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Protecting a well-known organization from damaging ransomware attacks
While the Motion Picture Association (MPA) has served as the voice and advocate of the film and television industry around the world for nearly 100 years, most people know of them as the organization that previews every single movie and gives them a rating— such as rated PG or R. Such a high profile brings with it specific concerns about security, particularly when it comes to data protection.
According to Dennis Yang, MPA’s Chief Information Officer, the MPA is ripe for ransomware attack because people mistakenly think the organization has a huge database of movies. “The people who rate the movies watch a film streaming just like anyone else. But people don’t know that, so we become a big target,” he said.
And that puts all MPA’s other critical, operational data at risk. “If you look at the Sony hacks a few years ago, that’s probably one of the biggest wake-up calls we’ve seen,” admitted Yang. “As our awareness about hackers and the dangers of ransomware grows, data protection is increasingly a big concern for the MPA.”
MPA wanted a cloud-based backup solution that could truly protect their data from ransomware attacks, while being capable of handling a multi-cloud environment.
When Yang joined MPA, the organization had made steps into the cloud, having moved to Office 365, and were roughly 40% to 50% into their cloud journey. Today, Yang says the MPA is operating at 70%-80% in the cloud environment. “We still have some on-prem and some patch systems,” he said. “But the majority of our applications—both internal facing and external facing—are in AWS.” And the organization is currently looking at Microsoft Azure to complement and enhance its existing cloud infrastructure.
As MPA continued its journey to the cloud they sought:
• A solution that was capable of handling multi-cloud environments including AWS and Microsoft Azure
• A single service to replace the burdensome combination of on prem backup and homemade scripts that were costing them far too much
• To eliminate the need to write their own time-consuming scripts for AWS, reducing the amount of backup copies they needed to maintain
• To simplify their data recovery process and significantly reduce the management complexity
Clumio’s immutable backup gave MPA the confidence that they could withstand the inevitable ransomware attack. And by making backup easier, it freed up IT to focus on more important issues.
The MPA’s search for an answer started by talking with their current vendor, Veeam, which they were using for their on-prem backup. Veeam’s approach to protecting cloud native services was very immature and added little value compared to the scripts already being created by MPA. Yang quickly realized that Veeam couldn’t really address their desire for cloud backup, so he expanded their search and looked at Cohesity and Druva, but Cohesity also fell short, especially when it came to cost, and Druva didn’t offer much more than Veeam.
Yang then reached out to an old colleague who was now working with Clumio and set up a meeting. Yang quickly realized that Clumio offered a solution that was unique compared to the other three vendors, providing a robust and groundbreaking service at a price that made sense. “After we met and saw what Clumio could do in the cloud, the decision was easy.”
“I have confidence that my backup is going to be there. That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about anymore. I can now focus on the other aspects of my job.” – Dennis Yang, CIO, the MPA
At the top of MPA’s wish list was the ability to secure his backup data separately from his production data. The potential for a ransomware attack on MPA is high, and while hackers who got into the network would find no movie database, they would have access to all of the organization’s operational data. Clumio’s immutable backup delivered the protection Yang was looking for. “Now, even if we get a ransomware attack,” Yang explained, “our air gapped backup environment allows us to breathe easier.”
The ease of Clumio’s backup and recovery was exactly what Yang was looking for as well. MPA doesn’t have to deal with scripts anymore, so things have become much easier. Rather than rely on a team member to ensure proper backup and adherence to retention policies, the Clumio service does it automatically. “I have confidence that my backup is going to be there,” Yang said. “That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about anymore. I can now focus on the other aspects of my job.”
The icing on the cake was how Clumio responded when MPA had a couple of unique issues that the service wasn’t yet designed to address. Clumio responded immediately and showed their nimbleness and flexibility by swiftly addressing both needs. “It was pretty amazing. My team couldn’t believe it,” Yang said. “You don’t see a lot of technology companies like that. Usually when you have an issue, a company will tell you ‘engineering will get to it when they’re available.”
Liberating IT from the burden of backup, allowing them to support the MPA in its mission to advocate for the film, television, and streaming industry.
As MPA continues its journey to the cloud and sheds itself of older, more cumbersome technology, they know that Clumio will be there for them, providing innovative and pragmatic services that help the organization meet the needs of the film industry of the future.
Yang is particularly impressed by Clumio’s ability to operate in and protect a multi-cloud environment. Though they originally built their cloud infrastructure on AWS, they have already added Microsoft 365 and are looking closely on using Microsoft Azure to meet specific needs.
Based on their experience and growing confidence with Clumio, MPA is planning to eventually phase out all of their on-prem backup and move fully into the cloud. And Yang believes that Clumio’s constant focus on the future will continue to reap benefits for MPA. “I feel good that Clumio keeps innovating,” Yang said
The Motion Picture Association, Inc. (MPA) serves as the global voice and advocate of the motion picture, home video, and television industries. It
works in every corner of the globe to advance the creative industry, protect its members’ content across all screens, defend the creative and artistic
freedoms of storytellers, and support innovative distribution models that bring an expansion of viewing choices to audiences around the world.
Its member studios are: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Netflix, Inc.; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.;
Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Media and Entertainment