Outlook: Security and cloud workflows
James Wilson
Issue: November/December 2020

Outlook: Security and cloud workflows

Most of 2020 has been challenging for everyone globally. Looking ahead to 2021, I think we all can agree that there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to the pandemic and how it will continue to impact media companies. However, what companies can do is prepare and be flexible with their plans, which is something we’ve all learned to do more over the last six months.

With production teams working remotely, the spotlight has become focused on high-quality, IP-based streaming and cloud security. It’s more important than ever for media companies to secure their workflows to protect their content and revenues, meaning media businesses have a lot to think about if they want to operate effectively and efficiently amid the ‘new normal’ and going into 2021.

The shift in how production teams are working is also driving interest in cloud-native technologies and container-based deployments. Kubernetes-based container orchestration platforms, such as OpenShift, offer reproducible, high-availability, fault-tolerant infrastructure solutions that allow media businesses to move and quickly scale their workflows to or from any public or private cloud environment without a major investment in re-architecture.

The inherent values of cloud-native technologies are prompting more and more media businesses to work with external partners to evolve their public cloud resources and workflows into container-based environments. Although the media industry has been relatively slow to adopt containers compared to other sectors, we’re seeing growing interest in Kubernetes and the consolidation of media offerings onto a single platform powered by containers, and I think we’ll continue to see interest grow in 2021. 

Container technology isn’t the only innovation enhancing remote production workflows. IP-based streaming is also taking on more importance and we’ll see this continue as remote productions have fewer office-based IT support staff. Media businesses are operating on skeleton crews, and IP-based streaming offers a flexible and cost-efficient way of operating remote production sites without requiring a full IT staff, while also ensuring a more streamlined workflow. 

Linked to this, of course, is the issue of security. As productions will continue to become remote with employees working from different locations, security must be considered as a central part of any end-to-end workflow. Ensuring proper identity management is becoming increasingly important, presenting a need to integrate technologies such as intelligent authentication, credentials encryption and secure key management integration with BYOK (bring your own key) capabilities. 

BYOK enables businesses to easily and cost-efficiently rotate their encryption keys, and can be supplemented with other cloud security innovations such as forensic watermarking-as-a-service to counter piracy. This all can help businesses ensure security by following the principles of zero-trust environments when auditing key workflows, providing a high level of control and protecting valuable content. These security measures can help organizations currently going through this transition phase adapt to new, secure ways of working now and in the future.

Ultimately, it’s becoming clear that container-based deployments will become the dominant infrastructure solution in a remote and hybrid cloud world. Cloud-native technologies are vital to supporting agile and secure operations, giving media businesses the tools to enhance their remote production workflows and adapt to any situation.  

James Wilson is Head of Aspera Engineering and Operations, an IBM-company (ibm.com) based in Emeryville, CA.