Media is used today for a host of reasons. These include but are not limited to delivering information, education and entertainment. Technology has enabled the rapid proliferation of media and the geographical source of this media has become virtually irrelevant.
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Take the example of a video that is being recorded in America. The moment its recording is complete, one individual decides to upload it over a social media platform. Within seconds, the users of the same platform are watching that video in a remote part of Britain.
Within a few hours, the same video becomes viral and has been viewed by millions of people in many countries across the globe. Prior to the advent of modern technology, one could not even think of this rapid pace, let alone achieve it.
Cloud Solutions and Media
The cloud revolution was not motivated by a media centric approach, rather the broad idea in mind was to achieve centralization and efficiency. Interestingly, the domain of media can be regarded as one of the biggest beneficiaries of cloud solutions.
Major Forms of Modern Media
Although media can take many forms, but the most commonly used and understood forms are print and electronic. As print media is not resource intensive in the context of IT, the impact of cloud solutions on the print media was somewhat subdued.
On the contrary, electronic media is highly resource intensive in terms of both processing power and storage. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the immense success of electronic media is largely attributable to modern cloud solutions.
Video as a Strong Media
Within electronic media, video is by far the most effective and powerful tool. Any message loses its appeal if either vocals or visuals are missing from it. Video as a medium culminates both these elements with perfect synchrony and the result is an impactful message.
How does Cloud Optimize Media
Generally speaking, cloud solutions are deployed to bring about data centralization, efficiency and performance. The infrastructures that Cloud Service Providers deploy at their data centers are super-fast and pack a lot of processing power. There are even custom cloud solutions that are designed solely for graphical heavy lifting.
Let’s discuss some specific advantages cloud solutions bring to the table in terms of media management.
Video is the most resource intensive media but its effectiveness compels most organizations to add it in their product or service mix. Video content is getting higher in pixel quality and resolution. Ultra high definition videos are becoming the norm rather than exception.
In this scenario, videos can span over terabytes of storage space. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) deploy storage infrastructure worth millions of dollars, well in advance of the forecasted demand. Organizations on the other hand will resort to enhancing in house data storage capacity more as a last resort.
Therefore, storing media that spans over terabytes is a breeze over the cloud. Companies no longer have to procure storage options on a piece meal basis, that is both costly and an administrative hassle. Once an entity moves its media over the cloud, it ends up with ample storage resources in house.
Security and Standards
Media holds both personal and proprietary value for an organization or its customers that are either individuals or companies. To ensure that all the media residing over the cloud is fully secure and compliant with industry protocols, today’s CSPs get their cloud solutions certified from independent third parties.
This third party validation has greatly enhanced the confidence of organizations to migrate their media over the cloud. Such third party audits go beyond the scope of security of CSPs and also rigorously review the standardization of data management and transmission protocols over the cloud.
In this way, companies which migrate their critical media content over the cloud can rely on promised service standards. A cloud based delivery channel will not be compromised even in situations of extreme usage or choked network. Such ratifications act for the mutual benefit of both the CSP and the company availing its cloud services.
General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR
An honorable mention in the domain of data security is European Union’s (EU) landmark GDPR regulation that envisages a set of rules for organizations dealing with public information. The regulation not only applies to organizations within EU, but also on the transfer of personal data beyond EU borders.
Crux of the matter is that Cloud Service Providers are much more cautious when dealing with media content that relates to personal aspects of individuals. This also gives peace of mind to companies that are using cloud solutions to store media of personal nature over the cloud.
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Interface with Content
With more media shifting to the cloud, there is a fundamental shift in how we as end users interact with it. The trend of keeping a copy or back up of media over our personal storage resources is rapidly diminishing. We simply tend to access the cloud, interact with the media any way we like and call it a day.
The two classical examples of this trend are You Tube and Netflix. Both are video centric companies that deliver media over the cloud to their customers, as and when they demand. You Tube has a database of billions of videos uploaded by millions of people from across the globe. Each video is just a click away from the end user.
Netflix offers popular movies, shows and seasons to millions of its subscribers across the globe over its cloud. The customer can access the media of choice at a time of his own liking and this has been made possible mainly through the power of the cloud.
When a company moves its media over to the cloud, it no longer has to deploy and maintain a vast storage infrastructure on premises. This saves the company a lot of fixed costs that include physical space, hardware and maintenance staff.
This also saves a company from hardware redundancy costs as all the hardware related costs are borne by the Cloud Service Provider (CSP). As a company shifts its media to the cloud, it brings substantial savings in both fixed and operational components of costs.
In a conventional on premises arrangement, enhancing the media storage capacity can be time taking and costly. Secondly, the storage needs for media content are highly volatile and thus, forecasting those needs is next to impossible. Due to this limitation, the entire exercise of budgeting storage needs is fruitless.
This is where the real-time scalability of the cloud comes in handy. As the media related needs of an organization expand or shrink, the shared resources of the CSP are there for the company. Another key advantage of storing media over the cloud is that a company will pay only for the storage resources it is actually consuming.
It is undeniable that companies can tap immense efficiency and savings by taking their media over to the cloud. However, they must first fully appreciate the concerns of customers when it comes to data privacy and security. Another pillar of this approach is to incorporate explicit user consent when any media of personal nature is involved.
So far as security of media related content is concerned, companies will have to closely coordinate will their respective Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and ensure base level compliance. The scope of media security should include the key aspects of both its storage and transmission.