CDSA Chairman: Piracy a Business Issue

By Chris Tribbey

Richard Atkinson, the global director of piracy conversion for Adobe and newly installed chairman of the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), offers his thoughts about the direction of CDSA, the security threats facing the industry and the roll of government in fighting cyber security threats.

What’s your overriding goal as chairman of CDSA, and how will you accomplish that goal?

Atkinson: As chairman, I would like to change the industry a bit. From my perspective, I would like to see the broader media industry see the amazing opportunity they have for business growth once they focus — from a business perspective — on the challenges of piracy and security.

Demand for our products is a wonderful thing, and our businesses — once they focus on it — really know how to respond to demand. But, it takes a shift in our thinking and a shift in our actions. We have many examples of this growth across the industry, but every one was driven by taking a non-traditional approach.

As I commonly say, piracy is a business issue. As chairman, I want to continue this message and focus. And CDSA is the ideal organization to be the catalyst for this change.

To start, we’re going to hold a series of “Sharing Sessions” where some of these successes can be highlighted across the industry. My belief is that we have incredible experiences and knowledge as leaders across the industry, but we do not leverage this enough. These sessions are a start.

In addition, I think we have incredible leaders in this space that are highly influential in their own companies and can continue to build the “trusted partner network” that CDSA was founded on.

What are the top security threats media and entertainment companies face today, and what can they do to address them?

Atkinson: Security and threats are very broad and complicated topics. But, I think you can make things much easier if we think of this space in terms of risk. What is the value of something, the likelihood it might be compromised, and the impact of that event? With our new wired and wireless work streams, our data and content has never been so abstracted. But, at the same time the threats are basically the same with one major difference: they can be compromised in a microsecond, virtually invisibly, by someone on the other side of the world, with catastrophic results. But let’s not panic. Security needs to be a key priority across the business. I know it’s a hard sell. But again this is where leadership comes in. Our company executives need to have it explained in terms of real risk, real business factors, and real impact. Put in the right terms, security is just another part of the business process and not something wrapped around it.

What are your thoughts regarding the current state of cloud solutions for content storage and delivery?

Atkinson: As I mentioned at the Content Protection Summit in December, even the term “cloud” is a little undefined and can mean a very wide range of things. Security can also vary a lot, but in general I think it’s improving. The key is in customers demanding it, as the market goes where the business is.

In your current role at Adobe, speak a bit about how the company is tackling piracy, not just domestically, but worldwide.

Atkinson: At Adobe, we see piracy as a huge opportunity to grow the business. It is demonstrated demand for our products (which is what every business wants) and an opportunity to protect our customers from being victimized by counterfeiters. And for those that have been victimized, a path to get genuine Adobe product.

It is a non-traditional approach, but exactly what I am meaning when I say the industry is and has been missing a huge opportunity.

In your opinion, is the U.S. government doing enough to fight cyber security threats? Why or why not?

Atkinson: I believe the U.S. government is doing a lot in this area, but this again is a wide-ranging area: from nation-state type threats to organized crime attacks to socio-political attacks to basic hackers. We live in an ever-increasingly computerized and online world, the world of these attacks. As consumers and businesses we do need to be cognizant that we are in this world with our data, our content, and our lives and need to be at least as concerned as we would be in our physical world. I do not see this as a U.S. government issue, but rather a consumer one. Again, if we demand a safer world, the market WILL respond with it. But we have to demand it.