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Combating Video Insecurity

Sef Tuma

Security is at the top of the agenda for most C-suite executives and boards of directors, and the digital video industry is no different. Several high-profile cases of security breaches in recent years are driving this increased focus.

A powerful cyber attack hit a French TV network in 2015 when a gang used highly targeted malicious software on the network's systems. The impact was huge -- all channels went off air for hours, social networking accounts and the website were hacked, and the financial cost was close to €5 million ($5.8 million) in the first year alone. In another example, a leading entertainment company experienced multiple attacks that caused the breach of almost 77 million customer records, unpublished movies and internal confidential information.

The video security threat today is at an all-time high, caused by the disruption and innovation in the industry. Securing content delivery to devices such as the set-top box used to be much easier when it was a closed system under the sole responsibility of the service provider. But we have moved from those traditional closed systems towards multi-service and multi-protocol IP delivery to any connected device, managed or unmanaged, in a highly personalized way. This provides an enhanced customer experience and new business opportunities, but also creates new challenges in the security landscape. The simple fact is an open networked ecosystem that connects hundreds of millions of personal devices to video content vastly increases its vulnerability.

There are more and richer targets, such as analytics, personal and usage data, and video content itself. The new, open networks with consumer-owned devices can be attacked in fundamentally different ways, as they allow for easier, automated attack options on an increased overall attack surface. In other words, there are new opportunities and there is more motive for hackers to break in. And as we have seen, they do.

Moreover, the impact of such security breaches is rising. Not only are the direct and indirect costs of breaches growing, erosion of trust is an increasing concern in a digital economy. There is no option for broadcasters and operators when it comes to collecting, storing and managing an increasing level of rich data. To provide today's demanding consumers with the experiences they expect, companies must build trusted one-to-one relationships with their customers and offer ever more personalized services derived from richer data. That means collecting more data from them than ever before, which brings with it yet another layer of security and privacy concerns.

Despite all this, many companies may have an overly optimistic level of confidence in their security posture. Accenture's recent security research found that 75% of respondents were "confident" they were doing the right things with their security strategies, which does not seem consistent with the fact that about one in three focused, targeted breach attempts is successful.

There is a clear disconnect and more needs to be done. Here are some key strategies to help improve security and ensure you have your customer's trust.

Make it everyone's responsibility:
One person or even one team cannot be responsible for the security of the business, the content and the personal information it holds. It must be built into the culture so that everyone is held accountable and trust is integrated throughout the business. For this to happen, the CEO or a C-level executive and board must lead by example -- if it's taken seriously at the top, meaning budgeting, planning and empowering senior management, change can happen throughout the organization.

Undertake ongoing security audits and assessments:
New threats are appearing daily so it is critical that businesses continuously review their processes and run tests. If you don't know about any problems, the likelihood is that you simply don't have consistent visibility or aren't testing enough.

Secure the platform business:
If you are delivering video content, make sure security features are built in to the service platform by design. These features should be at the heart of the service delivery platform, promising security, privacy and reliability within the business and for the customer. This is not an afterthought; it is critical to understand the risks throughout the video value chain and ecosystem. It is not just about the platform, device or content alone but the fully integrated, end-to-end operating model.

In conclusion, success hinges on a 360-degree approach, a broad cultural mindset and a relentless focus on the business impact. Security must be taken seriously. Make it part of the lifeblood of the organization and make sure risks are reviewed regularly and processes updated to stay ahead of the hackers. Security is a competitive differentiator and is critical to being a trusted provider.

— Sef Tuma, Managing Director & Global Lead, Accenture Digital Video

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