Cybersecurity and data protection in media and entertainment: How can companies protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats

by Sreejith Partha

For media and entertainment companies, data is not just intellectual property but also a lifeblood. Data theft, hacking, or content breaches of any kind can halt business operations for days, damage a company’s reputation, and cause significant financial losses. This is why cybersecurity and data privacy is front and center for media and entertainment companies seeking the help of a media software development company.

In 2014, a hacker group named “Guardians of Peace” hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment, stealing a massive amount of private information. Sony’s network was down for days as experts tried to recover the stolen data and take control of their network. Unfortunately, this hack resulted in lost data, embarrassing leaks, and significant impacts on operations and productivity.

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The Sony hack is just one example of how susceptible media and entertainment companies are to cyberattacks and cyber threats. From protecting consumer data and improving operational efficiency to demonstrating compliance and avoiding downtime, media and entertainment companies face numerous cybersecurity challenges.

With technological advancements, media and entertainment companies invest in sophisticated technologies needed to protect consumer data and ensure privacy. They’re also implementing effective systems to manage data governance and privacy. Here at Practical Logix, we understand the relationship between media and tech and the importance of using cutting-edge technologies to ensure cybersecurity.

In this article, we take a closer look at the measures media and entertainment companies use to protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats.

Cyber Threats

Impact of Cyber Threats on Media and Entertainment Companies

Today’s media and entertainment industry is highly digitized, with many companies migrating towards online content and streaming services. These companies operate across a wide range of platforms, including TV, mobile, and web, increasing their network’s exposure to vulnerabilities. As a result, data theft, the risk of hacking, and potential reputation damage increase daily. 

These cyber-attacks and cyber threats have adversely impacted media and entertainment companies in the following ways:

1. Increased Costs

Media and entertainment companies that don’t invest in cybersecurity and data protection spend more money in the long run to counteract the effects of data theft and hacking. For example, ransomware forces companies to pay off hackers to restore access to their systems, creating a substantial financial burden. According to Hiscox, in 2019, 6% of companies paid a ransom, resulting in $381 million in losses.

Similarly, after a cyber attack, companies may hire lawyers to remain compliant and tech experts to resolve the situation. They may even have to shell out more money to cover civil cases against the organization. For instance, after Sony’s 2014 data breach, the company faced subsequent litigation and agreed to pay $15 million to affected individuals.

2. Operational Disruption

Cyber attacks often disrupt normal business operations making it impossible for companies to access and use their networks and systems. Cybercriminals can use several ways to handicap a company’s activities. For instance, they can infect computer systems with malware that erases valuable information or install malicious code on a server to block access to your website.

The criminals usually ask for money or something valuable to restore access. If you opt not to pay them and spend days, weeks, or even months trying to take control, your company loses revenue and loyal customers.

3. Reputational Damage

Reputational damage is the most significant impact of cyber threats on media and entertainment companies. According to a Forbes Insight Report, 46% of companies suffered reputational damage after a cyber attack. Since these companies collect and store private user information, they’re expected to have effective and state-of-the-art systems in place that ensure data privacy and security. 

A leak in data, breach, or system hack leaves customers feeling less secure about leaving their private information with the organization. This also tarnishes the brand’s name, resulting in lost revenue and unhappy customers. 

4. Lost Revenue

After a cyber attack, media, and entertainment companies lose revenue in many ways. For one, their customers will likely move elsewhere to protect themselves from future cyber threats, resulting in declined sales. They may also lose money to hackers who try to extort them to restore access. Similarly, hindrances to normal business operations put a halt on money coming in.

