The Interview: Sony’s Cloud Distribution Experiment Lands $15 Million (Cont.)

Screenshot Facebook The Interview 2

(Above is a follow-up post from Facebook user Tim Young, promoting the independent movie theater release of The Interview as a celebration of First Amendment rights.)

Part 1 of this two-part story can be read here.

Public Cloud: Our Hero

In the conclusion to the first part of this report, I wrote of the big movie chains, “Maybe by giving in to terrorist demands, those lame ducks just made themselves irrelevant.” Although I was admittedly smacking around phony corporations for failing to form a united front against terrorist threats, that’s also not an overstatement.The failure of AMC, Regal Entertainment, and others to show the movie despite vague warnings of a terrorist response – that moment of weenie weakness that exposed the cinema establishment as the old, tepid, waterlogged hotdogs that they are – allowed competition to step in and save the day.

The Interview was effectively a real-world test project for simultaneous film distribution via limited theatrical release and video-on-demand (VOD), the latter of which is essentially movies through the cloud – Netflix, Google Play, etc. Needless to say, physical movie theaters are not enthusiastic about promotion of the virtual model coinciding with their premieres.

Bock, the movie viewership analyst quoted above, said that he thinks other studios will fall in Sony’s footsteps. “This is money they don’t need to share with the movie chains, and that’s a big deal,” he explained. “It could shake a lot of things up.”

The alternative release of the film has also been getting a lot of exposure on social media, including through the stars. Franco had previously tweeted sarcastic thanks to “President Obacco” – who had errantly referred to Franco as “James Flacco” – when the modified movie release was announced.

Rogen live-tweeted as he watched The Interview (an action comedy in which the two actors play reporters who get an interview with the bloodthirsty dictator and then get recruited by the CIA to assassinate him) online through his TV. Eventually Rogen tweeted, “It’s at this point that I gotta say it’s [dreaded F-bomb] weird I am watching this on TV right now.”

Hack Defense as a Service

Everyone who watched The Interview through the Internet did so, in part, thanks to the technology of cloud computing – just like those who watched it live at a theater did so thanks to independent movie houses. As is becoming more and more the case, the cloud distribution model was on display – and it was a huge success just due to ease of access, since the film was only showing in a small number of theaters, The Interview grossed five times as much online as it did at theaters.

Kurt Marko of Forbes believes there is much to learn from the incredible, long-cut success of The Interview, saying that the incident “serves as an instructive metaphor for the future of enterprise application and information distribution in an era of ubiquitous cloud services and equally prevalent cybercrime.”

Public cloud hosting is often considered a test environment. However, Marko says that the successful use of the cloud by the studio – which really was pivotal in reframing the situation and adjusting to thwart the terrorists – should prompt us to pause and reconsider its potential. Although people have often questioned the security of these virtual services, Marko argues that switching to cloud has a huge benefit: hackers are contained and cannot jump back and forth between various systems once they are inside your network.

Regarding this problem with legacy systems, again, the Sony hack is a case in point. Because there were login credentials within the malware itself, assumedly the target was the internal servers. Once the malware was inside, the cybercriminals were able to explore the environment for months. Over time, they extracted email databases, accounting files, HR documents, legal agreements, and even snippets of forthcoming films – “all easily accessed from the hacker’s initial point of entry by exploiting the typically lax security between systems on internal corporate networks.”

Admitting that the #GOP hack makes it even more abundantly clear that informationsecurity is the #1 priority of the enterprise, Kurt says that it also underscores the need to diversify storage of digital data. He says matter-of-factly that the vast majority of enterprises are not able to properly defend themselves against hackers, so they should trust third-party cloud professionals to deploy and manage their systems.

Don’t Get Called Names

Kurt sees cloud providers as playing a similar role in the field of IT to what banks serve in finance. People keep their money in banks because they have everything that’s needed for protection of physical money: the buildings and equipment; expertise; and financial leverage to safeguard your cash in a manner you couldn’t easily achieve on your own. Believing cloud is becoming the databank of computing, Kurt thinks the Sony incident could help allow cloud hosting companies to “turn the tables and become the fiduciaries of enterprise information; the owners and operators of the vaults storing and securing digital assets.”

AMC and Regal Entertainment were called lame ducks and waterlogged hotdogs in this 100% objective report, and they deserve it for giving the terrorists hope that their intimidation would be effective. Sony shifted to cloud, so they got smart and don’t deserve any undue harassment. Want to distance yourself from “duck” and/or “hot dog” status? Get cloud today.

By Kent Roberts