Steve Christian, senior vice-president of marketing at Verimatrix, tells APB why securing digital content assets is key in facing the rapid change of technologies in the media and entertainment industry.
The ongoing transition to IP represents many shifts for broadcasters, including the adoption of software-based services that run on virtualised infrastructure in the cloud. This means that broadcasters are also having to re-look at how they protect and secure their content. What advice would you offer where this is concerned?
Steve Christian: It is not so much the transition to IP itself but all the associated changes and opportunities that have significant implications for revenue security. These include migration to cloud-based software infrastructures, deployment of over-the-top (OTT) services, big data analytics, much greater interactivity and new services around the Internet of Things (IoT). The trend towards IP has brought security onto centre stage in all these areas as software-based and cardless security, anchored by hardware roots of trust in IP connected devices, become the standard.
A key point is that video service providers are migrating towards IP and the cloud at different rates, which reflect their diverse strategies and legacies. Yet in all cases, revenue security has become intimately interwoven with critical aspects of service delivery and personalisation, especially analytics, as well as with infrastructure components such as the headend. We therefore have ensured that our cloud strategy is as flexible as possible, culminating in the recent launch of the Verimatrix Secure Cloud. This offers a cloud-based alternative deployment option to on-premises systems and helps operators seek the migration path to IP that best suits their own aims and objectives.
Besides securing their digital content assets, the transition to IP also represents an opportunity to gain a deeper level of insights into their viewers. How can operators best take advantage of the multiple points of data across the organisation?
Christian: The IP transition is giving operators access to a vast amount of data from an array of sources, bringing great potential for valuable customer insights, cost savings and operational efficiencies. The challenge lies in collecting, storing and analysing this data within a single coherent analytics platform.
Security has become a major enabler for analytics as a source of data by virtue of its position in the headend and through management of entitlements, as well as in protecting data, whatever its provenance. This second role of protecting privacy and ensuring confidentiality is crucial for encouraging users to make sensitive data available.
It is paramount to choose technology partners who not only provide data security and analytics capabilities to enable data monetisation, but also are aware that customers’ trust is everything.
One technology that has seen varying degrees of implementation in Asia-Pacific is 4K/Ultra HD (UHD). What do you think are some of the remaining challenges in securing 4K/UHD content, for both linear and OTT platforms?
Christian: 4K/UHD does not bring fundamentally new content security challenges, but does raise the bar by increasing quality and desirability of the product while making content easier to capture for illicit re-distribution. 4K/UHD, combined with the rise of online distribution over the Internet and IP networks, is driving demand from content owners for forensic watermarking, because this is a critical component for tracing illicit streams back to their source.
However, watermarking is just one of three essential components, or pillars, of 4K/UHD security. The other two pillars are hardware-based security and trusted software security. Each constitutes a different layer of defence, with the hardware pillar providing security inside the System on Chip (SoC) for credentials such as keys. The second pillar, sometimes described as hardened software, ensures that only privileged logic components can be executed by the system, as protection against infiltration.
The key point is that these three pillars are interdependent and reinforce each other to provide a solid overall defence against piracy.
Another area that Verimatrix is increasing its sphere of influence is IoT, which may deviate from the customers you traditionally serve. Can you elaborate on your IoT strategy, and the relevance it provides in a continuously changing media landscape?
Christian: We recognised that although IoT would introduce new security challenges, these could largely be addressed by modifying existing, well-proven security technologies. Where new methods would be required, for example defending against large-scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, the relevant technologies were already being developed because these same threats were emerging in traditional domains.
Two other key points have emerged from investigation of actual or potential IoT breaches at different levels. First, security must be at the forefront when planning and deploying IoT services, incorporated at the specification stage rather than bolted on afterwards. Second and most important, security must be continually upgraded throughout the lifetime of a service to counter emerging threats as they arise.
Renewability is at the heart of our strategy for both IoT and pay-TV security, ensuring that operators can respond quickly and effectively when attacks do succeed in penetrating perimeter defences.
To learn more, visit www.verimatrix.com.