How Media and Entertainment Companies Can Protect Themselves

With proper precautions and measures, you can protect your media and entertainment company from cyber attacks and security threats. Here are some steps to follow to help secure your business:

  • Implement robust mechanisms, such as Zero Trust Security Architecture, to authorize and authenticate users before allowing access to ensure secure access.
  • Constantly monitor end-user accounts to keep track of who is accessing vital information, when, and for what reason.
  • Proper prioritization and segregation of data to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Use digital forensic watermarking for all your online content to protect against piracy and theft.
  • Implement Digital Rights Management (DRM) to secure your content against infringing use.
  • Conduct employee training and awareness programs to teach staff members how to be safe online and their role in keeping your business safe.
  • Use blockchain technology to strengthen authentication and improve data mapping. This includes the use of smart contracts to enhance cybersecurity.
  •  Identify, analyze, and manage risks associated with third-party service providers and vendors through third-party risk management.

We’ve explained these measures in detail below.

Zero Trust Security Architecture and Its Uses in Media and Entertainment

Many media and entertainment companies have integrated digital technology into all aspects of business processes and operations in a bid to increase efficiency and accessibility and grow revenue. This process, known as Enterprise Digital Transformation, has allowed companies to reduce costs, improve product delivery and services, and improve the customer service experience.

However, without advanced data security, Enterprise Digital Transformation is susceptible to cyber threats and attacks. Whether cloud migration or the integration of different software management tools into business operations, your digital transformation strategy will fail without proper cybersecurity measures. This is where Zero Trust Security Architecture comes into play.

Zero Trust Security Architecture technology assumes all traffic trying to access your network is malicious until proven otherwise. The technology takes a proactive approach to cybersecurity by demanding that all access be authenticated and verified before being allowed access. This also protects your network against internal, external, and supply chain attacks.

In the media and entertainment industry, fast and reliable user access is vital to consumer satisfaction. But this comes at the expense of cyber threats, piracy, and hacking since not all user access is trustworthy. Additionally, allowing user access across various platforms, devices, and networks increases the risk of malicious attacks. Luckily, by implementing Zero Trust technology, your media and entertainment company can ensure that only trusted users who prove their identity and have compliant devices can access your online services.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

One way your company can implement Zero Trust Architecture, especially in mobile app development, is through MFA and 2FA, which require users to provide more than one form of authentication before getting access. While 2FA is pretty standard in enhancing cloud security, it has its own pitfalls. There’s always a built-in delay when using 2FA, messages take time, and many consumers find it annoying. These inconveniences may seem small, but they adversely affect the user’s experience.

An easy way to reduce this friction is by using push notifications instead of SMS. Push notifications pop up on the screen, automatically giving users codes without leaving the app. In a recent survey, 57% of participants found push notifications useful, showing their importance in improving the consumer experience.

DRM

Implementing Digital Rights Management (DRM) to Protect Data

Piracy is a huge business that adversely affects many media and entertainment companies every year. According to a recent report, the US economy loses at least $29.2 billion in revenue each year due to online piracy. Video pirates and illegal streaming sites have become the biggest competition for media and entertainment companies. Also, by implementing Digital Rights Management (DRM), companies can control and manage access to copyrighted digital material.

DRM is highly effective in protecting online content against infringing use. DRM technologies inhibit illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted material. They also prevent modification of copyrighted material and unauthorized access. When implemented properly, DRM allows companies to protect content delivery via the open internet, minimizing data piracy.

Different DRM Technologies

You can use various DRM technologies to protect your data from piracy. The most popular include:

  • Apple Fairplay: This can be used to protect video content in HSL format.
  • Google Widevine Modular: This can be used to protect video content in MPEG DASH format.
  • Microsoft PlayReady: This can be used to protect smooth streaming content or video in MPEG DASH format.

