M&E Journal: Building Trust Across the Partner Ecosystem

By Christine Thomas, Senior Director, Music Partnerships, Former Senior Director, WW Technical Operations & Strategic Initiatives, Dolby Laboratories

The challenge for the media industry is to scale at a rapid pace. We are faced with the urgency to scale as continued introduction of new technologies to the market requires us to evolve within our industry. Sales brochures, marketing campaigns, internal objectives, partner meetings, and day-to-day operations remind us that there is simply not a limit to the speed and capacity required for us to support our changing, global environment.

Globalization and the democratization of content creation and distribution are driving a paradigm shift within the industry. High resolution, high frame rate, and greater bit depth are exacerbating this, resulting in an urgent demand for agility, speed, performance, efficiency, and capacity. The volume of data and the breadth at which partners are engaged in creation and distribution processes require the adoption of new technologies.

In turn, new technologies are changing the way content is created and delivered. Business leaders need to be even more responsive to internal and external business partners. This ability to respond and scale at a rapid pace requires agility.

Such agility creates risk, as inherently, vulnerabilities will be exposed by unrefined practices. For this reason, we look toward our trusted partner ecosystem, in order to leverage common tools and practices, in an effort to secure the environments supporting the M&E community. For us, it is imperative to build and maintain trust as we evolve our business practices; we see security frameworks as a business enabler. Security frameworks provide us with a set of tools that support the objectives of meeting business demands while simultaneously optimizing media operations. Optimized operations and refined cost models minimize the impact of change, while we search for new solutions to fortify our ability to scale.

Reducing friction with best practices

Security frameworks and best practices provided by industry groups such as the Trusted Partner Network (TPN), Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) act as a common language that spans internal and external operations across the media ecosystem. The impact on the production environment is significant as this provides the foundation for framing operational processes by establishing a baseline for what is acceptable risk, and risk mitigation.

Operational risk can more easily be measured and mitigated by building customer requirements into operational processes. Security conversations become easier, while change management becomes more manageable, and exceptions can be minimized as the business evolves. This reduces friction across internal stakeholders and external business partners and fosters adoption of new technologies by clearly defining the requirements and expectations for vendors supporting media companies. Media companies and their partners can therefore, be more agile in the adoption of new technologies, such as cloud computing.

As cloud computing facilitates more agile adoption of platforms, services and solutions, allowing us to scale and extend that scale to our partners and customers at a rapid pace, it all comes down to trust. Trust is rapidly becoming the new security battleground. As demonstrated by recent congressional hearings, media companies and their vendors are increasingly being entrusted to properly handle, protect and control both media content and customer data.

The estimation of negative impact to partnerships and the potential loss of confidence within the industry, if a business does not execute on the commitment to maintain such trust, is beyond conception. In the media industry, trust is the most essential element of business practices. It is simply fundamental, and for that reason, security practices must be the cornerstone to all partnerships.

Business operations that adhere to recognized security frameworks have the tools to build integrity into their services and products while securing confidential information. Frameworks ease the burden of prioritization and development decisions to be made during product implementation, by providing clear mandates on security requirements. Security objectives that support the business in achieving its goals build trust internally and externally, and build stronger business relationships across those boundaries.

The means to trust and verify

As the industry continues its digital transformation and adopts new technologies there will be an increasing need to trust, but verify, members of the media supply chain. The TPN provides a means for such verification, and when paired with a strong security framework organization, we have the tools needed to earn and maintain trust.

As more organizations adhere to security best practices, a verified chain of trust is built between content creators and the larger media vendor ecosystem. Security no longer becomes a cost center for the business but an enabler leading to greater efficiency and security across the entire media workflow and supply chain.


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