In 2015, Netflix moved 40,000 terabytes of video to Amazon Web Services, doing away with data centers completely. News Corps moved 85 percent of operations to the cloud. Conde Nast, publisher of U.S. magazines Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and others, decommissioned its data center and went all-in with the cloud, as well.
Stories like these mark an intriguing transition for media companies.
The industry, like many, is moving to cloud-based data storage and computing for a few reasons: Consumers expect media on demand – and on every device — these days, which puts a burden on existing computing power and resources. In addition, there’s huge pressure on media companies to bring new products to market quickly, while being squeezed in all directions by cost pressures.
Any solution that frees up time and resources – both manpower and $$$ — is seen as a boon.
And it can be.
With one giant caveat: security.
Media companies face unique threats (Sony, meet North Korea!) when it comes to cybersecurity.
When hackers steal data from places like Home Depot, they’re not also emptying out the company’s warehouse. But if hackers find a way into a media company’s cloud, they can tap into its most valuable product: intellectual property.
Media organizations simply cannot afford to take risks in this digital space. (Losses from the Sony hack were estimated at $100 million.) And though past attacks illustrate the vulnerability of traditional networks as well as the cloud, companies can be proactive in fielding off threats.
The good news is, it’s often as easy as taking many of the same steps used to protect data in traditional centers. Basic good behavior – password policies, patch updates, limited data access, etc. – goes a long way to protecting assets, regardless of where they’re stored. And cloud providers today are making unique investments in security that trump what a typical enterprise can do on its own.
The setup allows companies to tailor infrastructure to their needs. For instance, highly sensitive user info or financial data (or, if you’re Sony, those controversial, celebrity-skewering emails) can be kept on a physical server, while public cloud services can be used for less-sensitive tasks such as development, testing and staging. It’s a great way to ease into full cloud adoption.
Which, to be honest, is probably where your company is headed.
As Conde Nast’s Joe Simon, executive vice president and CTO, said in July 2015 about taking operations down a digital path, “One of the questions we asked ourselves was: ‘Do we really want to be in the business of running data centers anymore?’”
These days, probably not. But are you ready to reach for the cloud?
The truth is, sooner or later, your business will migrate to the cloud. What concerns do you have, and how do you plan to overcome them?
As always, I welcome your input on how to approach changes and challenges in media. If you think I’ve misread a situation or trend, let me know. If you have a new way of thinking about the topics we discuss, pass it on. I want to engage with all of you in this space as together we make sense of today’s media industry.
Scott Dryburgh joined CSC in 2015 as the Industry Lead for Media with responsibility for UK projects in broadcast, publishing, advertising and entertainment. Prior to joining CSC, he worked across a broad range of clients and was responsible for transforming multi-faceted businesses using a creative and entrepreneurial approach.