Best Practices for Implementing DRM

If you’re considering implementing DRM in your company, here are some best practices:

  • Selecting the right technology: Notably, there are several different types of DRM technologies available for use. Each has unique strengths and weaknesses. For instance, some DRM technologies are better suited for protecting streaming video content. Others are better suited for protecting content that can be downloaded. As such, it is important that companies evaluate their needs and select the technology that meets their specific requirements most effectively.
  • Use encryption: A key component of DRM is encryption. It’s used to protect digital content from unauthorized access. Strong encryption algorithms and keys should be used by companies. They also need to be rotated from time to time.
  • Monitor usage: An important part of DRM systems is the inclusion of monitoring capabilities to track the usage of digital content. This information can help companies identify unauthorized access and usage and take appropriate action.
  • Access controls implementation. The implementation of access controls allows access to digital content to be limited to authorized users only. This process can include authentication and authorization mechanisms, such as the use of user IDs and passwords or digital certificates.
  • User experience consideration: Companies should strive to make the DRM process as seamless and user-friendly as possible, even as they provide effective digital content protection. Build a content selection framework to identify content that requires DRM. In some cases, DRM may make it hard to access your content, impending content reach. Be honest and transparent with your users about your DRM system and the restrictions or limitations it may impose.
  • Integrate with other technologies: Integrate your DRM with other technologies such as digital asset management (DAM) and content management systems (CMS), to increase data security. 
  • Periodic updates: Regularly update and maintain your DRM system to ensure it protects your data effectively.

Use of Digital Forensic Watermarking in Media and Entertainment Companies

Another way media and entertainment companies can protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats are with watermarking technology. Like DRM, digital forensic watermarking brings a rapid halt to premium content piracy. With stolen content accounting for as much as half of all content consumed online, piracy is an ongoing, critical issue for media and entertainment brands. 

Watermarking is a powerful solution that allows content owners to overlay user-unique invisible graphics onto video without in any way affecting its quality. If the content is copied, shared, or used illegally, the owner can quickly identify and suspend further use and access.

Types of Watermarking and Their Uses

Some common types of watermarking technologies include:

  • Pixel-based watermarking: This involves placing a watermark on the edge pixels of a host image for higher protection and security. Pixel watermarks make it extremely difficult for criminals to forge content, making them effective for media companies sharing original content online.
  • Dynamic watermarking; This watermarking method gives the user complete control of a watermark long after it’s published online. Dynamic watermarks change based on different factors when opened, such as location. For instance, if your video content is shared in a country with a different language, the watermark can be displayed in that language. Dynamic watermarks can be used by media and entertainment companies who want more fluidity and less illegal sharing and altering.
  • Static watermarking: This is used to trace content back to its source and is commonly used on television shows.
  • Spatial watermarking: These watermarks are invisible, making it hard for cybercriminals to extract, remove, or alter them. They’re used for extremely sensitive information or content with leaking potential.

Benefits of Watermarking

One main advantage of watermarking is that it prevents unauthorized individuals from stealing, altering, or using content without your consent. If they do, you can quickly and efficiently cut off access, minimizing piracy. This real-time data protection ensures you can protect data anywhere and on any device anytime. 

Since you can identify the sources of leaks with digital watermarking, content management, and protection become seamless and efficient. Your company spends less time worrying about data piracy and more time ensuring users can access your content. Watermarking techniques also don’t compromise the quality of your content. The invisible graphics overlaid on your content offer robust security without affecting video quality.

Digital watermarking is a great way to keep your digital assets safe and secure. By preventing unauthorized access, you can avoid the financial and legal implications that come with pirated content. The beauty of digital watermarking is that you can apply it to any type of content, including video-on-demand and live broadcasts. 

Limitations of Watermarking

Despite the benefits of digital watermarking in minimizing piracy attacks, it has its limitations. Digital watermarking is not foolproof, as cybercriminals can use advanced tools and software to remove or weaken watermarks in content. In some cases, watermarking may affect the quality of content, especially with images, making them unpleasant and unsightly to look at.

Blockchain technology

Using Blockchain Technology to Enhance Cybersecurity

Blockchain is a fast-growing and promising technology that media and entertainment companies can use to enhance cybersecurity and ensure data privacy. It structures data into blocks, each containing a transaction or a bundle of transactions. Each new block added connects to all the other blocks cryptographically, making it impossible for hackers to access. Information is also stored across a network of computers rather than a single server, which makes it impossible for hackers to view data.

