Scenios CEO Mark Davis Warns of Security Risks Surrounding 'The Cloud'

Scenios’ own production-management services developed with “12 levels of different kinds of security.”

There are risks connected to the cloud, and users need to understand those risks and make informed decisions to protect themselves, Mark Davis, CEO of Scenios, a cloud-based production management platform, warned Sunday during a panel at the Produced By Conference.

Definitions of the cloud vary, but it can be broadly described as services that can be accessed over the Internet. Gmail, Google Calendar, Facebook and Twitter are all examples of cloud-based services, and as the cloud grows, worldwide revenue from public IT cloud services are forecast to reach $55.5 billion in 2014, according to research firm IDC.

At the same time, recent security break-ins affecting Sony Playstation and Amazon’s cloud services have demonstrated its vulnerability. And with Apple expected to announce its iCloud services on Monday, the focus on cloud security is growing.

Davis’ Scenios has developed a cloud-based center for all production information including script, budgets and schedules, as well as video including rough cuts and even final productions. Davis reported that in developing the system, “we spent a lot of time on security. We wrap content within 12 levels of different kinds of security.”

“This is the glue that brings us together,” said Scenios partner and user Jeff Wurtz, who is producer and director of Inside the Actors Studio. “All things are now stored in one central location,” he explained, noting that also means the ability to work anywhere.

“We streamlined workflow, and can be faster, more efficient… and the best part is we can focus on the production we're doing without needing an IT genius,” Wurtz said. “We are more productive, save money, and ultimately are more profitable.”

Scenios operates using the Amazon cloud, which Davis reported has 99.999% reliability; he expressed strong confidence in the service despite the recent outage.

Davis encouraged those looking to use cloud services to seek out that high level of reliability, as well as other securities including a service -level agreement and offsite backup.

With piracy rampant, The Hollywood Reporter asked if Scenios is finding that studios are comfortable with having work in progress as well as completed projects stored and accessed from the cloud.

Davis told THR that Scenios is working on a video watermarking system, which is based on “very specific discussion with a studio. They said even if you are streaming it, someone can record it with an iPhone, or there is video streaming capture. That is why we are implementing this video watermarking. … If you video watermark the files with the user's name, it is sort of like watermarking a script with the reader's name. … We are talking with (studios) now. It is a studio by studio basis. Some have a higher appetite for risk than others.”

As to future work on the service, Davis also reported that Scenios is looking into creation of a desktop app that would be part of a hybrid approach working with the cloud service. That could be used in instances--such as when one is working in a remote location--where Internet access is spotty or unavailable. “This is early,” he said of cloud-based production services.