Op-Ed: How To Securely Share Media and Protect It From Ransomware

As media and entertainment professionals have shifted to remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing, accessing, and storing large media files has been a challenge. Accessing data directly from data center-based storage is cumbersome and may lack important safeguards that protect information. Employing cloud-based collaboration tools also has downsides. When media is stored in any public cloud, it is of course subject to all the security threats that hackers commonly employ in cloud breaches.

Jon Toor

To tackle this challenge, object storage specialist Cloudian partnered with Storage Made Easy (SME) on a cost-effective storage solution that enables remote work and collaboration while keeping content within the corporate firewall where it’s secure, compliant with corporate policies. Now you can even protect that media from ransomware.

Simple, Secure File Sharing
Cloudian plus SME gives users a simple, Dropbox-like user experience. But with some important differences. First, the data is maintained in your data center, behind your firewall. Second, it leverages your existing authentication frameworks such as Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. Third, it employs password-protected links with an expiration date and specific access rights.  Only specified users will be able to download and access files for a set time limit.

Cloudian and SME’s secure sharing links allow collaborators to contribute files to a shared source, control access and include trackable digital watermarks. Links can also be revoked when team members leave or are added and when projects end, keeping content secured and out of the wrong hands.

Additional security features include two-factor authentication to confirm user identity, customizable security/access policies for remote workers, virus scans and the ability to search user and system activities in the case of an audit.

Making a seamless transition from work to home office, the Cloudian-SME solution ensures remote workers have secure access to content from anywhere. The solution is especially well-suited for content collaboration where movie producers, broadcasters and postproduction services are geographically dispersed.

Ransomware Protection
Ransomware is a significant threat everywhere, even in the cloud.  Cloudian-SME can protect your data from ransomware with a feature called Object Lock that lets you make data unchangeable: once the policy is set, media files cannot be altered or deleted for a set period of time. Because the data cannot be changed, it is protected from encryption by ransomware. This hardened feature, verified in US government certification testing, is especially important today with more personnel working remotely, outside the corporate firewall, and therefore more vulnerable to malware attacks.

Collaborating with ease using preferred applications
Because users can access files stored on office network file systems remotely directly from within their applications, it eliminates the need to move files. This is ideal for workers in the field such as photographers and videographers who can now instantly access media files offline and via their iOS and Android mobile devices through cloud sync. A cloud copy feature also allows media files to be instantly copied over to preferred applications without needing to download and upload. Having data accessible as it is captured saves M&E professionals upload time, allowing them to get to editing and producing more quickly.

Navigating the New Normal
According to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft “As COVID impacts every aspect of our lives, we’ve seen two years of digital transformation in two months.” With uncertainty around when physical offices will be back up and running, media and entertainment organizations are having to quickly shift to a digital-only approach, with tapes and drives out of reach. As a result, many are looking to migrate from legacy tape archives and consolidate storage infrastructure. To make these large files (news, sports archives, movies, etc.) easily accessible and searchable, many are turning to private cloud storage such as Cloudian to eliminate scaling limitations of traditional storage infrastructure.

As M&E professionals are adapting to new challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, a secure cost-effective storage solution is critical to ensuring operations can continue as usual. With Cloudian and SME’s approach to secure, easy-to-collaborate storage and file sharing, remote workers can effectively work together to bring projects over the finish line and ultimately feel less remote.

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