Media and entertainment companies can use blockchain technology to create a decentralized, tamper-proof network. This network has no single point of failure, and no single user can change the record of data transactions. By creating a record that’s encrypted end-to-end and can’t be altered, you prevent fraud and unauthorized access.

In blockchain technology, security differs by blockchain type regarding who can access data and who can participate. The common blockchain types are:

  • Public: Anyone can access this network and validate transactions
  • Private: Limits and restricts access to a single entity or business network
  • Permissioned: Limits access to a select list of users with the right keys
  • Permissionless: Has no restrictions or processors

The type of blockchain technology you use depends on your security needs. Private and permissioned networks may be tightly controlled but vital for regulatory compliance, which is essential in the media and entertainment industry. On the other hand, permissionless and public networks can help you achieve greater distribution and decentralization of data.

Smart Contracts

If you want to improve the effectiveness of your blockchain network, consider integrating smart contracts. Smart contracts are codes written into a blockchain to automatically document, control, or execute actions and events according to the terms of a contract. They permit trusted agreements and transactions among anonymous parties without the need for a legal system, central authority, or external enforcement mechanism.

You can apply smart contracts in your media and entertainment business through transactions between your users and the company. A smart contract will execute the user’s payment and the company’s transfer of services.

Blockchain technology and smart contracts are quickly becoming popular in the development of decentralized apps (DApps), which are more secure. From OTT Application Development to cloud application development, software development companies are using blockchain code, decentralized consensus, and transparent code to create robust and secure applications for media and entertainment companies.

The Potential Application of Smart Contracts

Smart contracts have several potential applications for secure and transparent transactions in media and entertainment, including:
  • Royalty payments: With smart contracts, royalty payments to content creators can be automated, ensuring that they receive their share of revenue generated as a result of their content.
  • Rights management: Smart contracts can be used to manage and enforce licensing agreements and copyright ownership, reducing the risk of infringement and ensuring that all parties receive their share of the revenue.
  • Ticketing and events: Using smart contracts, ticket sales can be managed, which helps ensure that tickets are sold fairly and transparently. This also helps reduce the risk of fraud or scalping.
  • Distribution of content: Smart contracts can be beneficial in managing the distribution of digital content. This can help ensure that content distribution only occurs to authorized users, which reduces piracy risks.
  • Advertising: By using smart contracts, media and entertainment companies can automate and track advertising contracts, which means that the gap can be closed between advertisers and publishers, leading to faster transactions.

Protection from Cyber Threats

Employee Security Training and Awareness

Investing and implementing sophisticated security technology can only go so far in protecting your company and users from cyber threats. Your employees need to be fully aware of the security measures in place and the steps to take if something suspicious happens. Effective cybersecurity training helps employees understand proper cyber hygiene and how to identify cyber-attacks. It also teaches them the risks associated with their actions and what they can do to minimize cyber threats.

While your security system and network are your first line of defense against hackers and cybercriminals, they’re not enough. Technology requires input from people to function effectively. For example, software needs to be updated, staff must acknowledge and report security warnings, and they must follow security protocols. Training your employees ensures they execute these commands and adds another layer of security to your system, creating a robust barrier against social engineering attacks. 

Methods of Employee Training

Here are some of the methods you can use for employee training:

  • On-the-job training: This method is highly effective in teaching employees new security software, applications, or processes you implement to protect customer data.
  • Instructor-led training: Hire a cybersecurity expert to teach your employees various aspects of cybersecurity and protection, including online scams, how to recognize attacks, and the best approaches.
  • Films and videos: You can use videos to make cybersecurity material more interactive, engaging, and demonstrative.
  • Case studies: You can give employees scenarios, either real or imagined, of data breaches and ask them to analyze the case and come up with effective solutions.

Third-Party Vendor Risk Management in Cybersecurity

Your media and entertainment company likely works with several third parties who expose your system to new vulnerabilities daily. This can be vendors, suppliers, and contractors whose collaboration opens you to cyber threats and attacks. Fortunately, with third-party vendor risk management, you can identify, analyze and manage these risks to protect your data and security network.

