Dear Hollywood, Here’s How to Protect Your Content From Hackers and Digital Pirates (Guest Blog)

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Cyber security breaches pose a significant and growing threat to individuals and businesses around the world. The entertainment industry is no exception. The average major motion picture costs $100 million to produce, and yet only four in every 10 recoup that initial investment. This makes the protection of intellectual property and the prevention of theft critical to the success of film and television.

But as several recent high-profile security hacks in Hollywood make clear, the protection of any creative content is only as good as the weakest link. In many of these instances, the breaches occurred at third-party vendors performing postproduction work on film or television content.

When systems are breached and works are stolen, the implications bear real impact. There is the loss of the content itself, which can translate to tens of millions of dollars in lost sales if it is made available on pirate sites. But there is also the loss of reputation for the facility breached, as well as the potential for significant loss of business and even lawsuits. Just as content protection impacts a film or TV show’s bottom line, a vendor’s reputation for content security is crucial to its commercial success. All third-party vendors that work on film and television content — from specialized visual effects to dubbing studios — must have the necessary safeguards in place to protect the creative content entrusted to them.

To avoid revenue and reputational losses, the MPAA, along with its six member studios, have developed the MPAA Content Security Best Practices – Common Guidelines. These best practices cover a broad range of security controls, encompassing management systems, as well as both physical and digital security for a variety of post-production facility types. They can be found on the MPAA website and are available at no cost and in six languages.

Postproduction companies can leverage the self-assessment questionnaires to perform an internal evaluation of their security stance or a risk assessment.

Any sized postproduction facility can use this self-assessment to consider a variety of hypothetical, negative scenarios: Are you connected to the internet? How secure is your internal network? Do you trust your workers? How do you know your employees or freelancers won’t unintentionally leak content, or even walk off with pre-release content?

By repeatedly asking these questions and prioritizing the implementation of controls that protect against the highest risk, one step at a time, companies can successfully build strong security programs that keep up with the continually evolving threat landscape.

After assessing more than 500 facilities in more than 35 countries around the world, the MPAA has observed that by maintaining a strong content security environment, companies can both mitigate the damages of content theft and minimize the likelihood of a security breach in the first place.

With the escalated threat of hackers and theft, film and television businesses and workers must be vigilant in securing their creative content. While breaches can have far-reaching financial and reputational impact, they can also be mitigated with strong controls and diligence.

The MPAA’s free set of Best Practices is one important tool for entertainment industry vendors to achieve the security today’s digital environment demands

Related stories from TheWrap:

Why Trump's Mar-a-Lago Is a Hacker's Delight Waiting to Happen

New 'Pirates of the Caribbean' May Be Victim of Hackers Demanding Ransom (Report)

Netflix Held for Ransom: Hacker Threatens to Release 'Orange' Episodes (Report)