Net Insight – Taking control of IP: Putting security back at the heart of media

Net Insight – Taking control of IP: Putting security back at the heart of media

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Net Insight – Taking control of IP: Putting security back at the heart of media

Wed 12, 07 2023

Kristian Mets, Head of Sales Business Development at Net Insight

The IP media paradigm is loud and clear, changing what we used to know about producing and distributing live events and how we did business in the media world. The innovation potential is immense, bringing efficiency and agility to the media industry at an unprecedented scale. However, transformation also needs to iron out some of the changes it brings. Moving from closed and controlled to open IP-based workflows means network control and security become mission-critical capabilities as media companies need to ensure their high-value content is protected.

When it comes to premium content, any mistake or network vulnerability can prove detrimental, both financially and reputationally. There is no room for compromise —  media companies need to boost their network control and security to ensure they make the most of IP without caveats.

Closing the closed media interface chapter

SDI has been a big chapter in media, powering the secure transport of uncompressed and unencrypted video feeds.  However, closed interfaces can no longer meet the requirements of today’s complex and content-hungry media landscape. Consumers are after higher-quality viewing experiences, including rich and high bandwidth UHD-4K and UHD-8K video formats. The transition to flexible and scalable workflows is not optional but a driver of competitive advantages that can define the winners in a fast-evolving media market.

IP isn’t purpose-built for media. This means that media companies need the right technology solutions to ensure the control, security, and quality of high-value content. Using IP to transmit video, audio, and data means entering different domains and network links and ports. All these entry and exit points need to be controlled to ensure the right type of IP media traffic can pass through the networks and the type of streams that can go in and out of each network domain.

Due to its nature, IP media is vulnerable to various types of security risks, including ‘internal’ and ‘external’ threats. Even ‘secure’ IP media traffic can cause serious network problems. For instance, If the content isn’t configured correctly, it can flood the network and cause packet loss, jitter, and delay. At the same time, there is always the risk of ‘human error’. For example, a camera setting could be misconfigured, and the connection mistakenly defined as high-definition 4K. That would mean the IP media flow going into a switch could risk the entire event network going down.

These errors can jeopardize the live broadcasting of high-value content, leading to poor viewing experiences for consumers and revenue loss for media companies. Media organizations need complete visibility and control of their IP media traffic to enhance the security of their most valuable content.

Media-native security without compromises

While network control and security are key, there are different routes that media companies consider. However, not all security solutions can provide the benefits media organizations need. For instance, generic enterprise IT firewalls and solutions can’t meet the reliability, high-bandwidth, and low-latency requirements of any organization moving video over IP. Additionally, because of IP media networks’ stringent bandwidth, latency, and robustness requirements, enterprise firewalls dramatically increase costs. Media companies would need more expensive firewalls to secure high-bandwidth networks, which could lower the quality of video streams, deteriorating the overall user experience.

This is why the media industry needs ‘media-native’ security solutions. A key alternative network security model leverages the reliability and capabilities of a Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) media proxy that can deliver both high security and super high-quality video.

The RTP media proxy would terminate a media flow at the network boundary and re-establish it at the destination network without disrupting other active IP media flows. In this way, it boosts the security of the overall media network by preventing outages and security risks, including hijacking and spoofing. At the same time, the RTP media proxy preserves the integrity of established flows. The solution enables the monitoring and assurance of the IP media payload as it passes between networks with ETR 101/290 P1 performance metrics, frozen frames, and audio silence. Media companies can enjoy the full protection of their IP media network without risking the quality of the video signals transported.

In addition, media organizations can drive cost efficiencies as these media-native solutions minimize costs compared to traditional IT firewalls and are easy and seamless for media companies to deploy.

 Security through a ‘media-first’ lens

 IP delivers the innovation the media industry needs to push boundaries and thrive — from unprecedented agility and scalability to new revenue streams. However, open interfaces require a security layer to ensure media networks and high-value content are protected and controlled to the highest standards.

Due to the nature of the media industry, media technology often needs a different approach to meet industry standards and Service Level Agreements (SLAs), particularly around the high-bandwidth and low-latency requirements.

Traditional enterprise IT firewalls are not fit for purpose and can’t deliver seamless, high-quality IP transmission, raising infrastructure costs and deteriorating the broadcasting-grade quality of video feeds. On the other hand, media-native solutions like RTP media proxies are born out of media needs and can deliver the security model of the IP era.

Media companies need to be strategic about their control and security needs. A ‘media-first’ approach removes the challenges of IP adoption. With security challenges resolved, media organizations can focus on what they do best — delivering exceptional and exciting viewing experiences.

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