on August 11, 2014 Media Industry News Post Production

How to Secure Your Media Without Alienating Your Users

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Content security is something anyone in production needs to care about. If you don’t think so, just ask Lionsgate about maintaining the integrity of their data pre-release. Nationwide in 2013 alone, 822 million records were exposed by data breaches according to research from Risk Based Security.

While choosing the right file-sharing tool is an important step in preventing leaks, technology alone won’t be enough to protect against data breaches. Even Fort Knox is only as secure as the people it has guarding it and the discipline with which they implement the security tools at their disposal.

In the production industry, there are a variety of options when it comes to secure file transfer. When choosing one, you’re not only trusting its security with your sensitive content, you’re trusting it with the reputation and profitability of your company. Let the wrong file leak and you’re not just looking for a new job, you’re likely facing a lawsuit that could bankrupt you for years to come.

On the other side of this argument, you probably don’t want to use a system that takes a 12-step encryption process to decode just to watch a media file. The more secure the file is, the less accessible it is and vice versa. Then there’s ease of use to take into account. 

The ideal solution will sit in the middle of a triangle with those three attributes at the corners. Moving too far in the direction of any one of the three will create unwanted friction during the review and approval process. Here are three scenarios that highlight potential pitfalls:

Overemphasizing Ease of Use

Problem: Important stakeholders have busy schedules. If it takes more than a few seconds to open and view a media file, they simply won’t do it. The last thing you want to do when sending media files to collaborators is send an accompanying instruction manual with it, however, emphasizing ease of use often leads to sacrificing security and functionality. 

Solution: While sacrificing functionality can be inconvenient, sacrificing security can be catastrophic. The right solution will have a user-interface that’s intuitive and simple without posing any security risks and still have a variety of useful features.

Overemphasizing Functionality 

Problem: Giving users a variety of options for how to collaborate and share their media can be valuable, but it can also lead to decision paralysis. If sending out a link to access a media file requires having to customize whether or not metadata, password protection and user-specific access are enabled, that slows down the process and creates unwanted friction.

Solution: Creating preset, standardized settings allows for customization while limiting friction and decision paralysis. If every time you make a media asset available to the press, you need the same security settings, you shouldn’t have to customize each link each time. The same goes for sharing and collaborating internally or with whatever other stakeholders with which you’re sharing and collaborating regularly.

Overemphasizing Security

Problem: Oftentimes security is the #1 priority. When pre-release content is being passed from one stakeholder to another, a guarantee that it will be kept in the right hands at all times is a paramount concern. While certain requirements must be met, it can also create issues if content is so locked down it becomes completely inaccessible.

Solution: It all comes back to customization. Some media assets need to be locked down under extreme conditions while others need to be readily accessible at a moment’s notice. Using a solution that allows you to customize and adjust your settings to accommodate varying audiences and handle materials of varying sensitivities allows you to keep all your assets in one centrally accessible place without worrying about security risks.

Finding a file-sharing solution that allows you to set your own parameters around security, ease of use, and accessibility will allow you to efficiently view media while still maintaining data security at all times. It will also allow you to empower and trust your employees to be responsible with the content assets at their disposal.

While balancing accessibility with security may be a difficult task, it could save your company's reputation and even more importantly, its bottom line.

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Shannon Hawkins

I'm a content marketing/strategist at MediaSilo. I'm also the first person on record to ever feel "whelmed".