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feature post production

public cloud file transfer services on their own, without sanction from management or IT; that is, until the service can’t handle the file size or complete the transfer in an acceptable timeframe. Then, end users have to fall back on other means such as FTP, which has its own issues regarding inefficiency, security, and general unwieldiness, or - even more incongruent in this digital age - shipping tapes.

Best of both worlds: hybrid file transfer architecture

Multi-level requirements

For larger post organisations or media enterprises with dedicated IT staff, unmanaged public cloud services pose additional headaches. Many IT and content security managers, who spend their days worrying about security breaches and protection of digital assets, are concerned about maintaining control of transfers and having visibility into who sends what, and to whom - tracking that is not provided by the public services. The goal is to empower post professionals with the tools they need, but not at the expense of burdening the network with a new, bandwidth- gobbling application that requires time-consuming user and group administration. For managers charged with staffing

and executing post-production work, security is also a concern - but their main objective is to ensure that a project, such as the delivery of the next five episodes of a popular TV series, is completed on time and on budget. These project managers are responsible for assembling and managing workgroups and making sure all of the players, both employees and contractors, are motivated and have the tools they need to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Managers are also concerned with facilitating global collaboration and partnerships, which by definition requires the seamless exchange of content with outsourced vendors and other external business partners. Then there are the post technicians

themselves, the end users on the front lines of content processing, editing, and conversion. These are the users that will seek out and access

16 l ibe l september/october 2012 l

Media Shuttle in use.

A hybrid system addresses the key file movement challenges facing IT, project managers, and end users. With such powerfully simple capabilities, such a system is specifically tailored to the demanding requirements of today’s post operations. increasingly driving today’s global post- production workflows.

Out of these dynamics has emerged a new type of file movement solution that combines the best features of the public cloud and private corporate networks. With such a hybrid architecture, users access their information through a simple and intuitive user interface delivered from the cloud, with the content itself maintained under the secure control of the internal network. In other words, post professionals are able to enjoy the ease and convenience they’ve come to expect from cloud file sharing services, but without file size limits or the security concerns that might arise from storing high- value media assets in the cloud. File acceleration is a vital

component in a hybrid file transfer solution. Considering that the file size for a single one-hour TV show can reach 40GB, no fast-paced production schedule has room for the hours that might be required to move such a file via FTP - and no public consumer cloud service is up to the task. When executed properly, file acceleration ensures high-speed file transfers that are often 200 times faster than FTP with up to 95% network efficiency. With a hybrid solution such as

Signiant’s Media Shuttle, all content remains under the secure protection of the internal network. Features such as encrypted browser sessions, file transfers based on 256-bit AES encryption and built-in certificate authority for managing a public key infrastructure all help to ensure that the content ends up where it’s supposed to, and stays in the right hands.

Satisfying every stakeholder

With the hybrid file transfer model, workgroups access the system in much the same manner as a public cloud service for ad hoc file sharing on

a wide range of projects. End users are presented with a very simple interface that closely resembles that of a public service - but with complete sanction from corporate and IT management. Even better, they have the ability to share files freely and rapidly with colleagues, partners, and vendors, with no restrictions on file size. Such a system is invaluable for file movement related to any type of creative media collaboration, such as editing or localisation of content for distribution to foreign markets. The appeal is apparent to IT

managers, who now have a way to empower their users while at the same time cutting down (or eliminating) the use of unsecured public cloud services. With the actual content stored locally, security concerns are eased. Tracking and reporting tools offer a centralised view of the system’s usage and user activity including numbers of users, status of currently running transfers, file size metrics, bandwidth usage and storage capacity. And, by delegating user administration to project and operations managers, IT managers are freed to perform other tasks. For project managers, a hybrid file

transfer solution provides an ideal platform with which to create a collaborative, motivating environment for workgroups and project team members. With easy customisation tools, project managers can add logos and graphics to create a branded portal with its own URL (or multiple portals in different languages, for collaboration on short- or long-term projects). Since managers can handle their own day-to-day administration of the portal, including managing authorised users and groups, they are more in control and less reliant on IT for assistance - a true boon for smaller post houses with limited-to-no IT resources.

Powerfully simple file movement

In summary, a hybrid system addresses the key file movement challenges facing IT, project managers, and end users. With such powerfully simple capabilities, such a system is specifically tailored to the demanding requirements of today’s post operations. When added together, these ingredients provide the foundation for successful and secure digital media transfers that are increasingly driving today’s global post-production workflows.

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