By Barrett Coakley
Over the holiday break, I was cleaning out the basement with my 10 year-old-son. He came across a pile of old records, a record player, a box full of cassette tapes and even a Walkman.
He was incredulous that I had “to actually use all this stuff just to listen to music.” After I explained how each one was “really quite simple to use,” he laughed, took out his iPhone and pressed play. Kids these days have it easy.
One of the reasons Apple succeeded with its iPod/iTunes franchise is that it finally provided a single solution to easily manage, share and listen to all your music, anywhere. No longer did you need to record an album to cassette for long car rides or for exercising with your Walkman. No longer did you have to keep up with piles of CDs or boxes of tapes.
While the memories of spending hours making a mixed tape for a girl might be nostalgic for me, it took a ton of time compared to dragging tracks into a folder and hitting a share button. Now it’s all there for you in one device.
Something very similar is happening within Media & Entertainment as everyone involved in the industry moves to a single, more flexible solution for transferring important and large files (so important, they can cause international trouble if leaked and so large, they are often called “extreme files”).
Most enterprise M&E companies have had the budget and IT resources to maintain an integrated on-premises file transfer solution for a few decades now. However, given the cost and infrastructure requirements, small and medium sized companies have not had access to those professional on-premises solutions and, instead, had to resort to a number of ad hoc methods, like email, FTP, shipping physical media and online file sharing services.
Cloud computing has changed all of that, bringing the accelerated file transfer technology originally developed to move huge media files for enterprise companies to SaaS solutions, which are scalable to the budget of any sized company and globally accessible. But many businesses are still suffering under the multiple methods era.
With multiple solutions, file transfers are complex and difficult to manage and trace. For instance, if a customer requests information on file transfers, if there is a security breach or auditing need, they have to dig through shipping receipts, access arcane FTP logs and sometimes multiple online services to track down each send.
As Apple did with the iPod and iTunes, a single solution that has the security and cloud based software flexibility to transfer any sized file anywhere with an Internet connection is changing the whole industry’s relationship with moving their intellectual property around. And as smaller companies like indie and post houses, visual effects studios and CGI contractors gain access the same technology as the large companies, the pool opens up for collaboration and smaller companies enter the professional M&E space.
Security is also a growing concern for the media industry.
Given that the content media companies produce is significantly more valuable than the Bob Segar album I lost in 7th grade, the security features of today’s advanced file transfer software is also a major reason smaller companies are adopting them, especially if they want to work on big budget projects. Being able to easily manage, view and control the movement of and access to every file is imperative. With multiple transfer products, that’s far more difficult to accomplish.
In conclusion, cloud computing has opened up new alternatives for small to mid-size organizations. File transfer software that was once the domain of larger organizations, can now be cost effectively delivered from the cloud with all of the same enterprise-class features and security. And Signiant’s hybrid SaaS solution, Media Shuttle, is leading the way as the first and only SaaS solution on the market for this level of high-security, large file transfers. Merge all of your disparate methods — and users — into one flexible solution.
The nostalgia of using FTP systems and shipping tapes may still hold some to the old ways. But the efficiencies and security measure of solutions like Media Shuttle are becoming a must have for everyone working in a serious media business today, even those of us who can’t bare to throw away our record collection.