Cybercriminals are findings new ways and loopholes to attack system networks, including using third parties to access them. If you don’t have measures in place to monitor your third parties in real time, you risk an attack when you least expect it. You can measure third-party risk by:

  • Conducting periodic access reviews
  • Provide risk assessment questionnaires to third parties to learn more about their policies, processes, and procedures.
  • Hold annual meetings with third parties to review company compliance obligations.
  • Ongoing third-party risk reporting
  • Onboarding and offboarding workflows

Third-party vendor risk management is a great way to highlight potential risks and exposures arising from collaborations and remediate them before they become security breaches.

OTT Application Development

Future Directions and Innovations in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy for Media and Entertainment

Cyber threats and attacks are becoming increasingly complex and diverse, but so is technology. Besides, the greater the amount of data generated, the greater the number of cyber threats. Cybersecurity and data privacy are constantly evolving fields, and there are several future directions and innovations that are likely to impact the media and entertainment industry. Here are some possible examples:

  • Al and machine learning: Al and machine learning technologies are likely to play a significant role in the future of cybersecurity and data privacy. These technologies can help to detect and prevent cyber-attacks and identify patterns in user behavior that could indicate potential security risks.
  • Blockchain-based solutions: As mentioned earlier, blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize digital rights management, identity verification, transactions, and supply chain management in the media and entertainment industry. This technology could help to enhance security and privacy by providing transparent and secure systems for managing content and data. 
  • Quantum computing: Quantum computing has the potential to break traditional encryption methods and create new challenges for cybersecurity and data privacy. In response, new encryption methods are being developed that are resistant to quantum computing attacks.
  • Cloud security: As more media and entertainment companies move their operations to the cloud, cloud security will become increasingly important. New solutions are being developed to help ensure the security of data and applications in cloud environments.
  • Privacy by design: The concept of privacy by design involves incorporating privacy and security considerations into the design of products and services from the outset. This approach can help to ensure that privacy and security are built into products and services from the ground up, rather than being added as an afterthought.
  • Biometric authentication: Biometric authentication, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, is becoming increasingly popular as a more secure method of authentication. This technology could help to reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud in the media and entertainment industry.
  • Edge computing: As more data is processed at the edge of networks, security concerns will arise. On the flip side, if all the processing is done at a centralized node, the entire system is vulnerable to attacks. With edge computing, the edge servers create an abstraction for the central node and prevent the entire system from coming down due to an attack.
  • Cybersecurity insurance: As cyberattacks become increasingly common, more media and entertainment companies are turning to cybersecurity insurance as a means of protecting their business. These policies can provide financial assistance in the event of a breach and may also offer risk management advice to help prevent future attacks.

Cloud computing is another emerging model for enhancing cybersecurity. It stores and processes data on remote servers, allowing you to offload your IT infrastructure. You can easily scale your operations with cloud computing and access specialized expertise from third-party providers such as cloud engineering and cloud application development services.

The future of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, and it’s impossible to implement all the new technologies available in the market. A practical approach your company can take is to assess its security needs and determine which software can meet and even exceed them. This way, you’re not spending thousands of dollars on technologies that don’t address your security challenges. 

Conclusion

As a media software development company, you may be operating across multiple public and private clouds. A comprehensive and integrated cybersecurity solution has become absolutely critical for such operations. Relying solely on the security tools provided by each cloud provider can lead to varying levels of security and a lack of connection between the security architectures of the hybrid cloud and on-premises infrastructure, ultimately putting the organization at risk.

To address this challenge, Practical Logix offers a seamless and integrated security architecture that covers the entire infrastructure, from the data center to multiple clouds. With consistent procedures and seamless integration, Practical Logix enables cybersecurity teams to operate more efficiently, and the organization’s overall cybersecurity risk is significantly reduced.

Contact us today to learn more about how Practical Logix can help your business stay secure.

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