cloud-based platform to store and manage digital assets. It also offers automation tools for backups, version control, content delivery, and more.

Other differences between cloud and on-premise digital asset management systems include:

  • Maintenance: Maintenance and technical support are typically included with a CDAM solution, whereas maintaining an on-premise DAM system falls to an organization’s IT team.
  • Fees: Cloud solutions are generally more affordable than on-premise solutions.
  • Transition: On-premise DAM requires a lengthy IT installation process. CDAM is easy to set up and requires minimal training.
  • Device compatibility: CDAM systems can be accessed from any mobile or desktop device. On-premise DAM requires the use of approved on-site devices.
  • Offline access: On-premise systems can be used offline, but only at the office. CDAM systems can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection.
  • Shareability: Assets stored in a CDAM system can be shared, with limited permissions, to external partners and stakeholders. On-premise systems are only accessible to approved internal users.

Who Is Cloud-Based Digital Asset Management Right For?

Every organization has its own unique structure and needs. It’s impossible to say that one software solution is right for everyone — however, cloud-based DAM is a fairly universal tool that will benefit businesses in many industries.

Examples of teams that will get the most benefit out of a CDAM solution include:

  • Creative marketing agencies
  • Financial services
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Legal professionals
  • Real estate agencies
  • Publishing companies

In short, if public promotion or document management are important aspects of your business, you will benefit from a solid cloud-based DAM system.

Benefits of a Cloud Digital Asset Management Solution

When it comes to choosing between CDAM and on-premise solutions, there are pros and cons to each. However, cloud solutions offer several benefits for businesses of all sizes. The ease of use, affordability, and remote compatibility of CDAM make it a great fit for most organizations.

Here are a few of the most significant benefits of moving to a cloud-based DAM solution:

Remote Accessibility

One of the biggest differences between CDAM and on-premise DAM is remote access. These days, as much as 75% of marketing collaboration happens remotely. Even teams that share an office space often collaborate with freelancers and external agencies or take advantage of hybrid work schedules. A cloud-based DAM solution allows secure access to shared projects from any location. This also gives creative teams more options when it comes to hiring and outsourcing.


The user volume, fees, and features of a great CDAM system can be easily adjusted to meet an organization’s changing needs. In other words, cloud DAM grows with your business. You don’t have to overinvest in features you don’t need or deal with an enterprise DAM system that’s too limited for your content operations.


CDAM offers more flexibility than on-premise DAM solutions. Users can make changes to the system quickly and easily, with little downtime or disruption. Cloud-based systems also include the benefit of customer service and technical support — your DAM provider can instantly make changes to the system without extensive IT processes.


One of the most significant benefits of digital asset management, either cloud-based or on-premise, is increased security. Over 80% of respondents to one IBM study reported they had experienced more than one data breach. DAM software secures your most important digital assets, providing controlled access and preventing leaks.

Cloud-based systems can add even more security to your DAM strategy because CDAM’s remote accessibility encourages team members to exclusively use the system rather than downloading projects onto their personal devices to take their work home.

Cost Savings

CDAM is a more affordable alternative to on-premise DAM. It eliminates intensive hardware requirements since a cloud-based service doesn’t need dedicated servers and IT staff. Moving to the cloud can reduce IT costs by up to 15%.


Change is a constant in the marketing world. Trends come and go, technology adapts, and new opportunities constantly present themselves. CDAM is one way to make your marketing team more resilient to change. The best CDAM platforms offer tons of integrations to work with new apps, and remote access makes it easy to adjust when you need to add new team members.

Reduced IT Burden

Running an on-premise solution for DAM is resource-intensive. This includes the IT staff resources needed to set up, troubleshoot, and maintain physical servers. A cloud-based solution takes this burden off their shoulders to free up time for more valuable activities.

Features to Look for in Cloud Digital Asset Management Software

Modern digital asset management tools offer a wide range of features to streamline and organize your content operations. While no two platforms are the same, the best DAM software offers many of these features in one place. As a platform recognized with the 2022 Forrester Wave for DAM customer experience, Aprimo offers the latest features to make producing and distributing content easier.

Here are a few helpful features you’ll want to look for when comparing CDAM systems.

Format-Agnostic Storage

The right DAM software can accommodate all file types, such as images, videos, audio files, text, and other digital media. This creates a single source for your entire digital asset portfolio — you won’t need to switch between platforms when working with different media types.

Advanced Searchability

Robust organization and metadata features make it easy to retrieve the exact file you’re seeking. This eliminates the need to regularly “clean out” your library or delete old files. No matter how many files your team stores in your digital asset library, you’ll always be able to find the right project instantly.

Ease of Use

Look for a platform with a stable, intuitive user interface. Your CDAM system should be easy to learn and adjust to. That way, you can easily add new team members without extensive training. A free demo is a great way to make sure your prospective system is clear and intuitive, with accessible features like AI assistance and brand guidelines.


With a stand-alone DAM system, you have the power to create the ecosystem that best suits your needs. Look for a platform with customizable features, including adaptable brand templates and smart personalization. Responsive customer service is also a helpful asset when you need to make changes to your system.


DAM is one component of a larger business ecosystem of apps and services. Make sure your platform integrates easily with existing systems in your tech stack such as ERP or CRM solutions. This reduces data siloes and ensures everyone is working with the same information, creating smoother workflows company-wide.

Seamless Collaboration

Marketing campaigns rely on large teams to deliver an omnichannel experience. With so many moving parts in a campaign, communication is essential to a smooth process. Look for a solution that provides communication and collaboration features in-platform. Your chosen DAM provider should also offer collaboration features to ensure brand compliance.

Advanced Analytics Support

Every marketing professional knows that developing and publishing content is only half of the equation. You also must collect and analyze performance data to track your success and plan for the future. A CDAM system with strong reporting capabilities and integrated analytics is a must.

Best Enterprise Digital Asset Management Software

As a Forrester-recognized DAM provider, Aprimo provides the security and stability of an on-premise storage solution. It goes further, providing advanced features and shareability that allow teams across the world to deliver best-in-class campaigns that are consistent and compelling.

  • Cutting-edge searchability and contextualization to ensure you can find and maximize every digital asset
  • Intuitive UI functionality with collaboration and sharing features that help everyone access the information and files needed to deliver results
  • Analytics tools to measure performance, refine individual asset profiles, and show the return on effort (ROE) from your campaigns

Cloud Digital Asset Management FAQs

Are all DAM systems cloud-based?

DAM systems can be either cloud-based or on-site. Traditionally, most DAM systems were centralized on-premise and required significant hardware and IT support. However, modern DAM platforms offer more flexible, remote-friendly solutions with cloud-based DAM.

How do you transition to a cloud DAM?

Changing up your workflow is never easy, but switching to a cloud-based digital asset strategy will ultimately help your creative processes run smoother. Take some time to train all team members on the new system and encourage them to ask questions as they adjust. If you’re transitioning from another system such as on-premise DAM or a CMS, make sure all files are securely transferred and stored before removing the old system.

Is cloud-based DAM safe?

Modern CDAM solutions are just as secure as on-premise DAM systems. The best DAM providers utilize high-quality data encryption and monitoring to prevent data breaches. In fact, cloud DAM can help improve your organization’s security because the system is accessible from anywhere, removing the need to transfer files via email or download them to personal devices.

Test Drive a Cloud Digital Asset Management Platform

If your organization values a more streamlined content operations experience, consider a free trial of the best cloud DAM platform. Aprimo offers a flexible, scalable, top-quality solution to your organization’s DAM needs.

Start your free trial of Aprimo DAM today to find out if a cloud DAM system is right for your team.

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